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)

Under a Mulberry Tree

Family histories and the culture of the land are uniquely entwined in Italy.  It is something that interests us profoundly and adds depth to every relationship we enter in to with the families we work with.  The Librandi family gave us countless insights in to their fascinating story when we visited them last month in Calabria.
One such story was recounted by Michele Librandi as we tasted windfall mulberries from the beautiful tree that shades the terrace of their agriturismo overlooking the village of Vacarizzo Albanese.  They use the berries themselves to make jam or to flavour granita (sorbet), but the really interesting part of this tree is the leaves.
The leaves from a mulberry tree happen to be one of the silkworm’s favourite food.  This hungry little white caterpillar loves to fill itself with mulberry leaves and when it is sufficiently large, it starts to build its silk cocoon to begin metamorphosis.  Silk was an important part of a family’s resource, so the cocoons would either be dunked in hot water or baked in an oven (both in order to remove the insect), the cocoon was then cleaned and unravelled to make long silk strands, taking care to allow some moths to hatch in order to breed.
Throughout the seasons families would work on various parts of their land holdings: olive groves, fruit orchards, fields of grain, livestock and in some places such as Vacarizzo Albanese, the symbiosis between the mulberry tree and the small white caterpillar was a part of the cycle and it is a tradition that has been handed down through the generations.