TODAY’S SPECIAL #7 / Minerva – Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil

Minerva - Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil
Minerva – Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil ©RFolgado

Today’s special is tuna! But not any part of the tuna…we are going for the best, the ventresca! In other words, the flesh from the tuna’s belly. This lovely can of Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil is from the brand Minerva. This brand is brought to us by Fábrica de Conservas – A Poveira, S.A., which officially started its activities in 1938.

Here’s a quick peek of their factory in Póvoa do Varzim, Portugal:

Minerva is “just” one of the many brands produced by this company: Ala-Arriba, Alva, Bela, D’Henry IV, Galleon and Taby, complement A Poveira’s portofolio.

The Minerva labelled products are, in my opinion, quite diversified and have astonishing quality. There are sardines and mackerels with many interesting ingredients such as pickles, curry, oregon, garlic, clove…specialities like sardines, mackerel and codfish roes, different sort of pastes and anchovies…the list is immense and eventually, I’ll get to write about many of them, but today I’m in the mood for some Dolphin-safe tuna.

In the package there’s a drawing of Minerva, the Roman goddess of handicrafts, professions, and arts, which is quite appropriate to represent a traditional product such as Portuguese canned fish. The Minerva goddess is also associated with war, so we can let our imaginations run wild and speculate that she would open a can of these goodies to celebrate a won battle.

Minerva

“I’ll have the tuna, please.”

Photo:”Minerva” (https://flic.kr/p/3gdnQ1) by Atomische * Tom Giebel / licensed by CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

By looking at this package I observe that every piece of information is both in Portuguese as well as in English. As for the chosen colours, it’s not my favourite scheme, but it’s nevertheless, pleasant and somewhat retro.

When taking out the paper wrap, I found a golden can in perfect conditions. Overall, and surely influenced by my personal taste, the Package Presentation earns a robust score of 4 out of 5.

Minerva - Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil: unwrapped can
Minerva – Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil: unwrapped can ©RFolgado

As for Easiness to Open, it’s a 2 out of 5: Minerva would call me weakling, but I don’t have the female warrior body type like she does. After some struggle I could finally see a very good looking tuna belly meat filling up the can. There were (what it looked like) 4 fillets inside, but when taking them out of the can I couldn’t really tell them apart.

Minerva - Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil: inside the can
Minerva – Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil: inside the can ©RFolgado

The meat was flaky, as it was supposed to be, and the flavour was fresh and light. The olive oil rounded up the experience nicely. Some parts of the meat were, however, a bit too dry.

Overall, I enjoyed this Minerva can of tuna, but from my previous experiences with this brand, my preferences still lie with their other fish products. Nonetheless, give it a try and if you feel like it, tell me/us your own opinion.


Evaluation summary:

  • Package presentation (1 very poor – 5 excellent): 4
  • Easiness to open (1 very hard – 5 very easy): 2
  • Quantity: 4(?) fillets
  • Flavour: fresh and light
  • Texture: flaky, some parts drier than others

Basic Info:

  • Manufacturer:  Fábrica de Conservas – A Poveira, S.A.
  • Type of Product: canned tuna
  • Tasted Product: Minerva – Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil
  • Ingredients (as described in the package): ventresca tuna (66.6%), olive oil (32.7%) and salt.
  • Nutritional Information (per 100g of drained product, as described in the package): Energy 878Kj/210Kcal, Proteins 24.9g, Carbohydrates 0g, Fat 12.3g (saturated fatty acids: 1.9g), Salt 1g.

Sources used in this post:

http://www.apoveira.pt/?language=42

Encyclopedia Britannica – Minerva

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TODAY’S SPECIAL #7 / Minerva – Ventresca Tuna in Olive Oil

TODAY’S SPECIAL #6 / Briosa Gourmet – Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices

Briosa Gourmet - Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices
Briosa Gourmet – Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices ©RFolgado

Today I decided to try a different conserva! Neither with sardines nor with any type of mackerel or tuna, I chose one with garfish! Garfish is know in Portuguese as peixe-agulha or picas, and they are usually a by-catch species, often caught when fishing mackerel since they follow similar migratory patterns. Therefore, they have reduced commercial value and in addition, the colour of the fish bones tends to be a bit off-putting. They acquire a green tone due to an iron phosphate called vivianite. But worry not, as this can of garfish is perfectly safe.

