Dec 28, 2009

BELA-Olhão

I just counted Twenty-Five tins in the pantry - plus other assorted tinned fish. Only two of those 25 have I had before. I keep those two on hand for guests. The other 23 are waiting for a call up.

The Wife wanted sardines tonight. She was all Dandy Warhols and I was like Brian Jonestown Massacre. I wanted to wait till another Voice spoke to you of fine tinned fish, but, knowing the Fathers of the Society, that could be a long wait.

I picked up these three specimens locally. Actually, at the Cowgirl Creamery up in Point Reyes Station.
BELA-Olhão 1
They make the cheeses there and have a boutique of fresh vegetables, sandwich deli and other pricey food products. $4/tin. I know, but I once paid $12 for a tin, and bought two of them (tell you later). I saw them for $2.59 suggested price online.
BELA-Olhão 2
BELA-Olhão, pronounced "Bella, Ol- yow", according to the importer, Blue Galleon. (mybela.com is temporarily unavailable). Some quotes from their website:
Blue Galleon navigates the business currents with a focus on quality, excellence, standards, and intention.

Blue Galleon products are better for the environment and fish stocks. We fish species that are plentiful in magnitude and incorporate catch methods that ensure sustainability.

We work with local communities and use “Fair-Trade-Like” principles to guide our interactions with primary fishers.

These sardines offer the advantage of being a classic sardine (species: Sardina Pilchardue Walbaum) located in the waters of Portugal. BELA-Olhão Portuguese sardines are caught by local fishers and packed fresh within hours resulting in a product that is healthier, looks better, has less smell, and taste far better than other brands and varieties.
And
BELA-Olhão products are kosher certified by the Orthodox Union (OU).
These are all over the net, I even found a rumor that Blue Galleon, a Massachusetts company, is no longer operating in the U.S. so maybe buy em if you see em, well, let me pop these and see.
BELA-Olhão 3
Plated up with the Wife's Green Onion Blinis, TJ's herb salad, olives, cornichons, a horseradish creme sauce, and Perro Negro Holiday Sauce. Matched to the always yummy Paco & Lola Albariño.

Cayenne on the left, Lemon in the middle, and Tomato on the right. They all contain 3 Big Fish, skin and bones.

We started with the Lemon. and the key word here is Light. Light oil texture, Light lemon flavor, Light flesh - good tooth, not mushy, nice lemon infused oil. Four Tins. Solid.
Tin
Tin
Tin
Tin
Next we were in to the Cayenne. more great, light oil texture, firm and flakey meat with a mild, mild heat. A notch above average. I wonder if they might heat up with aging. Three and a half tins, and I hate giving halves, but these were better than average, and yet, not quite Above Average.
Tin
Tin
Tin
Half Tin
And the Tomato. Sauce is a little bland and thin/oily. The smoked flavor of the fish comes through nicely and the meat is firm, but it seems Tomato is all about the sauce, a hint of oregano or spice might be required. Three out of Five tins.
Tin
Tin
Tin
All in all, the caliber of work here shows through. Quality is Job One.

The blinis are always good, the cornichons broke up the different bites nicely and the Albariño is Right On.
BELA-Olhão 4
Happy New Year

1 comment:

Amy said...

Hi Johnny,
There's my brand! Glad to be a member of the Society. I just KNEW there had to be one somewhere!

SardineSociety@gmail|dot|com

Contact or Contribute, if you want. Do a good job and we might put it on here, but no promises, okay?

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