Lemons and olives from Lake Garda.
The yellow of the lemons and the green of the olives. Two excellences of Lake Garda, rich in history, knowledge and flavours. Consider, in fact, that the first ones have been cultivated since the distant 1200s, when the Franciscan friars, who settled in the convent of Gargnano, brought with them these sun-colored apples, originally from Asia, to use them above all in pharmacies. Two hundred years later on the western shore of Lake Garda it was possible to admire the wonderful citrus groves lying on terraced slopes exposed to the light and heat of the sun but sheltered from the wind.
Olives have an even more ancient history. Their presence in the territories of Benaco is testified by an edict of 643 AD. which forbade the damage to the olive trees, under penalty of a pecuniary fine. During the Middle Ages the production of high quality oil flourished.
The native variety of Garda, on the western shore of the lake, is particularly appreciated for its sour taste, intense aroma and juicy pulp, characterized by a thin yellow skin.
Important source of vitamin C, lemon which has antioxidant properties and stimulates the immune system, also contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and E.
Rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, it has anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of flavonoids, digestive, thanks to its high content of citric acid, diuretic as it helps eliminate toxins from the body, and antibacterial because it contains in addition to citric acid also ascorbic acid.
In the kitchen it is an ingredient for preparing many dishes, especially desserts such as cakes, pies and ice cream, but also for flavoring sauces, marinades, cocktails and hot drinks such as tea and infusions.
In cosmetics it is mainly used for the production of essential oils, skin and hair care products, perfumes and fragrances due to its freshness and pleasant aroma.
Its essential oil is extracted from the peel and has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be indicated for the treatment of acne, wrinkles and skin blemishes.
Olives and DOP extra virgin olive oil.
Oval in shape, similar to an egg, with a slightly elongated tip, dark green in color with lighter green streaks, soft and fleshy, Garda olives are known for their sweet and delicate flavor and are highly appreciated because they are less bitter than to other varieties.
Cultivated between the provinces of Brescia, Verona and Trento, their production area obtained the protected designation of origin (DOP) mark in 1997 and the Protection Consortium in 2003, recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2004.
Over the centuries, real terraces have been built to house the olive groves, which overlook the lake, making the panorama unique: it is no coincidence that this area is also known as the Riviera degli Ulivi. The pressing of the olives gives a high quality extra virgin olive oil, with a fruity and slightly spicy flavour, one of the finest in the world.
Garda oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease; it is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which protect cells from free radical damage. Indeed, it can be used in the form of a cream, as a moisturizer, especially for dry and damaged skin. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
In the kitchen, its use is manifold: to dress salads, vegetables, meat and fish and it is perfect for low temperature cooking.
Nature on the plate.
Here are a couple of quick and easy recipes to make even if you are not an expert chef.
Flavor the oil with lemon to flavor vegetable-based dishes, such as salads, boiled potatoes and fish: after washing an untreated Madernina lemon under running water, peel it, removing the bitter white part, and finely chop the peel. Pour it into a sealed glass container together with 300 ml of Garda DOP extra virgin olive oil and leave to macerate for 4 days.
Prepare a tasty vegetarian salad by spreading the peeled leaves of a head of red radicchio on a serving plate, on which you will arrange the wedges of 2 oranges, 4 large diced figs and slices of fennel. Season with salt and pepper, seasoned with Garda extra virgin olive oil, a few drops of Madenina lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and almond flakes.
But a slice of bread with a drizzle of oil is also fine, sipping a lemonade in front of a sunset with colors that only the landscapes of Garda can offer, after a sunny day spent among the inviting waters of the lake and a one of the many characteristic villages.
Nothing is missing.