Feb 21, 2010

Wild Planet Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Oil with Lemon

"Unlike any sardine you’ve had before, premium Wild Planet Sardines are sustainably caught along the central California coastline which made Monterey’s Cannery Row famous."
I was at the West Bowl on a Quest for a tube of polenta. We were foraging and I'd already been by the Sardine Shelf to see if there were any new tins. I'm not quite familiar with this store. I have the East Bowl as the closest grocer to my house. But Truth be told, the West Bowl has a better selection of beer and tins.

And There They Were.
WP 1
In a refrigerater filled with interesting fish and pickled items. Why they were there I do not know, but I was happily surprised. Perhaps they are a chilled luncheon favorite of a co-op member.
WP 2
Typically I'm not in a rush to review anything. I still haven't paid my respects to the CRSC, but it's a rainy day, I've got a Serious Ragu alla Bolognese in a five and a half hour cook down, and the Wife is hungry again.
WP 3
I swear I fed her earlier.
WP 4
I'm just Poppin' Old Style here. Local Tins, toasted Acme, and maybe a dash of Mezzetta's. Trying to keep it simple. Course I had some cheese spread and crispybread leftover so i had to throw that on there.

Oh, Snack.

These are Old World and New World combined. Four fish with skin and bones. A very traditional tin in appearance. The oil is clean in both tins. In the Lemon Tin there are bits of lemon and a distinct lemonyness but it comes across as Lemon Oil not Lemon Flavor. The smoke is there subtly in the lemon oil and a bit more in the extra virgin.
WP 5
WP 6
These are beautiful fish. Tight skin, firm texture. Not as fatty as a colder water fish will be. Not melt in your mouth. And that's OK. These's are a Fine Fish. Smoke, Texture, Oil, Political Boundaries, Pricepoint, Packaging, Tradition, Flavor, Five Tins.
This is a Killer Tin at a Great Price. Go and Find It, Enjoy It, and Use It as a Gateway Tin to Enlighten the Uninspired. I'm still looking for the Marinara.


Dosbears said...

I linked your review at Wild Planet's Facebook page.

BJG. said...

And if you order online they ship free in the continental U.S. Score.

eatmynels said...

love the blog, I had no idea the 'dean had such a following!! thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Michaela said...

No WAY! I just bought the Wild Planet tins - all 3 flavors - and was excited about contributing my discovery. And there you have them! Amazing. I haven't tried the spring water or marinara tins yet but I used the lemon oil tin in a recipe from Lidia for Tuna-Stuffed Roasted Pepper Rolls. I used Wild Planet Tuna and Sardines with capers, mustard, mayo, apple cider vin, parsley and s&p. (She called for anchovies actually, but I wanted to switch it up.) Roast the peppers in the oven (rub with olive oil & salt, 350 for 30 mins) and once they are cool cut into strips and stuff them with the filling. They were really tasty and if you have rolls left over you can just put them on bread with baby greens for a quickie sandwich.

Jonny Hamachi said...

Mi-Chae-Laaaa, You Got Me on My Knees.

Welcome to the Society.

Val V. said...

Thanks for the invite. We have become a dying breed.

Nico said...

Wow, I just had my first tin of the sardines in olive oil - you described them perfectly... great bite, not too soft, but still can be "smoothened" into bread or a cracker. I just had them in an open face sandwich with avocado and parsley - GREAT flavor!

Thanks for reviewing these, thanks to you I found them, and I totally dig their free shipping!

My two favorite are now these Wild Planet Sardines and the Angelo Parodi sardines in EVOO (I think from Portugal).

pantagruel55 said...

Wild Planet: Wild Sardines, caught off the coast of California and packed in Vietnam!!!

Jonny Hamachi said...

Yeah, that'll happen.

Still warrants five tins from me, cum grano salis.

Thanks for the insight.

pantagruel55 said...

My concern is that their label is intentionally misleading. I am also curious as to why they decided to 'smoke' the sardines since smoking is traditionally a Northern European thing with sprats and brislings!

Unknown said...

This is probably redundant, but your post says you're still looking for the Marinara. They've got them on their website, free shipping. in case youre having a special craving.

Anonymous said...

I was told that the smoke is added as a way to get around a tariff on imported oil-packed fish (I don't remember all the details), so they can keep the price down. It was suggested that if I didn't like the smoke flavor I could drain the water packed fish and add my own olive oil, but since I don't really like these sardines I won't be doing that.

Sue said...

I’m Sue, the Marketing Manager for Wild Planet and happy to explain the reason for the subtle smoke flavoring in our oil packed Sardines as well as the comment regarding our decision to pack our premium sardines in Vietnam.

Only the two varieties packed in oil have natural smoke concentrate added -- they are not subjected to a smoking process. The addition is just one liquid drop per can, and it is added to avoid a long standing US tariff on sardines packed in oil. Without the smoke flavor, the price of these two items would increase by $0.50/can at retail. Even though our sardines are caught and landed in California by US fishermen, because they are hand packed at our highly respected partner facility in Vietnam, the product is subjected to the overseas tariff. We have chosen to add the all natural smoke flavoring rather than jeopardize the success of the brand and ultimately, the availability of what we think are the best sardines on the market.

If you do not care for the smoke flavor, an option, as mentioned in Anonymous' comment above, would be to select our Wild California Sardines packed in spring water, drain them and then add cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil to the product to suit your taste.

Regarding the comment about our sardines being packed in Vietnam as intentionally misleading, that is absolutely not the case.
There is simply no domestic sardine cannery in the United States capable of processing our volume requirements. If there were, the cost of production would also greatly increase the retail price beyond the reach of families purchasing this product in mainstream grocery stores. We have elected to process our sardines at the aforementioned partner facility in Vietnam which allows us to offer high quality finished products to the market.

We are happy to clarify these points further or answer any other questions or concerns. Please contact us via our website www.wildplanetfoods.com

Thank you!

Old Nevermore said...

Sue, Thank you for the clarification. I think we all have a little bit to learn about the intricacies of the actual Business behind the products we love.

I, for one, am eating Wild Planet sardines at an astounding pace, and am gifting them to the fish-curious as a perfect "gateway" tin.

Thanks for making California sardines a reality for me.

pantagruel55 said...

So with just about every other tin of sardines sold in this country having a "packed in XXXX" on it, the phrase "Packed in Vietnam" was unintentionally left off the Wild Planet box!

Anonymous said...

I just found these at Costco for way less than the online price - six tins for ten bucks, instead of $21 on the Wild Planet website.


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