Lake Garda olive oil: where and how to taste it
One travels for the sake of discovery, to admire enchanting landscapes and views that take one's breath away, but also to taste new flavours. Among the excellences that deserve attention, there is certainly a typical product from all over Italy, which in each place is declined according to particular characteristics due to the territory: olive oil.
Lake Garda's olive oil is produced from the northernmost olive groves not only in the country, but in the entire world: in fact, these trees grow on the glacial moraine hills that surround the lake and separate it from the Alps.
Olive cultivation is widespread throughout the Mediterranean area. This plant, although very hardy, is not suited to cold climates. The proximity to the mountains, therefore, might seem like a contradiction, but the Alps not only ensure abundant rainfall, but also offer protection to the trees, which can therefore thrive despite the latitude. The Garda area, in fact, is positively influenced by the great mass of water and the mountain ranges, two factors that contribute to the uniqueness of the area and all its products, among which we also find the Garda DOP extra virgin olive oil, which obtained the denomination in 1997. There are many occasions to taste it, for those who visit the area: let us see together what its peculiarities are and where you can try it.
Garda extra virgin olive oil: history, where it is produced and its characteristics
The olive groves of Lake Garda already existed a long time ago: evidence of their presence dates back to Roman times and even during the Middle Ages, the oil produced had a very high value. In the Renaissance period, the slopes of the area were redesigned to create terraces overlooking the lake, on which olive trees were cultivated. The structure of the terrain has largely remained unchanged since then, and it is due to the presence of the olive trees that the area was launched as a tourist destination: in 1968 the term 'Riviera degli olivi' was coined, which then also became famous for the oil produced there.
The production area
As with all products that have a protected designation of origin, Garda extra virgin olive oil also has a production regulation, in which the legal provisions that every company must comply with can be found. Some indications concern the territory: olive trees for harvesting are cultivated in the provinces of Brescia, Verona, Mantua and Trento. Depending on the geographical location, the oil will be accompanied by the words 'Bresciano', 'Orientale', 'Trentino'.
Garda extra virgin olive oil has a delicate and elegant flavour, very balanced and with a light aroma. The almond aftertaste is what makes it recognisable and unique, together with the scent of fresh grass, herbs, hay and artichoke. The colour varies from green to a more or less intense yellow.
The most widespread olive cultivars in the area are Casaliva, Frantoio and Leccino, which are present for more than 50% in the PDO products Bresciano, Orientale and Trentino. In the latter, the percentage reaches 80% and also includes another cultivar called Pendolino.
Lake Garda olive oil: discover it in NowMyPlace experiences
Ideal for fresh fish dishes, but also on carpaccio (meat and fish), pinzimonio and cooked and raw vegetables, Lake Garda extra virgin olive oil is also used in many other recipes, both sweet and savoury. Whether it is PDO or organically produced, perhaps flavoured and special, tasting this oil is a sensory experience from which you cannot exempt yourself if you visit Lake Garda.
Oil tastings are a great opportunity to sample an excellent local product not only through tasting, but also through the words of those who produce it with care and passion. In the farms selected by NowMyPlace, in fact, you will come into contact with the world of olive cultivation and have the opportunity to be told about the entire process.
On the west coast, in Raffa, you will be welcomed into a property with old-world charm, a historic family-run business, where the owners will offer you various oil tastings according to quality and taste, accompanied by bread. To conclude, there will be a tasting of three organic, estate-produced wines: Lugana, Chiaretto and Rosso.
In Salò, you can enjoy Garda olive oil along with simple and genuine dishes; in the village of Toscolano Maderno, you can visit an agritourism farm: an open oil experience suitable for ages 4 and up, which will also bring you into contact with powerful and elegant nature.
Not just taste itineraries: discover excursions with gastronomic stops
Food experiences are increasingly in demand by those who visit a place like Lake Garda: we have dedicated an entire assortment of proposals to these travellers, the taste itineraries, which include the tastings with which we hope we have made you want to leave! But these are not the only opportunities to discover the flavours of Lake Garda: many of the NowMyPlace tours, in fact, combine an outdoor activity with the tasting of local products.
Among the mountain e-bike rides, for example, you will find a route in Tignale, which ends at an altitude of 1,400 metres, with a refreshing break with cured meats and other typical delicacies. For the more experienced, the mountain bike is the means to challenge an old military mule track, with the certainty of resting over a good meal of fresh, natural ingredients, in a family-run agriturismo.
The gastronomic tradition of Garda deserves to be known even far from the shores of the lake, and this is precisely what has been happening more and more in recent years. Today, in fact, tourism is increasingly experiential, and this means that the gastronomic aspect is taken into great consideration by travellers when making their choice. Destinations where it is possible to combine the dimension of relaxation with the beauty of places and the goodness of flavours are among the favourites, both nationally and internationally. Whether it is extra virgin olive oil, fine wines or other products, Garda is undoubtedly a pearl: come and discover the olive groves that dot the hillsides, the extra virgin olive oil and the typical foods, still prepared according to the same old recipes.