(Not) Cooking Off the Cuff: The Greatest Reward From Lisbon Is available in a Can

We have been away for a few weeks, so there’s been no residence cooking to report on. However this is a food-related journey tip for anybody planning a go to to Lisbon.

Meals-related souvenirs and presents will be troublesome to pick. They’re too large or too heavy to journey with (kitchenware). They’re unlawful (ham, salami, cheese, and so on.). They’re errors within the making (craft objects that look nice in situ however are unutterably cheesy as soon as they arrive residence). Chocolate melts; different confections get sticky or stale.

However canned fish is none of these issues. Chances are you’ll not consider it when it comes to gift-giving – to others or to your self – however in lots of locations it may be simply the ticket. It is small, not perishable or breakable, permissible to import – and extra diverse and scrumptious than something you are more likely to discover within the US or most different international locations. In France, you purchase plump Breton sardines; in Italy or Spain, superb tuna and anchovies. The precise ones (learn the label) are historically ready: hand-packed recent (not frozen) fish canned in good olive oil – or in no less than one case, butter. They’re value shopping for for your self, and so they’re value shopping for as cheap however treasured little presents.

Jackie and I have been in Lisbon final week and, together with Jackie’s sister, stumbled into what’s now my favourite place for canned-fish purchasing: the Loja das Conservas at 130 Rua do Arsenal, not removed from the nice riverside Praça do Comercio (there’s one other department at 62 Praça das Flores). The store is affiliated with a consortium of tradition-minded canners and is notably fashionable in its appears, with cabinets dedicated to the wares of greater than a dozen canneries, a mural on the again wall displaying staff doing their jobs, and a repurposed snack merchandising machine stocked not with tortilla chips and M&Ms however with cans of sardines. There’s additionally a person-sized canning machine that, if requested, they’ll reveal. The salespeople know the historical past of every can – and so they communicate good English (and French and Spanish and who is aware of what else).

What to purchase? It is simple to be seduced by stunning can designs, and, whether or not old style or fashionable, nice graphics are pretty much as good a motive as any to pick one model over one other in a reliable store like this. However you might want to spend a bit of time studying what’s within the cans too: There have been loads of sardines, tuna, mackerel and shellfish, in fact, but in addition things like roasted cod (bacalhau) and, of the best curiosity to me, eels (enguias). I would by no means heard of both ending up in a can.

The a number of styles of eel all got here from the identical firm, Comur, which was based in 1942 in an eel-rich a part of the nation and which started with a single product: eels in molho de escabeche (onions, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and different components); the corporate stays the nation’s solely eel cannery.

We purchased some for ourselves and a few for presents, which have been gratefully obtained: our buddies hadn’t heard of canned eel both. The store has good packing containers for presentation, however additionally they have fairly paper luggage printed with a picture of the cannery mural. The benefit of those is that they pack flat, and the person cans will be distributed round your suitcase – far more handy than looking for room for a carton among the many shirts and socks.

Canned fish isn’t solely a stunning and scrumptious present; it is also one of many extra “genuine” presents you possibly can deliver again from trip. And it’ll evoke that trip for years to return – served with grilled bread, for instance. I can hardly await tomato season to reach!

The Greatest Reward from Lisbon Is available in a Can

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