Can(ned) I Call it Gourmet?: Spanish Canned Fish and Seafood

While in some cultures canned food is probably synonymous with camping and food stocking during hurricane alerts, in Spain, it’s an expression of gourmet. Canned fish and canned seafood, or “conservas” (from the Spanish verb conservar”, to preserve), are delicacies enjoyed even in the finest restaurants. They may be served arranged on a plate or still resting in the can. The Spanish have found a way to make the ordinary, extraordinary, and what we might’ve at first considered a low budget alternative to cooking, a must-have item in every table.

Spanish seafood and tapas Espinaler
Aperitif sauce, canned seafood, fish and vegetables spread. Photo by Espinaler

You might have seen aisles full of canned tuna in the supermarket, but have you wondered what else is there aside from the same old tuna flakes or chunks? Truth is, there’s a whole canned fish and seafood world out there to indulge in! Spaniards know this very well. For years they have been privy to all the delicacies the ocean has to offer. In the words of food writer and co-host of The Feed Podcast, Steve Dolinsky, “there are cockles and mussels, sardines and anchovies, and sea urchins. The list goes on and
on. It’s unbelievable”.

The Gourmet Corporation Spanish seafood

In fact, Spaniards care more about quality seafood than almost any other culture. They know some of the best stuff goes in cans, states author Matt Goulding who wrote Grape, Olive, Pig: Deep Travels
Through Spain’s Culture as a homage to the hidden
gems and enduring traditions, as well as the cutting-edge gastronomy, found across the Spanish territory. The Spanish have perfected the art of canning these products in such a way their original flavour and texture is amplified through carefully designed, yet simple, brines, tomato mixtures, oil and even their own liquids, such as squid’s ink.

They know very well the canned product has nothing toenvy the fresh product as fish are caught and shellfish harvested from the Galician Rías, Cantabrian Sea and French Brittany during specific months to ensure their quality and almost immediately processed to retain their original properties. Conservas preser-ve the freshness of the product for a longer time, about 5 years! Canning is essentially a way to capture the catch at its peak—a tinned time capsule of unparalleled flavour and nutrients, and as a plus, the fact that it’s more economical than its fresh counterpart adds to its value

Our catalogue’s canned fish and seafood brand, Espinaler, started as a small tavern in a Catalan fishing village in the year 1896 and has since then built up its reputation and expanded its operations to distribute its products worldwide. It’s famously known for the quality and deliciousness of its canned fish and seafood, vermouth and its distinguished vinegar-based aperitif sauce introduced in 1950, which by the way pairs up divinely with conservas.

Espinaler tapas experience
Photo by Espinaler

In addition to putting great care controlling the entire value chain and making it fully transparent, Espinaler remains firmly committed to its respect towards the environment through the conservation of its resources and marine biodiversity stating that its “duty is to respect and contribute to its preservation in order to enjoy the resources it provides for many more generations”. The fishing gear used to catch the tuna ensures no bycatch and their boxes and cans are 100% recyclable to reduce environmental impact.

Aperitif sauce, canned seafood, fish and chips spread with vermouth.
Photo by Espinaler

Spain, being the world’s second-largest producer of canned tuna fish and tuna-related products, is the undisputed leader in terms of quality. It produces almost 70 per cent of the canned tuna processed in the European Union. While the conservas’ trend is more popular in Europe and Asia at the moment, many restaurants in the US have already added them to their menus. Espinaler also has an alternative for super-markets! With its Pepus brand, it offers a product more accessible in pricing terms without sacrificing quality.

Pepus cockles in brine
Photo by Espinaler

Are you ready to jump on the bandwagon as well and discover all you’ve been missing out on in terms of food experiences? Time to expand your horizons beyond canned tuna! Check out our catalogue for the wide variety of products the sea has to offer!

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