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)

Making Sugo for the winter recipe Frantoi,org

Sugo di Pomodoro

Making tomato sugo at the end of the summer is a tradition in our family. Mostly, about half way through the morning, everyone asks me – why don’t we just go to the store and buy it! But there is nothing quite like homemade sugo and when it sustains you throughout the winter months when fresh tomatoes are not available, you feel eternally grateful.  This is a big job, so set aside enough time to make it a success.

INGREDIENTS

3kg      Soffrito (a mix of finely chopped onion, carrot and celery in equal parts)

10kg    Ripe Tomatoes, we favour San Marzano or Piccadilly because that is pretty much what everyone uses over here.

500ml  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, this year, we used Carolea from Frantoio Librandi, which is a wonderful partner to tomatoes and sublime with pasta dishes of many types.

Seasoning to taste

25-30 300g jars

METHOD

Depending on the size of your saucepans, you may need to make this in batches. Regardless, it’s worth setting aside half a day, all told.

If you have an excessively large, deep saucepan and a stove that can cope with it, begin with the soffrito, adding it to the olive oil and sauteeing gently until the onions are translucent. I was always told to add salt to your onions to prevent them from burning, so I do this, but it may be an old wives’ tale.

Once softened, add the tomatoes, chopped roughly in to pieces and then stir well to combine.  You may wish to add a bit more salt at this point to allow the juice to come out of the tomatoes fully. Then close with a lid and keep the heat relatively low, allowing it to simmer away for around an hour.

At this point, the tomatoes should be at the point of giving way and there should be plenty of liquid in the pot.

Without scalding yourself, this is the point of transferring everything to a moulis. It’s a rather manual part of the process, but it’s worth it to ensure skins and seeds are kept out of your final sauce.

Once you have a smooth passata, return to the pan and reduce further over a low heat to concentrate the flavours. When you are satisfied with the consistency, it’s time to bottle the sauce.

 

Ensure your bottles or jars have good new lids and have been sterilized. To find out how to do this, follow this reliable link: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-sterilise-jars.

 

Then ladle in the sugo to your jars and close immediately.

I then lay the jars on their side in a crate or box and cover with a cloth and store in a cool dark place for 3 days in order to create the perfect seal. After this time, you can turn your jars upright and store for up to 12 months.

 

This sugo can then be used many ways: it’s great for a simple pasta supper, perfect for making a ragu and even for your melanzane parmigiana. You will never regret making this effort and bottling your tomatoes when they are at their peak of goodness and flavour.