Garda olive oil and olive trees

Vines and olives dominate the countryside on the eastern side of Lake Garda. Olive trees are also abundant to the north, with vineyards further south, where there are only occasional olive groves.

When did olives first grow on Lake Garda?

Certainly olives were present in the early Middle Ages. The most important monasteries in the area planted and cultivated olive groves.
Religious orders used oil to illuminate churches during services, but the Mediterranean area could not provide enough. Hence a spate of planting particularly on the sides of the pre-Alpine lakes. “Garda deputavit ad olium” stated Abbot Wala of the famous San Colombano monastery in Bobbio in 835, the first record of olive growing on the lake.

Extra virgin olive oil on Lake Garda now has the European DOP kite marking for guaranteed origin.

The oil is extraordinarily light, easy to digest, with a fruity aroma. Freshly pressed, tradition has it that it should be tried on bruschetta or with boiled potatoes.

The next test is for salad with red radicchio, seasoned with oil, garlic and diced anchovies. It is served with all traditional cuisine, together with Groppello.

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