The creator of this conserva, Briosa, is making a very good job in helping to change the scepticism towards this fish. Briosa is a company located in Figueira da Foz (Portugal) and they make cans of goodness not only with garfish but also with sardine, tuna and chub mackerel. They are quite young, since they started their craft in 1991, date the factory was inaugurated in the Figueira da Foz harbour. So the fish should be as fresh as it gets!

I think that made a very good choice with the packaging design. As you can observe, the design resembles hydraulic tiles, which is another antique Portuguese tradition. I find it absolutely lovely. It has the name of the product in English, Portuguese – Picas (Peixe Agulha) em Azeite Picante and in French – Petite Orphie à l’huille d’Olive piquante. The ingredients, as well as the nutritional information are also in the three aforementioned languages. For me it’s a 5 out of 5 for package presentation.

Briosa Gourmet - Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices: packaging details
Briosa Gourmet – Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices: packaging details ©RFolgado

The can was very easy to open, so nothing but positive remarks there. When opening it I found five pieces of garfish: one big chunk plus four smaller ones and a chilli pepper “smiling back at me”. The smell was quite delicate, mostly olive oil scent.

Briosa Gourmet - Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices: lunch is served
Briosa Gourmet – Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices: lunch is served ©RFolgado

If you are wondering how garfish tastes, think of atlantic horse mackerel. At least as for texture, that’s what reminded me the most. The meat is quite dry, but I noticed it more while eating the bigger piece. As for the promised spiciness, I found it quite hot.

This is a wonderful alternative to the sardine or mackerel, and I repeat what I wrote when starting this post: Briosa did a very good job!


Evaluation summary:

  • Package presentation (1 very poor – 5 excellent): 5
  • Easiness to open (1 very hard – 5 very easy): 5
  • Quantity: 5 pieces of garfish with very different sizes
  • Flavour: quite hot
  • Texture: very firm, bigger pieces tend to be dry

Basic Info:

  • Manufacturer:  Briosa Conservas de Pescado, Lda.
  • Type of Product: canned garfish
  • Tasted Product: Briosa Gourmet – Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices
  • Ingredients (as in the package): small garfish, olive oil, chilli pepper, pepper and salt.
  • Nutritional Information (per 100g, as described in the package): Energy 205Kcal/857kJ, Proteins 23.5g, Carbohydrates 0g (from which sugar: 0g), Fat 11g (from which saturated: 1.5g), Salt 1g.

Sources used on this post: 

http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?ID=47&AT=garfish

http://www.soleshare.net/garfish/

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00217-013-1932-y#page-1

TODAY’S SPECIAL #6 / Briosa Gourmet – Small Garfish in Olive Oil with Spices

Today’s Special #5 / Conserverie Parmentier – Sardines with Provençal vegetables confit

Parmentier / Sardines - Légumes provençaux en confit
Parmentier / Sardines – Légumes provençaux en confit ©RFolgado

I would like to introduce you to Conserverie Parmentier – Sardines – Légumes provençaux en confit (the title of the post is my own translation of it to English…I hope I got it right!).

You might be wondering why am I writing about a French brand when I mentioned in my introduction that I would focus on Portuguese ones. Well, let me explain. In fact the production of these tins is outsourced to ESIP – European Seafood Investiments Portugal located in Peniche.

It was brought to my attention that this company is then owned by Thai Union, the world’s largest producer of canned and frozen seafood, which has been on the news not for the best reasons…according to the online newspapers, there are claims of workers being enslaved in Thailand on Thai Union fisheries.

So this is not the type of canned fish I usually write about, but since in the end it’s produced in Portugal, and hopefully with some nice Portuguese sardines, I say it’s part of the scope I’m focusing on right now.

It’s a pity that it says “Produced in Portugal” in such tiny letters…

Parmentier / Sardines - Légumes provençaux en confit - Can you find "Fabriqué au Portugal"?
Parmentier / Sardines – Légumes provençaux en confit – Can you find “Fabriqué au Portugal”? ©RFolgado

However, in general I found the package somewhat eye-catching due to the colours they used. I would have preferred to see some information written in English, rather than just a sticker with a questionable translation to Portuguese. Balancing the pros and cons, I’ll give it a 2 out of five.

Parmentier / Sardines - Légumes provençaux en confit: package detail
Parmentier / Sardines – Légumes provençaux en confit: package detail©RFolgado

Opening the can was quite easy. No biggie here. It seems a good quality type of can. So, on the category “Easiness to open” it’s a comfortable 4 out of 5.

