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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Trattoria Terra Madre’s Rolled Rabbit with Capocollo

Trattoria Terra Madre in Alberobello, Puglia, was a revelation to us when we visited earlier this year. Fairytale-ish, with its innumerable trulli, Alberobello is a Unesco world heritage site, that can sometimes feel overrun  by the many tourist who visit it year round. Trattoria Terra Madre elevates the food scene in Alberobello exponentially, putting it on the list essential culinary destinations in Puglia. Trattoria Terra Madre shows an incredibile understanding of seasoning and sensational use of seasonal produce directly from their garden or chosen local suppliers.  Alessandro and team kindly shared this recipe for rolled rabbit stuffed with Capocollo di Martina Franca (a nearby town), which is a slightly smoked charcuterie made from pork neck.  The dish is garnished with apples, almonds and luscious coratina extra virgin olive oil, the queen of Puglia.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1 deboned rabbit, 1.5 kg c.

300 gr capocollo

1 stalk of celery, cut in thin slices

2 carrots, cut in small cubes

1/2 bottle dry white wine

2 twigs of rosemary

5 sage leaves

2 bay leaves

10 red peppercorns

For plating:

A bunch of wild chicory or other bigger greens

1 apples, cut in small cubes

a bunch of cut almonds

Monocultivar Coratina EVOO from Puglia.  We used Tenuta Torre di Mossa from the De Carlo family.

 

Method:

Heat the oven to 170°

Abundantly salt the rabbit, stuff with the capocollo, roll and tie with a string.

Pour an abundant glug of olive oil in a large roasting tray, adding the herbs and spices. Place the rabbit in, and pour enough wine to half cover it.  Cover with foil and cook for about 1.5 hours.

Remove the rabbit to let it cool.  Blend the cooked vegetables (removing the herbs) to make a sauce.

Dress the washed chicory in a bowl, with olive oil and flaky salt.

When the rabbit is cooled, serve 2 or 3 slices per person on a bed of chicory, with a sprinkle of apples cubes, cut almonds and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.