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)

JANUARY RESET

The January Reset is something many of us take advantage of.  It’s a moment to re-group somehow, look at our lives from a fresh perspective, set some new goals, re-balance our approach and keep ourselves in check.  Goodness knows, we all need that.

 

Following the indulgent month of December, it’s a good opportunity to reset our diet. Sitting over here in rural Italy, where life tends to move at a slower pace, it’s easy to look cynically at the myriad dietary fads that come and go – nutrition for us is centred around the seasons, even in large supermarkets you still can’t get out of season ingredients here.  And this is one of the key pillars of the Mediterranean diet – if you eat a tomato in August, it will be better for you (as well as having a superior flavour) than one eaten in the winter. This is of course also environmentally ethical as you’re consuming fewer food miles and therefore it has even greater appeal.

 

Something that we haven’t previously reset as a family however is our consumption of meat.  We don’t by any means eat meat every day but we are partial to properly reared and sourced meat.  This January, we have decided to cut meat out of our diet totally, in part just to see if we can and to see how we respond, but also as increasing environmental evidence is presented about the risks of consuming meat we feel we will all be urged to look at this balance in our lives for the future.

 

The great thing about this is that we’ve had to make more effort with vegetables, grains, pulses and dairy (we’ve tried not to just replace meat with fish).  We’ve spent a good deal of time with our noses in the cookery books and have already discovered some new family favourites that will become a part of our regular repertoire.   You can follow me on Instagram to hear more about what’s on our table.

 

Abstinence used to be reserved for lent in our culture, but in our secular era this now seems to have crept forwards to January.  If we manage to make it to the end of the month, there’s a chance we will repeat the exercise throughout the year at various points when we feel in need of a reset.