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)

Winter Roots

The base notes of winter meet the peppery spice of new season olive oil in some sort of divine marriage.

 

Packed with antioxidants and fibre as well as being low in calories, fat and cholesterol, winter roots raise their game significantly when prepared with a high polyphenol extra virgin olive oil impacting both their flavour as well as their nutritional content.

 

This is a favourite in our family and perfect for the thanksgiving weekend. Serves 4-6.

INGREDIENTS

1kg pumpkin, peeled, cleaned and cut into cubes

1 leek, roughly sliced

2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

4tbsp extra virgin olive oil

50g fregola

20 sage leaves

Seasoning to taste

METHOD

Firstly, in a small frying pan, take the sage leaves and a few small cubes of pumpkin, seasoned with a little salt and coated in extra virgin olive oil and slowly sautee until the sage leaves are crispy and the pumpkin has taken some browning at the edges. Set aside.

 

Meanwhile, add the leek, garlic, potato and pumpkin to a large saucepan with 3tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt. On a medium heat keep them moving until the garlic starts to give a scent. Then add a litre of water, enough to cover the vegetables easily and bring up to the boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are just about ready to give way.

 

Whilst this is cooking, boil a medium sized pan of salted water and once at boiling point, add the fregole. They typically take around 12 minutes. If you don’t have fregola, large couscous works well.

 

Drain and set aside.

 

Once the soup is ready, blitz with a hand blender until smooth and then taste to ensure the seasoning is correct – pumpkin is naturally sweet, so you need to get the salt level right.

 

To serve, spoon the soup into bowls and then just at the point of serving, add some fregole, sauteed sage and pumpkin and a generous swirl of extra virgin olive oil.

 

A high polyphenol, decisive olive oil is the perfect choice for a dish like this and so we typically go to central Italy. Lea from Frantoio Gregori is a great choice, as is Il Sincero from Marco Viola.