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)

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Orecchiette Cime di Rape e Vongole

Orecchiette alle Cime di Rape is one of the stalwarts of Pugliese cuisine.  This version, with strascinati (a type of orecchiette) and vongole we had in a restaurant we really love, L’Osteria del Porto, in the small fishing village of Savelletri – just south of coastal gem Monopoli.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

300 gr freshly made strascinati or orecchiette.  (click on this link on how to make your own strascinati)

500 gr Cime di Rapa, stems removed, leaves cut into 5 cm lengths. Include the broccoli if you can find it.

400 gr clams (of the verace variety – so not too small)

A small glass of wine

10 cherry tomatoes

1 peperoncino

1 garlic clove

 

Method:

Put a large pan of water to the boil with abundant salt.  Add the Cime di Rapa for 3 minutes to soften, then remove with a slotted perforated, and set aside, keeping the water boiling (if some bits or leaves of the vegetable remain in the water it doesn’t matter).

Gently sauté the garlic clove in a generous amount of olive oil, removing it before it starts burning. Turn up the heat, and add the thinly sliced peperoncino for a few seconds, then the quartered cherry tomatoes and cook until their skins soften and start separating from the pulp, and the juices flow in the pan.  Add the wine, let the alcohol boil out, then the cooked Cime di Rapa, mix, cover for 3 minutes on a medium heat. .

Turn the heat back up, uncover and add the cleaned vongole. Cover again, keeping the heat high and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.   In the meantime put the pasta in the boiling water and cook for about 1 minutes, drain and add to the pasta sauce, cooking them together for the last 2 minutes, making sure the strascinati are fully coated in sauce and oil.  Take off the heat, plate and drizzle some fresh evoo, such a Torre di Mossa from De Carlo .