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)

Pumpkin Soup

This soup is extremely nourishing and one of the easiest lunches possible. I prefer to use leek rather than onion as it is more delicate and feels better suited to the sweetness of the pumpkin. Serves 4.


1kg pumpkin, peeled, cleaned and cut into cubes

1 leek, roughly sliced

2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 or 4 sage leaves

Pumpkin seeds, a handful

3tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we use Selezione Alina from Tenuta Pennita in the Romagna hills



Add the leek, potato and pumpkin to a large saucepan with 3tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. On a medium heat keep them moving until it starts to give a scent. Then add a litre of water, enough to cover the vegetables easily and bring up to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are just about ready to give way.


Meanwhile, toast some pumpkin seeds in a frying pan, keeping a constant eye on their progress – it should not take more than a minute or two.


Once the soup is ready, blitz with a hand blender until smooth and then taste to ensure the seasoning is correct – pumpkin is naturally sweet, so you need to get the salt level right.


To serve, spoon the soup into bowls and then just at the point of serving, add the pumpkin seeds and a generous swirl of extra virgin olive oil.


A high polyphenol, decisive olive oil is the perfect choice for a dish like this and so we typically go to central Italy. Frantoio Pennita’s Selezione Alina is one of our absolute favourites.