Garda Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Here you will find the best Extra Virgin Olive Oils from Lake Garda. From Agraria Riva del Garda and Comincioli we offer you a wide range of high quality Italian extra virgin olive oils from excellent producers.
Olive growing area Lake Garda
Lake Garda has been a popular destination for decades. No wonder, since the lake and the surrounding landscape, with its mild climate, offer the opportunity to dive into a southern-looking, almost Mediterranean ambience in a relatively short drive. Most of the holiday makers know that vineyards are grown around Lake Garda: after all, many of them have already enjoyed popular wines such as Bardolino or Bianco di Custoza.
Less well-known, however, is the fact that Lake Garda also produces excellent olive oil - thanks to the mild climate there. This is partly due to the mighty mountains of the Dolomites, which protect the landscape around the lake from the cold air currents from the north. On the other hand, Italy's largest inland water, with a volume of almost 50 km³, acts as an enormous heat storage. The producer Agraria Riva del Garda therefore also speaks of a "Mediterranean oasis in alpine climate". For here, at the northern tip of the lake, at the 46th northern latitude, extends the most northern olive groves not only in Italy, but the whole world: This remarkable aspect proves the Agraria Riva del Garda with their DOP oils of the series 46 ° Parallelo Reference.
However, the focus of the growing area is not on the northern tip of the lake: Here, the nearby Dolomites release only a small, slightly wavy hollow for agricultural use.It stretches around the towns of Riva and Arco. Most olive groves are located on the south-western, southern and south-eastern shores of the lake, in the provinces of Brescia, Mantua and Verona. Here the high mountains recede, instead terraced hills or plains frame the lake. At the end of the last ice age, these end moraines were formed by the Adige glacier and are characterized by fertile marly soils.
Properties of olive oil from Lake Garda
But what characterizes the oil from Lake Garda? The most important feature is probably its fresh, slightly spicy fragrance and the mild, slightly to medium fruity taste: this combines the aromas of fresh herbs with hints of artichokes, freshly mown hay and thistles. A pleasant, slightly bitter note is noticeable, reminiscent of almonds. The gold-green color of the olive oil is due to the high chlorophyll content.
But olive oil from Lake Garda smells and tastes not only excellent, it promotes proven health and well-being. What's more, its high content of vitamin E and of polyphenols makes it a veritable medicine: Polyphenols are known to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties thanks to their antioxidant properties. The substance oleocanthal, which was discovered in 2005 and also contained in olive oil, also relieves pain (similar to aspirin or ibuprofen).
As in every region of origin, certain varieties of olives are cultivated preferentially in this most northerly. Around the Lake Garda you find these varieties:
The first two are the most important and should therefore be briefly presented here: the Leccino variety produces a mild, very balanced olive oil with a slightly fruity taste, characterized by hints of valerian and dandelion. In the rather medium-fruity olive oils from the Casaliva are in addition to herbal aromas notes of artichoke and almonds in the foreground flavor.
In order to have all the above-mentioned flavor and health benefits for extra-virgin olive oils (not only) from Lake Garda, cultivation, harvesting and processing of olives must be carried out according to specific procedures. These include, for example, the manual reading and the cold pressing, in which the temperature of 27 °C must not be exceeded.
These and other criteria (such as the authorized varieties) are binding in the lists of requirements, the "disciplinare", which exist for each Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). For Extra Vergine olive oils from the area around Lake Garda, three DOP zones were established: Olio del Garda Bresciano (on the southwest bank), Olio del Garda Trento (north) and Olio del Garda Orientale (on the eastern bank). Since 2004, the Consorzio dell'Olio del Garda, responsible for all three territories, has been monitoring that all the provisions of the disciplinare are complied with. For this purpose, the independent committee uses strict, regular quality controls.
How to use olive oils from Lake Garda?
Thanks to their mild and balanced taste, olive oils from Lake Garda can be used in many ways: above all with the numerous fish dishes that are prepared around the lake. In addition to the carpione, which is only found here Lake Garda trout, this large body of water is home to many other species of fish, including roach, pike and several perch species.
But also in meat and vegetable dishes and soups, extra virgin oils are an indispensable ingredient, for example in beef or fish carpaccios. The olive oil is used primarily as a seasoning. Used in low doses, a high-quality oil does not drown out the taste of a dish, but really brings it to its best advantage. Last but not least, olive oil is, of course, the main ingredient of the pinzimonio, a simple salad dressing made from oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Incidentally, chefs in the region also use local olive oil to make desserts such as ice cream, sorbets and sweet pastries!
