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)

The Gut Brain Axis

It feels as if we need to be paying far greater attention to our microbiome. There’s plenty of information flying around about the gut-brain axis – loads of studies are coming out, endorsed by nutritionists and gut specialists, the evidence is mounting. We’re beginning to understand how our overall physical well-being has an impact on our mental health.

The more I read, the more it seems rather clear that there’s a strong correlation between disruption to the gut-brain axis and a wide variety of disorders, from stress to IBS, to autism. What we know for sure is that most of our immune cells are found in the gut and this system is what makes us resilient to fight even the most minor ailment.

Gut health is of course very individual and can be pretty complex, but supporting your well-being through great food enables us to stay balanced and to be at our best. It becomes even more relevant for people going through hormonal peeks or troughs in their lives (particularly adolescents, who may be ultra-sensitive about food).

Gut-supportive diets are really worth some investigation if you’re not yet familiar. And one of the keys to much of this is high quality extra virgin olive oil. Rather like with fermented foods (in essence, an ancient preservation technique), olive oil has been incorporated in to the healthiest diets for millennia.

It’s an easy way to help yourself to be your best.

So, slice up a ripe tomato, toast some bread and start with a good bruschetta. It might just improve your mood.