Conservas de Cambados Small Sardines in Olive Oil
These petite whole sardines (with the heads removed) are just under two inches long, but their small stature doesn’t equal a lack of flavor. Elegant, clean and tasting lightly of the sea, these sardines have no trace of the pungent fishiness and unpleasant unctuousness that store bought versions often have. Their meaty texture is the perfect compliment to the silky richness that the olive oil gives the fish, lightly coating each one and helping to carry their flavor. And as with other whole tinned fish, there are still spines inside. They are easy to scrape out, but are made soft and brittle enough during the normal processing that they are barely noticeable when eaten.
Conservas de Cambados Mussels from Galicia in Escabeche (Pickled Sauce)
Plump. Meaty. Bright. These cooked whole mussels are the perfect balance between firm enough to hold their shape and tender enough to feel buttery on the palate—not chewy like other inferior brands. Their naturally orange color is intensified from the bold and zingy escabeche sauce, which seems to include a good amount of not-too-smokey Spanish paprika. The flavor of the mussels themselves is lightly briny, with a delicate ocean character, which is rounded out by the marinade’s aromatic kick. Bay leaves add a nice herbal flavor, but what truly sets these mussels apart is the addition of wine. We tried another brand that didn’t have both wine and vinegar in its marinade, just vinegar, and it had no where near the complexity of these. The wine coaxes out the paprika flavors nicely, adding a dash of fruity sweetness along the way.