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)

Phantoms and fairies in Alto Lazio

As we celebrate everything ghoulish and otherworldly over Halloween and the days of Saints and Souls, we take you to two places in Northern Lazio that are full of mystery and magic: I Giardini di Bomarzo for all things wicked and scary, and Civita di Bagnoregio, a town straight out of a fairy tale.


The Sacro Bosco (Holy Forest) of Bomarzo is more widely known as the Parco dei Mostri… the Monsters’ Park. It was a folly built by Principe Francesco Orsini in the 1550s, following the death of his wife, as a sanctuary where he could vent all his sadness as well as his unconventional and esoteric ideas. As you enter the woods you are confronted by a daunting text: ““Voi che pel mondo gite errando, vaghi di veder meraviglie alte e stupende, venite qua, dove son faccie horrende, elefanti, leoni, orsi, orchi e draghi“… “You travel the world, looking to discover high and beautiful wonders, come here, where there are horrible faces, elephants, lions, bears, orcs and dragons.” This Dantesque warning accompanies the visitor as you see the sphinx, a cavernous mouth, a crooked house, obelisks, monsters, ancient deities, and the tomb where Principe Orsini and his beloved Giulia lie, surrounded and guarded by his inhuman expression of love.


To escape the monsters and feel safe again, half an hour drive north, on the edges of the town of Bagnoregio, an ancient Etruscan town, called Civita, emerges lonely from a caldara of tufa. Connected only by a long narrow pedestrian bridge, the wind gathers and howls around the edge of the town, pushing the weary traveller to fear of being carried away into the valley. 300 meters feel like one of Hercules’ Labours, the wind gathering strength mid-bridge, while the incline becomes steep.  But once inside the walls, calm takes over, the monsters are now far, the fairies can cocoon the traveller and start looking up and out again for high beautiful wonders, a warm porcini soup, freshly milled olive oil and a sense of calm.  Here you can truly marvel at humanity’s imagination and folly.


We recommend the restaurant Alma Civita, and they also have some rooms to rent.