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)

The 2019 Frantoi Travel Hotspots

Part of a January re-set is some good mental energy for the year ahead, and little gives more pleasure than planning a trip away (or a few). 

From past experience, there’s nothing better than a visit to an area where you have a superb local guide. A friend to take you to their favourite restaurants, to point out the most interesting things to do, the best places to watch the sunset and to see it through their eyes. For us, this is profound travelling. Somehow you don’t feel like a visitor. And so 2019 will be more about this we hope.

We have four major dreams to chase this year beginning with a winter trip to Verona and near by Lake Garda. I go to Verona relatively regularly on business and I absolutely love this city. However, this year I want to go with the family and to focus our attention on Olive Oil! Verona is small enough to see in a weekend, flat enough to scoot around (an important consideration if you have two small boys in tow) and big enough to satisfy our cultural cravings. We have a couple of great friends in the area to visit and look forward to exploring the Casaliva, Grignano and Favarol olive cultivars to get the very latest view on what this beautiful region can produce at its best.

Sicily is our dream for the spring when we hope to spend time with the guys at Frantoi Cutrera. Their award winning oils have become firm favourites in the Frantoi range – we love the aromatic intensity, the consistency of these beautiful oils and the insanely high polyphenol content is a huge bonus. We hope to get in to the groves from the foothills of Mt. Etna to the coastal plains. Spring is a glorious time to visit Sicily when it is still fresh and in bloom. As I sit here writing surrounded by the winter chill, I’m already dreaming of the sunshine and flavours of this incredible island.

This summer, Liguria is top of our list. We are so long overdue a visit to Paolo Cassini and his family right up by the French border in Isolabona. This patchwork landscape of miniscule-holdings (often less than a hectare per owner) on the steep, unforgiving slopes that drop down to the crystaline Ligurian Sea is full of wonder, it feels as if there’s so much to discover here. The wonderful seafood, delicious mineral wines, and the noble Taggiasca olive are all calling us. And to spend time with Paolo Cassini and his insanely hard-working family with the truest hearts fills us with the highest expectations of a great visit.

And when the weather turns and autumn sets in, we dream of going to Calabria to visit the stunning Librandi estate near to Vaccarizzo Albanese. The Librandi siblings are new to Frantoi but the feedback we’ve had from their 2018 harvest is absolutely great, they already feel like one of our family. We look forward to getting to know the Calabrian larder better and if we know anything about the Librandis, they will steer us towards a selection of outstanding local gems.

So, those are the dreams, we’d better get planning.