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)

Interview: Avi Shashidhara

Putting Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the context of Asian and spice laden food is something that interests us hugely. It is here that layering of flavour is so well understood and so rather than always using a neutral cooking oil, a great extra virgin olive oil can contribute a layer that might not have been historically thought of.

Looking to India, we see that olive oil is now being made by growers such as Jaypore Olives in Rajasthan and progressive female farmer Satbiri Devi on her 40 acre farm near Phalodi, Jodhpur. The industry is growing fast as news spreads about the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil.

This led us to a conversation with the incredible Avi Shashidhara head chef and owner of the Pahli Hill Bandra Bhai in London, and previously chef at the River Café in London


We caught up with him to understand more about his experience of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and multi-layered, spicy food.


Your heritage is Indian yet you spent a large portion of your career working with Italian cuisine – how did you find yourself adapting from a style that favours multi-layered flavours, lots of different spices, to one that is mostly centred around a few fresh ingredients?

I feel like the version of Southern Indian food I grew up eating was very similar to that of the Italian food I cooked for a big part of my career. Although there are a few spices used in our day to day cooking we don’t often let it over power the main ingredient. We always eat with the seasons just like in Italy and let the ingredients shine. I’m just applying those principals of cooking with seasonal ingredients and letting the ingredients shine which resonates with both cuisines.

In various interviews you have mentioned seasonality as a common thread between the two cuisines. How does this translate in your restaurant experience in London at Pahli Hill Bandra Bhai?
Seasonality is something I learnt as a child growing up in India. I was taken to the local veg/fruit market by my dad every evening. It was a daily ritual to buy veg for the next meal depending on what was in season. We never had a menu planned out before we went to the market, we always went looking for the next exciting ingredient that came into season. We follow the same ethos at Pahli Hill Bandra Bhai. My veg supplier sends me a list of ingredients that are in season and I plan my menus accordingly.

Are there dishes that you cooked at the River Cafe that reminded you of home?
Yes, there were many dishes that reminded me of home especially the usage of spices in some of the Venetian dishes or how the vegetables were well cooked just like we do with Indian food. Some of the cooking techniques also reminded me of India like cooking on open fires, the wood fired oven is kind of similar to a tandoor giving the food a unique flavour. Chick pea farinata always reminded me of a Gujrati pancake called chilla.

Do you cook Italian food for your family?  What it’s their reaction?

I did cook Italian for my mum recently on a trip to Tuscany and she was really surprised how veg focused it can be and loved the simplicity of the flavours used in Italian cooking.

Olive Oil is one of the main base ingredients for Italian cooking – how do you incorporate it in your current cooking?

I haven’t really experimented much with it yet. I feel like it may actually work with some of my dishes with pepper to enhance the seasoning or even in some of the Indian salads to add another level of seasoning.

Coming from Bangalore, I don’t expect your family used olive oil in their cooking, but do you remember the first time you started experiencing it? Was it in the Carluccio run restaurant in Bangalore or later in the UK? Do you have a particular olive oil “a-ha” moment?
I do remember using a very low-quality olive oil when I was cooking in India. It was pale in colour and barely had any flavour. I never tasted good olive oil till I joined the river café.

My fondest memory was on my first ever trip to Italy and at our first stop, after a long morning of travelling, we were served a simple tomato pasta for lunch with a drizzle of Tuscan Oilve oil and I remember absolutely falling in love with the flavour and how it elevated and completely transformed the dish. It has to be one of my all time favourite ingredients ever!