Garda (Garda olive oil)

From Cookipedia


DOP Garda is an Italian extra virgin olive oil with the following chemical and organoleptic characteristics:

- acidity max. 0.6%

- peroxides <= 14 meq 02/kg

- green to yellow in colour

- medium or light fruity aroma

- fruity taste with possibly some piquancy, bitterness or almond flavour

These values vary but always within more restrictive limits for each of the permitted geographical names.


The territory facing Lake Garda in the provinces Brescia, Verona, Mantova and Trento.


The olive is known to have been grown in the area since Antiquity. Fossil finds in southern Alpine zones from the Cretaceous period show its presence. Kernels found among pieces of terracotta at Pacengo show that the Bronze Age inhabitants of the lakeside pile-dwelling settlements used the olive and the lakeside remains of Roman oil mills confirm production on an industrial scale. Numerous documents from the Middle Ages to the present bear witness to the importance of the olive in the area around Lake Garda. D'Annunzio and Goethe are among the Italian and foreign writers who have left references.


Garda extra virgin olive oil is produced from healthy olives picked before 15 January. The crop may not be more than 5 000 kg/ha of trees and the maximum oil yield 22%. The olives are picked directly from the tree by hand or mechanically. Only those extraction processes are permitted that will produce oil presenting the distinctive characteristics of the fruit with maximum fidelity. Garda oil undergoes virtually no pesticide treatment since the most dangerous pest, the olive fly, cannot survive at these latitudes.


The particular microclimates in which the olive is grown in the Garda area depend on mitigation by the pre-Alpine lakes of what would otherwise be a hostile environment. As regards oil the only suitable areas are the sides or foot of the hills of the Garda Moraine amphitheatre. These predominantly sandy soils are free draining and include some limestone. The dominant varieties are Casaliva (typical local variety), Pendolino, Leccino and Frantoio. Other local varieties are Trepp, Raza and Fort. The Lacini Commission's survey of 1882 describes the technical, economic and social aspects of olive growing in the Garda area. The olive is so symbolic of it that in 1968 the local tourism authorities officially named it the Olive Riviera. The olive is a traditional part of the area's gastronomy and the return from its cultivation traditional component of farm incomes, as indicated in the documents attached to the notes on history and traditions. The groves are located at the foot of and on hill slopes and their terracing has conferred a highly distinctive character on the landscape and upgraded the environment. It is the presence of the olive that has made the area very attractive to tourists. The beauty of the landscape allows it to be called the Olive Riviera and the prestige and traditional high quality of the oil produced has bestowed on it the title of "Champagne of olive oils".

The production specification for the Garda DOP includes the use of three supplementary geographical names (Bresciano, Trentino, Orientale) in order to emphasise the fact that Lake Garda is the meeting point of three regions each with its own highly distinctive history and human traditions. Although the climate of the lake is substantially uniform and the lake shores manifestly share cultural characteristics, organoleptic differences can be perceived, although only by experts, and they arise from differences in mode of production linked to local tradition and administratively sanctioned at regional level.

Reference: The European Commission

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