When opening it, the sardines looked quite lush bathed in that Provençal sauce.

Parmentier / Sardines - Légumes provençaux en confit: open can
Parmentier / Sardines – Légumes provençaux en confit: open can ©RFolgado

Noticed how I called it sauce, instead of confit blablabla? I was expecting some pieces of vegetables, but it seems that the vegetables were cooked in confit style and then liquidised. The sauce was quite good though, with a delicate flavour dominated by the tomato. Could have been a bit more salty? Yes for my taste buds, but I guess it’s healthier this way.

The four sardines inside the can weren’t that easy to take out without breaking, so there goes the fancy food presentation. They also had some fish scales attached, which I personally don’t like so much. Some experts on canned sardines say it’s like popcorn kernels:P.

The sardines meat was quite firm, so this is a quite positive point.

In summary, I think there are several positive points about this can of sardines, but it didn’t really wow me. It’s not like I wouldn’t eat it again, but I’m certainly more interested in trying out some other brands first.


Evaluation summary:

  • Package presentation (1 very poor – 5 excellent): 2
  • Easiness to open (1 very hard – 5 very easy): 4
  • Quantity: 4 sardines
  • Flavour: delicate sauce with a predominant tomato flavour
  • Texture: firm

Basic Info:

  • Manufacturer:  ESIP – European Seafood Investiments Portugal (for Conserverie Parmentier
  • Type of Product: canned sardines
  • Tasted Product: Conserverie Parmentier – Sardines – Légumes provençaux en confit
  • Ingredients (as in the package, translated from French): sardines, water, tomato paste, extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, converted corn starch, alcohol vinegar, yellow peppers, salt, sugar, dehydrated eggplants, dehydrated courgettes, dehydrated red peppers, garlic, thickener: guar gum, colouring: paprika extract, Provence herbs, spices. Might have traces of mustard.
  • Nutritional Information (per 100g, as described in the package, translated from French): Energy 208Kcal/864kJ, Proteins 15.9g, Carbohydrates 2.5g (from which sugar: 1.5g), Fat 14.8g (from which saturated: 5.4g), Salt 1g.

Sources used on this post: 

http://www.undercurrentnews.com/2015/04/23/thai-union-yellow-card-has-eu-customers-looking-elsewhere/

http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/25410/thai-union-group-government-discuss-labour-abuses-in-seafood-sector/

http://conserverie-parmentier.fr/

Today’s Special #5 / Conserverie Parmentier – Sardines with Provençal vegetables confit

TODAY’S SPECIAL #4 / La Gondola – Sardines with Lemon

Today I present to you a very cheeky can of sardines from La Gondola.

La Gondola / Sardines with Lemon - Package
La Gondola / Sardines with Lemon – Package ©RFolgado

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?

La Gondola / Sardines with Lemon - Package detail
La Gondola / Sardines with Lemon – Package detail ©RFolgado

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.

La Gondola / Sardines with Lemon - Can
La Gondola / Sardines with Lemon – Can ©RFolgado

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.

La Gondola / Sardines with Lemon - Can after opening
La Gondola / Sardines with Lemon – Can after opening ©RFolgado

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!!!


Evaluation summary:

  • 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

Basic Info:

  • 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.

 Sources used in this post:

http://www.conservaslagondola.pt/

http://lifestyle.publico.pt/artigo/320001_sete-conservas-de-peixe-portuguesas-que-andam-nas-bocas-do-mundo

http://www.portugalfoods.org/catalogo/files/assets/common/downloads/page0072.pdf

http://sardinhas.festasdelisboa.com/en/emilie-zubillaga

TODAY’S SPECIAL #4 / La Gondola – Sardines with Lemon

TODAY’S SPECIAL #3 / Conservas Pinhais – Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil

On this Today’s Special I would like to introduce you to a Conservas Pinhais product: the Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil. This can caught my eye in a shop in Berlin. I had no previous knowledge about the company nor about this particular product before. I chose it merely based on the fact that the package looked good, feeling I was in the mood for Chub Mackerel and assuming it was a quality product since it was being sold on that particular gourmet shop.

Conservas Pinhais / Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil - Package
Conservas Pinhais / Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil – Package ©RFolgado

Before opening this tin of goodness, I did some research about Conservas Pinhais and I gathered a few interesting facts to share with you here. For starters, this company was founded in 1920 in a fishing village in the north of Portugal named Matosinhos.

