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)

THREE SEASONAL RECIPES, ONE EVOO

One of the most under the radar oils we bring to you is Tenuta Torre di Mossa from Frantoio De Carlo in Puglia.

This Monocultivar Coratina ripens later than other cultivars giving it a fabulous viscosity which makes it an amazing alternative to butter.  And for this reason it works brilliantly over vegetables.  In addition, it has a very high polyphenol count, making it extremely good for you.  Coming from a single parcel of land, the oil features a broad selection of aromatic herbs plus ample peppery spice on the finish.

Here are three quick and easy recipes to try with this EVOO.

 

Piselli alla Fiorentina (peas with prosciutto)

This recipe comes from Rachel Roddy in her brilliant book Five Quarters.  She recommends it as a great side dish to roast chicken and we have taken her advice many times!

300 g frozen peas (or 900g unshelled fresh peas)

2 garlic cloves

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

50g pancetta, prosciutto or bacon chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper

Peel and squash the garlic and sauté in olive oil on a medium low heat adding the pancetta, until the garlic is fragrant and just coloured and the pancetta has rendered its fat.  Remove the garlic and add the peas turning them until they are coated.  Add the parsley and season to taste.

 

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

We love this dish served with crusty bread and a green salad and accompanied by a chilled glass of Vermentino.  It seems perfect for those evenings when you begin eating outdoors as spring fades to summer.

(serves 4)

2 medium aubergines

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped

5 ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped or 400g passata

300g mozzarella, sliced

oregano

50g grated parmesan

Slice the aubergines and lay out on a board covered with kitchen paper.  Sprinkle with salt and then lay further paper on top and weigh down with a heavy chopping board.  Leave for 30 minutes to allow the bitter juices to be drawn out.

Preheat the over to 180C.

For the tomato sauce, you can use a tin or jar of passata if you’re stretched for time, otherwise you can just make a quick sauce by heating the oil and adding the garlic, once you begin to smell it, add the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and oregano.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

We prefer to roast rather than fry the aubergines; it uses less oil and seems to give better results for our palate.  Once you have patted dry the slices of aubergine, lay them on baking sheets and brush with oil on both sides.  Roast for around 20 minutes until they have taken a light colour.

Layer your ingredients in an oven dish: tomato sauce – aubergine – mozzarella.  You will probably manage 2 or 3 layers.

Sprinkle the top with parmesan.

Cover with tin foil for the first 15 minutes of cooking time then remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes until the top is golden.

 

 

Bruschetta with Cavolo Nero and fresh Pecorino

It’s the end of the cavolo nero season but this makes such a great quick lunch and is packed full of goodness.  Strip back the stalks and then boil the cavolo nero in seasoned water for a few minutes.  Once cooked, drain and then toss with olive oil, milled nutmeg and a touch of flaked sea salt.

Plate up with sourdough toast and slithers of fresh pecorino cheese (also works with goats cheese).  EVOO from Puglia has a fabulous viscosity and is the best alternative to butter, which is why it works so well over vegetables.  Tenuta Torre di Mossa from the De Carlo family is one of our favourites and has an extremely high polyphenol count, making it very good for you.