As you might expect, olives grown in cooler areas where there is more moisture (rainfall and dew) exhibit leaner, more restrained characteristics.  This doesn’t however mean that great oil can now be made in Iceland – you need a minimum amount of sunshine to make your Extra Virgin Olive Oil taste remarkable, similarly to tomatoes or stone fruit.

Olive trees are sensitive to winter freeze (the Casaliva cultivar is more resistant to cold, hence being grown in the Garda region).  It is also easier to farm organically where the climate is more stable and less chemical sprays are required to keep the trees healthy.



Here’s the thing – all olives are green.  When they become fully mature, they turn black.
Olive maturity at the time of harvest is a major factor in flavour and quality: olives harvested earlier (green olives) feature more bitter, grassy characteristics, with lower yields and with the highest anti-oxidant content.  The oil is a much more intense green colour and has a longer shelf-life.  In terms of production, milling can take longer with green olives (a longer malaxation - the action of slowly churning milled olives to release droplets of oil - is needed and can be more complicated) but the results are far superior!  Don’t choose olive oil from over mature fruit: it lacks all the potential goodness and flavour.



People who care passionately about what they make and follow it personally every day have the capacity to create products with far higher quality, with integrity, and that taste of where they come from.  They are also able to do this by caring for the environment they inhabit.


This box contains 6 bottles of extra virgin olive oil made exclusively by Frantoio di Riva from groves on the banks of lake Garda.

Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO green label x 3 bottles (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO organic white label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO blue label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, ULIVA Garda Trentino DOP x 1 bottle (50cl)

Giardiniera: Taking the summer to winter

Pickled vegetables are traditional all around the world, each with their own dominant ingredients. In Italy the queen of pickles is la Giardiniera (the female gardener).  All pickles are a variation of vegetables in acid and salt – the basics haven’t changed much since at least 2000bc in the Middle East when the earliest findings of pickled cucumber have been identified along the river Tigris in what was then knows as Mesopotania. Refrigeration being a modern invention, it is obvious why we have for centuries found ways to keep fresh produce for longer. In a way, pickles allow you to take your summer with you, and enjoy it across the seasons – particularly if you grow your own veg.

Each culture seems to bring their own special element to pickling: a Giardiniera for example has quite a considerable amount of olive oil, which balances the sharpness of the vinegar and saltiness. A Giardiniera too will have a very wide selection of different vegetables – which is understandable in a country that has such abundantly diverse summer produce. What you put in it, is somewhat up to you, what is fresh and what is good – peppers, carrots, celery all work brilliantly for example. The vegetables in Giardiniera tend to retain their crunch, so a purist wouldn’t include mushrooms or aubergines for example.  In general is can be eaten as part of a larger antipasto, or as snack with toast, or even mixed with some spelt or rice, as salad (but rinse the vinegar off before mixing it in).  Every nonna will have their own recipe that they pass down through the generations, a friend’s nonna gave us this one.




You are aiming for about 3kg of veg in total, cut in small pieces of similar-ish sizes and rinsed well.

red peppers

celery stalks


cauliflower florets

green beans, trimmed and cut

1 small red onion cut in 4

For the brine:

1 lt white wine vinegar

1 lt white wine

200ml extra virgin olive oil, Paolo Cassini’s S’Ciappau works well

200g salt

200g white sugar

A few juniper berries

3 bay leaves


You will need to have sterilised jars at the ready



Combine the liquid ingredients and bring to the boil. Add the sugar and the salt and stir to dissolve. Add the berries and the bay leaves.

As your brine is boiling you will add the different vegetables at different moments. Your aim is for all the veggies to retain their crunch – a little al dente. So depending which vegetables you use, your timings will be different.  Here we start with the green beans for about 1 minute; then the pepper, the carrots and the cauliflower for 2 minutes; finally the celery and the onion, and keep the water boiling for a further 3 minutes, then take off the heat, drain the vegetables, retaining the liquid.

Divide the veggies equally in the sterilised jars, making sure they are quite tightly packed.  Add the liquid to the brim, and close the jars tightly with the sterilised lids.

Stand the jars upside down in a dark and cool environment for 3 weeks, after which you can place them normally upright in your cupboard and eat them for the next 6 months (keep refrigerated once the jar is open