Comincioli and Agraria Riva del Garda: award winner olive oils from Lake Garda
In the north of Italy, in the DOP region Garda Trento, the Agraria Riva del Garda has its headquarters. Founded in 1926, this group of producers includes 80 companies from all over the province of Trento; another 1,200 small farmers also deliver their olives to Agraria Riva del Garda. With a 65% share of the total production volume, this cooperative is the largest producer in the Trentino-Alto Adige region. On a total of 270 hectares there are about 85,000 olive trees, many of them are centuries old.
In 2009, Agraria di Riva received the organic certificate: in addition to the 175 different olive oils from conventional cultivation, 30 are organically produced.
The most important variety of olive is the Casaliva: it is partly processed to monocultivar, as for example to produce the Extra Vergine 46° Parallelo monocultivar Casaliva. Since the olives are harvested for this oil at the beginning of their maturity, it is on the one hand particularly rich in polyphenols, on the other hand very spicy in the taste.
The Extra Vergine 46° Parallelo monocultivar Casaliva, like all olive oils of the Parallelo series, comes in a colored glass bottle. In the monovarietal Casaliva, the blue color is a reference to the oceans and lakes, which are at the 46th parallel.
For the conscientious, quality-oriented work of its members, Agraria Riva del Garda received numerous awards. Recently, two of the oils from the Parallelo series have won several awards: the Monocultivar received the gold medal, the Uliva the bronze medal at the acclaimed Aipo d'Argento competition. Both PDO oils were also rated by the Gambero Rosso as best medium fruity oils of the year 2018, while Slow Food was worthy of them in the latest edition of their olive oil guide of the "Grande Olio" award.
Compared to Agraria Riva del Garda, Comincioli with its 11 hectares of vineyards and 10 hectares of olive groves is a small producer. However, the family business based in Puegnago del Garda can look back on a much longer tradition: since 1552, olive trees and grapes have been growing here on the southwestern shore of the lake. At the moment, owner Grianfranco, his wife Elisabetta and sons Roberto and Andrea are the 14th and 15th generation at the helm. Always open to new scientific insights and modern technology, they continue the centuries-old family tradition of olive growing and wine growing, according to the motto "Every day a little better". This has always been characterized by the responsible use of soil, nature and crops in the gently undulating countryside in the east of the province of Brescia.
The fruits of their work ethic are excellent olive oils, for which Comincioli have already been awarded several times. Representative here is the Extra Vergine Leccino, which was rated by the Gambero Rosso with the"Three Leaves" and classified by the magazine Der Feinschmecker in their top 250 as "Best Olive Oil".
All Olive oils from Comincioli are bottled in small 250ml and 500ml bottles. Since these are made of clear glass, but olive oil should be stored protected from light, each bottle is packed in a simple, yet chic round box made of cardboard - ideal as a gift. Which brings us to our last point, the packaging. The question is:
Bottle, Canister, Bag-in-Box or Pouch-Up?
At this point, the advantages and disadvantages of the mentioned alternatives in the packaging of olive oil will be briefly discussed. The glass bottle is undoubtedly the oldest and still most common of the solutions mentioned. Your advantage: If dark, usually green or brown colored glass is used, so that the content, in this case, the valuable olive oil protected from light, this is in good hands in the glass bottle. Of course, the oil must be used up relatively quickly - unless the bottle is provided with a vacuum seal, which is rarely the case. Other disadvantages of the glass bottle: The high weight of the packaging, the risk of breakage and not least the relatively small amount.
The canister offers a practical, unbreakable alternative. Since it is usually made of sheet metal or composite metal, it brings a significantly lower weight on the balance. Thanks to the larger capacity - usually 3 or 5 liters - the olive oil can also be offered at significantly lower prices. The disadvantage is, as with the glass bottle, in the low durability of the content. This should therefore be filled in glass bottles, after opening.
With the innovative packaging solutions Bag-in-Box and Pouch-Up®, the disadvantages of conventional containers are eliminated: the bag-in-box, or BiB for short, is a bag made of foil (aluminum outside, Polyethylene inside) and a box made of corrugated cardboard. The advantage: the contents are durable for a long time (up to three months after the opening), because the bag contracts a little with each removal, since no air can penetrate from the outside. As a result, the content is practically not in contact with oxygen, which is known to lead to oxidation. Further advantages are the low weight and the recyclable material.
This is even more true for the Pouch-Up®: Behind this brand name of the company Smurfit-Kappa hides a sturdy bag, which is stable thanks to a bottom fold. The integrated tap prevents, as with the BiB packaging, that air enters. Advantage over the latter: even less weight and material. Disadvantage: greater risk of damage.