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 Modern Italian Cook: Joe Trivelli

Joe Trivelli is co-head chef at London’s iconic River Café, where he has worked since 2001. Southern Italian on his father’s side but born and raised in Kent, Joe’s first book, The Modern Italian Cook was released last year and has been talked about non-stop since.

 

The last couple of years have been pretty epic for you…. The Modern Italian Cook, OFM Book of the Year, Fortnum & Mason Awards Debut Cookbook of the Year… mamma mia.  What is the moment you look back on with most happiness?

The moment I look back on with most fondness, escaping to Italy to finish writing the book whilst dad was in the midst of his olive harvest. He would help me in the evenings and I him picking during the days.

 

I won’t ever forget you cooking lunch for me whilst you were recipe writing for The Modern Italian Cook – I felt the most incredible gratitude.  Do you have a recipe you keep going back to or one you’re most pleased with?

I’ve had the most positive feedback about a pasta with peppers, it was one of the first recipes and did kind of define the book. It maybe my favourite too.

 

Who do you most admire in the kitchen? 

Outside River Cafe circles the chef I most admire Stephen Harris from the Sportsman. Just brilliant.

 

In your mind, what is it that makes The River Cafe such a great place to be?

It’s the people that make the River Café great, be they colleagues or customers.

 

You use extra virgin olive oil somewhat liberally let’s say at The River Cafe.  Do you also use monocultivar oils in the kitchen or are you mostly using blends of different olives?

We use both. The monocultivars are usually from Felsina wine estate on the borders of colli senesi and Chianti Classico. We buy from them, destoned, a leccino, pendolino or ragiolo depending on the season as well as more traditional blend.

 

What’s your favourite thing about Italians?

Appreciation of what the important things in life are.