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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Raffaella Cova’s Spaghetti Micol

Raffaella Cova is a wonderful cook who runs beautiful classes in Montalcino. We featured a conversation with her in the past, and today she kindly publishes one of her favourite autumnal recipes: Spaghetti Micol. You can find other great recipes or reserve a cooking class in Tuscany via www.lunchwithraffaella.com

This is a recipe I made for my vegetarian friend Micol as a birthday present. I have included some of her favourite ingredients, including extra virgin olive oil.

Spaghetti Micol

Ingredients for 4 people:

280gr Spaghetti alla chitarra

1 beetroot (about 250gr)

A bouquet of fresh herbs (such as marjoram, origano, sage, rosemary, chives, mint and thyme)

100 gr of fresh goat cheese

2 tbls of toasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 tps of granulated sugar

Tuscan extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

 

Wash and peel half of the beetroot, then cut it in small cubes of about 2 cm, and simmer in abundant water

Cut half beetroot in small cubes of about 1/2 cm and simmer in abundant water. Once the beets are cooked but still have a bite, take them all out, because we are using the water for cooking the spaghetti.

Cut the other half of the beetroot in a brunoise style of very small cubes of about 2mm each, and marinate in the vinegar, in which the sugar has been dissolved.

Trim and cut the bouquet of herbs thinly, and mix in with a lot of extra virgin olive oil.

Whisk the cheese with a little water and a generous amount of olive oil, until you have the density of batter.

Loosely chop the toasted hazelnuts

As the pasta is cooking in the beetroot water, divide the cheese sauce in 4 serving dishes.

When the pasta is ready quickly fry it with the herbs and their oil, and the cooked cubes of beetroot.

When all the flavours have been well blended, nest the spaghetti over the cheese sauce in each plate and decorate the with brunoise beetroot (without the vinegar), the nuts, a little pepper and some extra virgin olive oil