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)

Wild Nettle Pesto

May is the month for nettles, if you take them later, not only might you remove a nesting ground for ladybirds, but once they are flowering, they are less good for you.  If you haven’t tried it before, nettle pesto is great with pasta, over frittata, or an open sandwich and it takes no time to make.

To select your nettles, ideally avoid roadside foraging or popular dog walking areas (!) and just look for the young, fresh leaves at the top of the stem (you want to avoid the bigger older leaves as they are bitter). I recommend using gloves and scissors to avoid the sting – if you ask our children, you can however pick them without getting stung if you hold your breath, because your pores close momentarily. Bit of a cavalier way to approach things if you ask me – so I’m not recommending you try that!

INGREDIENTS

a colander full of fresh nettles, younger smaller leaves

50g of pine nuts

50g finely grated parmesan

1 clove of garlic

150ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – S’Ciappau from Frantoio Paolo Cassini is perfect

a squeeze of lemon juice and seasoning to taste

METHOD

Wash the nettles and meanwhile bring a pot of salted water to the boil. When at boiling point, add the nettles for just 2 minutes. Remove and refresh in iced water.

Gently toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until they are just beginning to take on a golden hue. And then in a small food processor, add the drained and patted dry nettles, the pine nuts, parmesan, lemon, seasoning and extra virgin olive oil.

Transfer to a sterilized jar and you can store in the fridge for up to one week as with any other pesto.