LOCATION AND CLIMATE

 

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.

OLIVE MATURITY

 

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.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN GROVE AND MILL

 

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.

FRANTOIO DI RIVA BOX

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)

Grilled Beetroot with Labneh and Dill

This is a dish that works brilliantly with some grilled fish but can equally work on its own with a slice of sourdough toast. It is particularly good using new season small beetroots. Serves 4 as a side dish.

INGREDIENTS

A large bunch of dill, chopped

3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We use Il Sincero from Marco Viola in Umbria – monocultivar Moraiolo, it has the wonderful pepper spice that adds so much to the earthy beetroot.

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Zest of 1 lemon

12 small fresh beetroot, also with their leaves if possible.

Maldon sea salt and ground black pepper

500ml natural yoghurt

METHOD

To begin with, make the labneh. Put the yoghurt in a bowl, add ½ tsp of crushed maldon salt and mix well. Line a sieve with a large square of clean muslin and spoon in the salted yoghurt, then gather up the sides of the cloth and tie at the top with kitchen string, enclosing the labneh in a bag.

 

Set the sieve over a large bowl and leave to drain through for between 2-8hrs depending on how thick you like your labneh, or how much time you have 🙂

 

Tip the drained labneh out of the cloth in to a bowl and add half the dill, 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, the chilli flakes and half of the lemon zest. Mix well and refrigerate until needed.

 

For the beetroot, you can grill in their skins on an open fire for about 30-40 minutes (or until tender when pierced with a knife), which creates a wonderful smoky flavour, or alternatively roast them in the oven at 180C for around 30 minutes.

 

Once cooked, slice thickly and plate with the labneh.  Add a good amount of salt and pepper, the remaining olive oil and dill, the lemon zest and last of the chilli flakes. If you are serving the beetroot tops, blanche them first and tumble together before serving.