Oct 14, 2023

Starting Your Tinned Fish Journey? Three *Must Try* Brands

You’ve been seeing them pop up everywhere recently. TikTok is full of reviews. Maybe your favorite bar is dishing them out as bar snacks. Perhaps you have a friend that is geeking out on the new flavor they just picked up. I’m talking tinned fish, aka conservas. We even wrote an article recently on hosting an entire dinner with conservas at the center of every course. Sitting on the shelf with beautifully designed packaging, the tins open like a gift from the sea.

If you are a tinned fish newbie (or have an understandably lingering bad taste in your mouth from bad sardines), you might not know where to start. Here are three recommendations from the team at Caputo’s, with some special insight thrown in by tinned fish expert Vasco Motta from Jose Gourmet. You can’t go wrong with these sustainable and flavorful selections.

Jose Gourmet & ABC+ | Portugal

With whimsical packaging and unique flavors, Jose Gourmet sends buyers to the port every morning to buy their catch fresh. They only purchase the highest quality fish and the peak of the season. Vasco Motta from Jose Gourmet explains that they try not to waste anything.

“We use the whole fish, which is very important. The heads and the guts go to a pet food producer. Some of the other parts go to our aquaculture partner, who produces trout. The trout are fed, and then those fish come to our cannery.”

Their sister brand ABC+ is the flavor development branch of the business. “We develop new recipes daily and launch a new product in one week,” says Vasco. “And after that, if we love that recipe and it does well, we can pass them to Jose Gourmet, which takes time. In the meantime, the product is already in the market as ABC+.”

Fangst | Denmark

Meaning ‘catch’ in Danish and Norwegian, Fangst is “rooted in Scandinavia and dedicated to the evolvement of Nordic food culture.” With an emphasis on sustainability and good aquaculture stewardship, their fish comes from the fjords and are MSC or ASC certified.

You’ll find tinned fish cans with Brisling, aka the “Nordic sardine,” lightly smoked and packed with cold-pressed oil or oil and herbs like heather and chamomile. Don’t miss the mussels, cockles, or salmon.

Wildfish Cannery | USA – Alaska

Located on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska (pop. 796), Wildfish Cannery is a third-generation, family-owned business. They “Proudly use only wild-caught, sustainable Alaska seafood harvested by the fishermen and divers from responsibly-managed, community-based fisheries.”

They hand slice, brine, smoke, and then hand-pack each tin. And that smoke? They do it with real wood smoke. Of course, they focus on canned, smoked salmon. But you’ll also find smoked rockfish, herring, and octopus. Their tiny operation just barely expanded to sell in retail.

You can find all three of these tinned fish brands at the three Captuo’s locations, online, or at many specialty purveyors.

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Jose Gourmet & ABC+ | Portugal Fangst | Denmark Wildfish Cannery | USA – Alaska

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