In the anchovy world there are various qualities that mark abysmal price differences. Like ham, wine, chocolate or cheese, some really good artisanal anchovies cannot cost a euro and a half. We can check it at any supermarket, including Mercadonawhere we find several references of canned anchovies with different prices.
The masks, the 74 g can, is currently priced at 73.00 euros per kilo, and they seek to differentiate themselves by presentation -the packaging is more apparent and elegant- and also by name. Although the can itself only reads “anchovy fillets”, in the store on-line specifies “anchovy fillets in Hacendado olive oil of the Cantabrian“. Legally it is easy to check.
We rotate the container and we can read all the labeling details required by law: ingredients, allergens, nutritional information, etc. What interests us is provenance of the product, and we see that, indeed, the fish has been “caught in the Bay of Biscay”. But just below it is specified that it is a “product made in Morocco“. How is it possible?
round trip anchovies
The explanation is provided by the company itself in the section on Frequent questionsbecause it must be a common doubt among your clients, or it may be that way they will anticipate possible protests.
It’s simple: the supplier of Mercadona anchovies, Francisco Gil Comes, of the Gil Comes Group, with headquarters in Vinarós (Castellón), has facilities spread over Spain, Morocco and Peru. Operations with a destination on the peninsula are mainly focused on Moroccowhere many of the lower-end anchovies also come from, like the others that Mercadona itself has.
“Cantabrian” anchovies are fish caught in the waters of this sea, but they are not processed there. It is a common practice in the sector and other gastro-food, which allows lower costs when moving the raw material for its final processing or transformation in other facilities, generally in other countries.
In this way, yes, these Hacendado anchovies come from the Cantabrian Sea, and they can indicate this in the store or on the can itself, but they could never qualify to the seal of controlled quality “Anchoas de Cantabria”. For this, they would have to be caught in the spring campaign, rubbed by hand very fresh, and packaged in the region itself.
Anchovy Fillets in Olive Oil – Ana María – Santoña – Cantabria
Photo | zkruger
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