Conservas Pinhais proudly advertises both on their products as well as when asked about their production, to use mostly traditional methods, except for the cooking, sterilization and the sealing of the tins. This clearly entails a great deal of manual work and trust in the experienced hands of Conservas Pinhais’ 140 workers. The reason given by the company’s president Mr. Antonio Pinhal, for the persistence in artisan methods resides in quality. This way they can guarantee a good handling of their raw materials – which are also premium quality.

Conservas Pinhais realises that they sell at an above average price range but they also believe that they are supplying a top gourmet product. Unfortunately, for various reasons such products not always get the popularity they deserve in Portugal, and 95% of the Pinhais production is then appreciated outside the Portuguese borders.

Snapshot of pinhais.pt website
Snapshot of pinhais.pt website © RFolgado

You can notice the internationality of the can featured in this post: the product’s name is written in Portuguese “Cavala Picante”, in English “Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil” and in French ” Maquereau Piquantes à Huile d’Olive”. Not only is the name written in these three languages, but also the ingredients and the nutritional information. The company’s website is also written in the package, but in my last attempts to access it, it wasn’t available:(

Overall I find the package quite good. It has a classical design and it’s neatly double wrapped with paper and cellophane. Therefore, I give it a 4 (out of 5) for Package Presentation with thoughts of “perhaps I’m being too picky, just because I would like to see a more modern look”. I decided to stick to my initial feeling and promptly unwrapped it. The can was is excellent conditions, as it would be expected.

Conservas Pinhais / Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil - Package detail
Conservas Pinhais / Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil – Package detail ©RFolgado

Opening it was easy, I just had to pull a bit harder towards the end, carefully not to spill olive oil all over the place. I gave it a 4 out of 5 in Easiness to Open.

(Note: So far I only found one can, which I found “easy peasy” to open, and that was a tuna can manufactured by Santa Catarina.)

Conservas Pinhais / Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil - Inside the can ©RFolgado
Conservas Pinhais / Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil – Inside the can ©RFolgado

Inside there were three big good looking chub mackerels asking for a bite. The olive oil sauce contained some clove, bay leave, cucumber, carrot and a chilli pepper for that extra kick. It was easy to take them out of the can without any big fuss since the fish was firm.

Conservas Pinhais / Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil - on the plate
Conservas Pinhais / Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil – on the plate ©RFolgado

The chub mackerels tasted amazingly good. However, you should know that I absolutely love chub mackerel. Contrary to what many may say, I don’t think chub mackerel is something you just “give to your cat”🙂 It’s a very tasty fish, pumped with vitamins!

The package said spicy, and it was indeed spicy. Not like burning hot, oh my god my mouth is numb, but the right amount of spiciness, that you can still distinguish the complementary flavours. Nonetheless, if you want to go all the way, the chilli pepper is there for a reason.

In summary, if you like chub mackerel, you like it hot and you’re in for a high quality canned fish meal, go for it! You won’t be disappointed. Conservas Pinhais hip hip hurray!


Evaluation summary:

  • Package presentation (1 very poor – 5 excellent): 4
  • Easiness to open (1 very hard – 5 very easy): 4
  • Quantity: 3 big chub mackerels
  • Flavour: spicy and hot
  • Texture: firm

Basic Info:

  • Manufacturer:  Pinhais & Ca.ª Lda
  • Type of Product: canned chub mackerel
  • Tasted Product: Conservas Pinhais – Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil
  • Ingredients (as in the package): mackerel, olive oil, cucumber, chilli, carrot, cloves, black pepper, salt.
  • Nutritional Information (per 100g, as described in the package, translated): Energy 320Kcal/1326kJ, Proteins 20.9g, Carbohydrates <1g, Fat 26.2g (of which saturated 5.2g), Salt 1g.

Sources used in this post:

http://www.dn.pt/inicio/interior.aspx?content_id=992080&page=1

http://www.portugalfoods.org/catalogo/files/assets/common/downloads/page0047.pdf

TODAY’S SPECIAL #3 / Conservas Pinhais – Spiced Mackerel in Olive Oil

Today’s Special #2 / Minor – Small Horse Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Minor - Spicy Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Minor – Spicy Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce ©RFolgado

In today’s special I would like to share with you my experience with a product from Conserveira de Lisboa, Lda.  But first let me give you a bit of background information.

The Conserveira de Lisboa is a very interesting shop in the Lisbon’s downtown which first got its official name in 1942. They are a family owned business which stands for the traditional trading of their unique brands of canned fish: Tricana, Minor and Prata do Mar.

