Italian olive oil from Lake Garda: extra virgin with unique taste

Categories : Olive Oil

Olive tree cultivation on Lake Garda in Italy
Photo: Olive tree cultivation on Lake Garda in Italy

Italian olive oil from Lake Garda is one of the most popular Italian extra virgin olive oils in the UK and worldwide. In this article you will find information about its organoleptic characteristics, such as its fruity taste, aroma and acidity. But also about the localities where it is produced. In addition, we have put some of the best olive oils from Lake Garda to the test, carried out by professional tasters.

Table of contents:

What makes Italian olive oil from Garda so special?

Italian olive oil from the Garda area is produced in the northernmost region of Italy where olive trees are grown. This is the geographical area around the 46th parallel.

This geographical area includes the provinces of Brescia, Verona, Mantua and Trento. The most important villages in the Garda area where extra virgin olive oil is produced are Riva del Garda (Trento), Lazise, Bardolino and Malcesine (Verona), Desenzano del Garda (Brescia). However, there are small olive oil producers in all the villages around the lake.

It is said that the Mediterranean climate begins right here on Lake Garda. The mild microclimate typical of this geographical area is undoubtedly one of the factors that contribute most to the fact that Lake Garda extra virgin olive oil is one of the most famous Italian oils in the world.

Olive oil from Lake Garda: the organoleptic characteristics

Lake Garda olive oil is poured over a spoon
Photo: Lake Garda olive oil is poured over a spoon

Let us now take a look at the organoleptic characteristics of Garda DOP (PDO) and IGP (PGI) olive oil, i.e. oil produced exclusively from local olives. In particular, we will study the following aspects:

  • the colour of the olive oil
  • the fragrance
  • the taste

The fruity taste

Lake Garda olive oil typically has a light to medium fruity taste. It is quite rare for an olive oil from this area to have an intense fruity taste.

Its gusto is rich with aromas of fresh grass, almonds, artichokes, hay, herbs and even thistle. These aromatic notes blend into a smooth taste where bitterness and sharpness are clearly perceptible on the tongue.

☝ Extra virgin olive oil from Lake Garda PDO is rich in oleic acid and vitamin E, which makes it a very balanced and healthy food. Ideal for those who want to eat healthy.

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The colour

The colour of Garda oil is a deep golden green. This colouring is due to the high chlorophyll content.

The fragrance

To the nose, the oil is delicate with a sweet almond aroma.


Acidity is an essential element of extra virgin olive oil. In fact, the acidity level in extra virgin olive oil must never exceed 0.8%. Lake Garda Uliva DOP oil even has an acidity level of less than 0.4%.

☝ The acidity is not perceptible to the palate, so a chemical test is required to check the proportion of oleic acid in EVO oil.

Read the guide to extra virgin olive oil

The olive harvest on Lake Garda

Two men harvest olives at Lake Garda in Italy
Photo: Two men harvest olives at Lake Garda in Italy

Between the end of October and the beginning of November, the olive harvest begins on Lake Garda.

This is the time when the olives in this area of Italy reach the perfect degree of ripeness, i.e. the time when the colour of the fruit changes from green to purple. The olive varieties used for the production of extra virgin olive oil with protected designation of origin are:

  • Casaliva
  • Frantoio
  • Leccino
  • Pendolino
  • Drizzar

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Producers of olive oil on Lake Garda

One of the most important producers of extra virgin olive oil on Lake Garda is La Cooperativa Agraria Riva del Garda, which was founded as early as 1926 as an association to promote and support agriculture in the region on upper Lake Garda. More than 300 olive oil producers are united in this cooperative.

Olive oil from Lake Garda in the test

We wanted to find out which is the best Lake Garda olive oil. That's why we organised a tasting of the most renowned olive oils of Lake Garda.

The verdict of the 8 tasters was unanimous and confirmed once again that the best olive oil of Lake Garda is the 46° Parallelo from Agraria Riva del Garda. This is a DOP extra virgin olive oil obtained from Casaliva olives.

This extra virgin olive oil, of which there is also an organic version, was found to be faultless and with a very balanced structure in the organoleptic evaluation.

The tasters evaluated the fruitiness, bitterness and pungency of this EVO oil.

These are the test results:

  • Fruity taste: 5.7
  • Bitterness: 5.6
  • Pungency: 5.7

Usage in the kitchen

A cook dressing a salad with Garda extra virgin olive oil
Photo: A cook dressing a salad with Garda extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil from Lake Garda is a high quality olive oil and very versatile in the kitchen, as it tastes good raw as well as cooked or even fried.

Its lightness and delicate flavour make it the ideal olive oil for seafood dishes, but also for

  • meat
  • cooked and raw vegetables, such as pinzimonio
  • low-fat cheeses, such as stracchino
☝ Garda olive oil is also used in the preparation of desserts, sorbets and even ice cream.

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