Today I present to you a very cheeky can of sardines from La Gondola.
La Gondola is a company founded in 1940 by the Italian Carlo Lazzara that was later acquired by Portuguese investors. Around the time the “video killed the radio star” (the 80’s) this company located in Matosinhos – Portugal, decided to reinvent itself by diversifying the type of products offered and betting on quality. Good decision!…but now it’s easy to say it was:)
Paulo Dias, the actual owner, claims to use the fish and seafood when it’s at its best, processing it with traditional methods, pre-cooking the fish and only after cutting and canning it. Interesting fact, the cans of sardines remain for 6 months in the warehouse and are monthly turned to make sure that the precious olive oil bathes the sardines entirely. Like other gourmet canned fish factories, most of their production – around 90% to be more precise, gets exported.
Among their products portfolio comprised of sardine, Atlantic horse mackerel, chub mackerel, squid, octopus, tuna, trout, fish pâté and fish roe, I went for this sexy can of sardines with lemon. This can is a special edition with a package designed by Emilie Zubillaga, a contestant for the Concurso Sardinhas – Festas de Lisboa (in my own translation: Sardines Contest – Lisbon’s St. Anthony Festival). This is a contest organized by EGEAC, a Lisbon public enterprise for the management of facilities and cultural animation, where participants can send their designs for the sardines to be used during the festival campaigns. This sardine from Emilie and more from other talented designers were used in La Gondola packages.
As you may have noticed by now, I really like this special edition package. However, I have to make a remark…I know, I know…I’m picky, but if it’s a special edition, where’s the year?
After some googling, I finally found out this sardine entered the Sardines Contest of 2011.
The rest of package is quite nice, maybe I would also like to see a more bright background on it, eventually a more glossy paper too. The name of the product, ingredients, and nutrition facts are in three languages: Portuguese, English and French. When removing the cellophane and paper, I found a beautiful can in excellent conditions. Adding it all up, for package presentation it’s a 4 out of 5.
Opening it was really easy and no need to pull much harder towards the end, avoiding spilling the oil all over the place when the metal finally gives in. Perfection! 5 out of 5!
The can contained 6 sardines with slightly different sizes. This is good! It tells us it’s not one of those factories strictly selecting sardines by its size, generating waste and making the lives of fishermen harder than already is. These beautiful sardines had a pleasant aroma with some citrus notes. It was easy to take them out of the can without breaking them and on the bottom there were a couple of lemon slices.
Then it was time to give them a bite. When tasting them one feels the good quality olive oil sweet flavour. The lemon was definitely there but it was not stingy – on the spot (at least on mine)! As for the meat texture, I found it slightly soft which gave me the feeling they were melting in my mouth as I ate it.
Honestly, when I finished the can I was wishing I had got more!!!
- Package presentation (1 very poor – 5 excellent): 4
- Easiness to open (1 very hard – 5 very easy): 5
- Quantity: 6 sardines
- Flavour: well balanced citrus notes and sweet olive oil
- Texture: overall firm, slightly on the soft side
- Manufacturer: Fábrica de Conservas La Gondola, Lda.
- Type of Product: canned sardines
- Tasted Product: La Gondola – Sardines with lemon
- Ingredients (as described in the package): sardines (70%), olive oil (24.8%), lemon (4.5%) and salt.
- Nutritional Information (per 100g, as described in the package): Energy Value 240Kcal/1008kJ, Proteins 24g, Carbohydrates 0g, Fat 17g (of which saturated 3.5g), Salt 0.94g.
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