Their shop is now part of the Lisbon tourist route, featured for instance in the Lonely Planet guides, also in the Guide du Routard and in the Dumont ones. It also caught the attention of the international press appearing in well renowned newspapers and magazines such as the Monocle, The Guardian, Zeit and the New York Times.

It’s no surprise that this company has had such good reviews. It’s partly explained by their investment on the traditional appearance of both the shop as the products, as well as by their focus on the clients. The manual work executed by Dona Manuela carefully wrapping each can (“up to 600 a day”) tells us a bit about it:

From their three brands I decided to go for Minor (admittedly because it has a cat on its cover). This brand focuses on small fishes, such as the atlantic horse mackerel, chub mackerel and sardines. From this brand portfolio I selected the atlantic horse mackerel in spicy tomato sauce, because I usually enjoy these preparations with different sauces.

Minor - Spicy Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce, package details
Minor – Spicy Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce, package details © RFolgado

Besides liking the cat on the package, I really like the whole retro look of it. The company logo printed on the side brings together the themes of fish and Lisbon. In addition, it’s quite nice that they put the name of the product in three languages: Carapauzinhos em Tomate Picante – the Portuguese version, Small Horse Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce – its translation to English and Petites Épinoches à la Sauce du Tomate Piquant – for the French name. The ingredients and nutritional information are just in Portuguese though.

When I removed the paper wrapping from the can, I was a bit surprised to see some rust marks. Since they were close to the top reentrancy zone, where the can is less resistant, I was concerned that my snack might have been compromised. However, the can didn’t look bulged nor was it leaking, so it seemed safe to proceed. I wondered if eventually this can was transported together many others, wrapped in plastic, exposed to somewhat cold, and then when transported to the inside of the shop I bought it from, the plastic was removed before the package had time to acclimatize and condensation formed, concentrating on those spots…would that condensation be enough to start forming rust? Honestly, I don’t know. I’m just speculating here.

Minor - Spicy Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce Package
Minor – Spicy Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce Package © RFolgado

I trust that this kind of defects don’t happen so often, so I don’t feel it’s fair to give it too much weight to my already subjective evaluation. So let’s put a number on it: it’s a 3 out of 5 for Package Presentation.

Then it was time to pull the ring and take a look to what’s inside. I had to pull a bit harder towards the end, but no big deal. In “Easiness to open” it’s a steady 4 out of 5.

Minor - Spicy Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce, inside the can
Minor – Spicy Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce, inside the can © RFolgado

At first I saw 4 good looking mackerels on the rich tomato sauce. I started taking them out, and there where another 4 beneath. Although there were so many mackerels inside, each one was whole, which I see as a sign of good fish handling. Additionally, it wasn’t difficult to remove them from the inside without damaging them.

The fish was firm and I couldn’t notice any fish scales. As for the flavour, the sauce was rich, meaning that it had somewhat a deep flavour like the one you get from a good homemade tomato sauce. I also found it salty and averagely hot.

In summary, I liked it and I think it makes a very nice meal by it self with some bread, some salad on the side and perhaps a glass of Rosé wine.

Cheers!


Evaluation summary:

  • Package presentation (1 very poor – 5 excellent): 3
  • Easiness to open (1 very hard – 5 very easy): 4
  • Quantity: 8 atlantic horse mackerels
  • Flavour: rich, salty and averagely hot
  • Texture: firm

Basic Info:

  • Manufacturer:  Conserveira de Lisboa, Lda.
  • Type of Product: canned atlantic horse mackerel
  • Tasted Product: Minor – Small Horse Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • Ingredients (as in the package, translated): atlantic horse mackerel, vegetable oil, tomato, piri-piri and salt
  • Nutritional Information (per 100g, as described in the package, translated): Energy 209Kcal/875kJ, Proteins 26.4g, Carbohydrates 0.8g, Fat 13g
Today’s Special #2 / Minor – Small Horse Mackerel in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Today’s Special #1 / Santa Catarina – Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” (mediterranean sauce)

Santa Catarina - Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” (mediterranean sauce) Package
Santa Catarina – Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” package ©RFolgado

