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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Ribollita

Ribollita is one of the quintessential Tuscan dishes, made from bread (preferably stale), beans and autumnal veggies. Ribollita means ‘boiled again’, and whilst very simple, it takes a few re-boilings to make delicious.

The first bollita are the dry cannellini beans, soaked overnight; the second bollita are the veggies, into which you then re-bollire the cooked beans. Finally you add the bread, and you re-bollire everything together. The more you boil, the more delicious it will be for the following days!

 

Ingredients:

300 grams of stale unsalted tuscan bread (called Pane Raffermo), or you can use other types thick crusted unsalted bread

400 grams of dried cannellini beans

3 cloves of garlic

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

1 onion

2 carrots

1 celery sticks

1 large bunch of cavolo nero (you can also use kale)

2 large tomatoes

Decisive Central Italia EVOO (we would use Villa Magra from Franci, or Il Sincero from Viola)

 

METHOD

Soak the beans overnight, rinse, then cover with fresh water and bring to the boil. Add the garlic, rosemary, bay, and simmer for about 1 hour – until tender and take off the heat, without draining the beans.

Gently heat the soffritto (thinly chopped onion, celery and carrots), in an abundant gulp of oil, until tender and translucent. Add the tomatoes cut in 1/4s, let them release their juices for a couple of minutes, the  loosely chopped cavolo nero, mixing well so everything is coated in oil and wet. Add water to cover everything, (you could use the beans water  or a veggie stock if you wish) a tsp of salt, bring to the boil, cover then gently simmer for a couple of hours – adding boiling water or the beans water if it’s drying up.

Add the beans to the the pot, bring back to the boil, then simmer for additional 30 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.

In an earthenware pot (or a large casserole dish), spread the bread to cover the bottom completely, then spoon the ribollita over the bread (you could do individual portions here if you wish to impress your guests), then layer up the bread and the soup again. Cover with clingfilm and rest at least 3 hours (better still overnight again!).

Heat up by gently boiling it with a little stock for 15 or 20 minutes, add a good glug of EVOO and salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot.

This is peasant food, so any seasonal vegetable you might want to add to the second re-boil will go well – so potatoes or cabbage for example – just add them after the soffritto is cooked.