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)

Helichrysum

My favourite scent of the season is of the frugal Helichrysum that lives in sunny climes from the coast to high peaks without asking for much.

This medicinal plant is a part of the greater sunflower family as testified by its name which derives from the Greek word ‘helios’ (sun) and ‘chrysos’ (gold) and sports silvery grey leaves that are silky to the touch covering a woody plant base that loves to house lizards and grass snakes as they lay languid in the warmth of the day.

 

It is richly aromatic, reminiscent of sage, bitter tea leaves, heather, savoury spice and it has a familiarity to it, a scent that transports you to a time and place, connecting you to past memories. You can find it as an essential oil, believed to possess powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties and it also holds well as a dried flower if cut young. The dried flowers can also be used as a seasoning for food – the Florentines have used it for centuries to fight stomach cramps, coughs and colds and if you wanted to give it a go, it’s highly recommended on roast potatoes. Just wait until they are about 15 minutes from cooked remove from the oven and sprinkle over the helichrysum flowers tossing generously with some extra virgin olive oil before returning to the oven to finish.