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)

When in Italy, eat… vegetarian?

Anyone who has spent time in Italy will have an appreciation of the quality of seasonal fruit and vegetables. We are truly blessed.

That said, it can still be difficult when travelling to find enough of this amazing produce in restaurants, particularly on the well beaten tourist trail where iconic Italian dishes rule. Once you’ve had your first few sittings with a plate of incredible pasta, cold cuts or protein rich secondi, even those who are not vegetarians can find themselves craving a plant based meal.  Contorni are a good way to begin, it’s often possible to find a selection of delicious pulses and vegetables by turning to the back of the menu (which would typically be an accompaniment to your main course). You can put this together with an antipasto or two and you can strike the plant based balance.
There are however an increasing number of dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurants coming to the fore and some of these should be a destination in their own right. Here are just a few that merit your attention and should be on your bucket list for your next trip.
Osteria Ancestrale, Podere Arduino, Castagneto Carducci – Tuscan Coast
Precision, regenerative agriculture, ferments and fresh, seasonal produce are at the heart of Osteria Ancestrale, run by the inspired couple Fabrizio Bartoli and his partner Martina who take the very greatest care to deliver excellence in flavour, presentation and service. If you plan to spend any time on the Tuscan coast, this is very much worth a detour.
Osteria Ciriera, Trequanda – Val d’Orcia, Tuscany
Sitting out in the main square of the small town Trequanda is a treat in itself, but when you receive a thought through vegan menu, it’s really both a surprise and delight. This is worth a visit if you are in the Val d’Orcia.
Joia, Milan
With a michelin star and a green sustainability star, Joia has to be included in the line up.  It was the first vegetarian restaurant in Europe to receive a star in 1996 and each dish is the result of extensive experimentation that you can truly perceive. The creativity is all thanks to the imagination of chef (and owner) Pietro Lehmann who takes you on a culinary journey.
Trattoria Terramadre, Alberobello, Puglia
This is not strictly a vegetarian menu, but their orto is incredible and there are many plant based dishes to choose from. Located in Alberobello in Puglia, it is a haven away from the busy streets and somewhere to connect with their perfectly cared for ingredients.
Il Margutta, Rome
Striking the balance between comfort and contemporary dining, this is a good stop for those visiting Rome looking for a sophisticated vegetarian menu. They also have a brunch menu at the weekend, which is worth checking out.