Salted pelagic fish was well known to the inhabitants of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the ancient Greeks and the Romans, Christopher Columbus, the famous gourmet Carl V and all the citizens and peasants that lived on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
There is no doubt that the fishing of sardines and anchovies mostly centred around Sardinia, Sicily, the south of France, the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, but the best small pelagic fish were always found in the Adriatic Sea, primarily in the Istrian (Rovinj, Pula) and Central Dalmatian (Vis, Hvar, Brač) waters.
However, the quantity of fish wasn’t always the same because it depended on the weather conditions during the year, the period of the year or of the day, as well as numerous known and unknown reasons; therefore, it was crucial to find a way to store the fish caught in the period when it was available for the period when food was lacking. Salting fish proved to be the best way to preserve the catch. The local custom in this area was to salt sardines “the feeder of the isle people, manna from heaven, the foundation of life”. It wasn’t only food for those who caught it or for the sailors at sea; rather, it was a widely traded merchandise.
In 1420 the Dalmatian islands came under the Venetian rule and the Republic became a large and important market for salted fish, already produced with great experience on the island of Vis. According to a document dating from 1873, about 20.000 barrels, i.e. a million kilograms of salted fish, were produced on that island and exported to Greece and Italy at the time.
Today’s markets have a greater preference for salted anchovies. Although some people will liken sardines to bacon and salted anchovies to smoked ham, both fishes are recommended to anyone pursuing a healthy and balanced diet – an issue of great concern to modern men.
This indisputably appreciated delicacy is a classic example of a “gastronomy fossil” which has a perfect blend of simplicity and delicacy of flavour. Since time immemorial, salted fish have been offered on rich man’s and poor man’s table alike. They remain that fine line that ties our modern time to ancient history, with the basic principles of salting having remained largely unchanged.
Nature has also remained unchanged. All the laws of nature that have always affected the size of the catch have remained unchanged to this day. As to storing the caught fish, new methods have been created and new technologies developed. The standards to be applied in processing, storing and distributing food products keep rising. Our newly built, state-of-the art factory allows us to observe those high standards in freezing, in blocks or individually, salting, marinating and storing small pelagic fish.
We have applied the experience accumulated over time to all the products from our line,watching carefully not to disturb the harmony generated by nature’s gifts and human labour. Our hardworking men and women have worked with love, knowledge and passion, to build a path to every connoisseur and lover of the Mediterranean-borne delicacy and to ensure endless pleasure to anyone that had the chance to read these lines.
“Fish are too precious to be caught only once”… and the story goes on…