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)

Olive Oil Garden Cakes

We discovered these cakes not that long ago but haven’t looked back. They are great because they’re not too sweet and are scented with just a hint of raw organic honey. The recipe is inspired by Teresa Cutter and in its original version can be found in her book Healthy Baking.

INGREDIENTS

125ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we favour something not too spicy but with a good luxurious texture such as Il Classico from Frantoio De Carlo in Puglia.

100g Ground Almonds

140g Plain Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1 Zest of an Orange

120g Raw Honey

200g Greek Yoghurt

4 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Thyme to serve

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180C and line or grease 12 small bundt tins or a 20cm bundt tin with a little oil.

 

Combine the ground almonds, flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add the olive oil, orange zest, honey, yoghurt, eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Then pour in to the tins – it will be quite liquid, don’t worry.

 

If you are making small cakes, they will obviously cook quicker, so check after 20 mins. For the larger cake, you will need around 35 mins. In either case, it’s worth checking the middle with a skewer to see that it comes out clean.

 

Cool on a rack and then turn out and serve with some thyme on the top.

 

These cakes are brilliant with a cup of loose-leaf green tea.