Today we will try canned tuna produced by Santa Catarina – Indústrias Conserveira, S.A. This company is located in the Azorean island of São Jorge and they present themselves as a traditional company producing canned goods that goes back to the first half of the 20th century. However, the brand Santa Catarina was only established in 1995. This company claims to use sustainable labour and to employ mostly women, which according to them, allows a better use of the local resources and capabilities. I’m not sure what this statement means. I suppose (and also stated by Santa Catarina) that the canning process of such gourmet products requires a lot of manual work and therefore, I would assume that they provide a great number of jobs in the S. Jorge island. At least I like to think about it in that way. About employing mostly women, according to the 2011 Census for that island, there are slightly more women (51%) than men in S.Jorge (total population of 8998 residents). Another interesting fact stated by Santa Catarina regarding their tuna: the fish is caught using a traditional method called “Salto e Vara”.  This means bait fish is released, attracting the tunas close to the fishing vessel and then the fishermen use a stout fishing rod with several meters of line and a hook attached, to flick striking tuna onto the deck. This method is said to be more sustainable since it targets a specific type of fish, hence eliminating the by-catch of sharks and dolphins. In addition, the caught tuna is exposed to less suffering since it’s not squeezed into a net with many other tuna. This explains in part the higher quality of the tuna meat when using such method. Here’s a video explaining it pretty well (although a bit romanticized due to the soundtrack):

The use of this method granted the company in 1998 the certification by the non-governmental organization Earth Island Institute as “Dolphin Safe”. OK, enough with the background information. Let’s move on to the tasting! Ah, but I first need to explain you what’s “Molho Cru” (mediterranean sauce)…funny it’s translated as mediterranean sauce, if “Molho Cru” is described as typical from the S.Jorge island, which is pretty much in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Geographic details aside, this sauce is composed of olive oil, onion, garlic, sweet pepper, parsley, paprika, chilli pepper, vinegar and salt. Note: I’m not sure about the difference between paprika and sweet pepper. I would appreciate if you could comment on this.

Santa Catarina - Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” (mediterranean sauce) Package Detail
Santa Catarina – Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” package detail ©RFolgado

Moving on to my evaluation about the package: I found the product quite nicely packaged. The design could be a bit more appealing, given that other Portuguese brands of canned fish are coming up with so many cool designs. However, I must say I like the information content in it. The can is wrapped in a kind of journal style paper, where you find a recipe using canned tuna, some information about the type of tuna inside, a little bit about the company history and the fishing method. Unfortunately, this information is for Portuguese speakers only. So overall, I will give it a 3 out of 5 for the packaging.

Santa Catarina - Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” (mediterranean sauce) inside the can
Santa Catarina – Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” inside the can ©RFolgado

Opening the can was quite easy. No need to pull too much the ring, the cover could be easily removed without any fuss. This grants this can of goodness a 5 out of 5 in the category “Easiness to open”. Well done! Inside the can I found 4 chunks of tuna embedded in a reddish transparent sauce. I easily took whole pieces out of the can into a plate and then with a spoon took some of that “Molho Cru” and poured it on the tuna. The tuna consistency was spectacular. The meat was firm and flaky (FYI: flaky means that the tuna meat layers are easily separated from one another), as you would expect from a high quality product such as this one. The taste matches the expectations: it’s rich and spicy. Knowing that one of the ingredients is chilli pepper, I wasn’t sure how hot it would be. But according to my taste buds, it’s only very mildly hot. Overall, I can only recommend you try it yourself!


Evaluation summary:

  • Package presentation (1 very poor – 5 excellent): 3
  • Easiness to open (1 very hard – 5 very easy): 5
  • Quantity: 4 fillets
  • Flavour: rich, spicy and very mildly hot
  • Texture: firm and flaky

Basic Info:

  • Manufacturer:  Santa Catarina – Indústria Conserveira, S.A.
  • Type of Product: canned tuna (Bonito/Katsuwonus Pelamis)
  • Tasted Product: Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” (mediterranean sauce)
  • Ingredients (as described in the package): tuna, olive oil, onion, garlic, sweet pepper, parsley, paprika, chilli pepper, vinegar and salt.
  • Nutritional Information (per 100g drained, as described in the package): Energy 740Kj/177 Kcal, Proteins 30.9g, Carbohydrates 0g, Fat 13g

Sources used in this post: http://www.atumsantacatarina.com/ http://estatistica.azores.gov.pt/upl/%7B93c000f3-e5fc-4083-9efb-86f5138810e7%7D.pdf http://www.fishbase.de/glossary/Glossary.php?q=pole+%26+line&lang=english

Today’s Special #1 / Santa Catarina – Tuna Fillet in “Molho Cru” (mediterranean sauce)