TO DOEat - Drink

Garda DOP Extra Virgin Olive oil

Gastronomic excellence of Lake Garda.

by Marco Ghirello

The mild Mediterranean climate that has always characterised the Lake Garda area has favoured agriculture and in particular the cultivation of olives.

Since ancient times, this noble plant was highly appreciated for the quality of the oil produced, although for a long time it remained a food reserved for a few people, given the high cost of purchase. The development of land suitable for olive cultivation began towards the end of the 15th century. Land terraces overlooking Lake Garda were created and this made the eastern area immediately recognisable, so much that it was later called "Riviera degli Ulivi".

The production area of Garda DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil extends from the southernmost and flattest part of Lake Garda to the northernmost part, where the high mountains outline a fjord-like shape of the lake and protect it from the coldest winds.

There are 67 towns in the area where olives are harvested for the production of Garda DOP EVO oil, divided into the provinces of Verona, Brescia, Mantua and Trento.

Garda DOP EVO oil: the varieties

Garda DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil is immediately recognisable by its naturally delicate flavour with balanced, light aromas. The hints are of artichoke and fresh grass with a typical almond aftertaste.

Characteristics of Garda DOP EVO oil:

Colour - green to yellow with varying intensity.
Aroma - medium to light fruity.
Taste - fruity, hints of sweet with an almond aftertaste.
Maximum acidity in oleic acid 0.5 %.

The most common varieties of Garda DOP EVO oil are Casaliva, Frantoio and Leccino.

Casaliva is the native variety of Lake Garda and the most widespread, capable of adapting very well to climate and soil as well as surviving frost and pests.

Frantoio is one of the most widespread varieties in Italy, capable of adapting to different soils and bearing abundant and constant fruit.

Leccino is a self-sterile variety that requires other pollinator varieties to produce olives and has abundant and constant fructification.

According to the product specification, the percentages of varieties that must be present for the DOP denomination in the three sub-areas are as follows:

Garda DOP Bresciano - Casaliva, Frantoio, Leccino ≥ 55%
Garda DOP Orientale - Casaliva, Frantoio, Leccino ≥ 55%
Garda DOP Trentino - Casaliva, Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino ≥ 80%

EVO Garda oil was granted in 1997 by the European Union with the Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin). Certifying the quality of the product is the Consorzio di Tutela olio Garda DOP organisation that brings together olive growers, millers and packers from the various production areas.

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