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)

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Vibrant Verona

Verona tends to be underrated as a destination, which is a grave mistake. It’s both a lovely city full of character and things to do, and a great base from which to visit Venice, the Palladian villas and the lakes.

It might be known as the world capital of daunted love, but really what stays with you after a trip to Verona is the incredible meshing of 2000 years of history, set in a vibrant, green and well-organised city. We recently used the city as a base to visit Frantoi Riva on the banks of Lake Garda where we tasted their new season oils as well as a quick trip to the 2019 Venice Biennale to take in the best contemporary art the world has to offer. But Verona was much more than that, it impressed us hugely and has left us with a great desire to visit it again soon.

The River Adige defines both the historic centre and the immediate city, which surrounds it. Both in the historic centre and outside you can find fine examples of Roman, medieval, gothic, renaissance and even modern deco. The Arena, which is still in use after 2000 years is one of the best preserved coliseums that remain, the square surrounding it a fun mesh of cafes and people. Other squares to note for dining, shopping and people watching are Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori. Outside the centre the Piazzale Castel San Pietro gives you outstanding views, and is reached via a funicular, which is always quite fun.

Crossing back into the historical centre on the Ponte Pietra takes you into a maze of streets, which occasionally open to show a great church, or narrow alley housing some lovely trattorias. The Porta Borsari, which dates back to the 1 Century AD reminds you how many layers of history this city has. The Scaliger Tombs show you the ambition of people and magnificence of the gothic period. Of all the things Verona is famous for Juliet’s balcony is probably the most underwhelming, which is a measure of just how many things there are to do.

For dinner we recommend Locanda ai Quattro Cuochi, Trattoria al Pompiere or Osteria Sgarzarie.