In Jane Griegson’s Fish Book, she notes that Sardines were the first fish to be canned, in the 1820’s. The Ramirez cannery was the first to be established in Portugal and its sub-brand Cocagne created in 1906. Now in its fifth generation in the same family, they still pride themselves on the careful preparation of this seasonal catch; working in accordance with old Portuguese traditions, with a clear commitment to sustainable fishing.
Griegson recommends that canned sardines should always be eaten cold, served with bread and butter and a wedge of lemon. I like the idea of her fish paste, simply created by thoroughly mashing the fish with an equivalent weight of softened unsalted butter and seasoned with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Served on toasted bread, this makes for a fantastic canape (and even better, served with a tomato salad… when the toms are finally back in season!)
We would be missing a trick if we didn’t present this delicious new product alongside a wine bearing the same name!
Le Carillon de Vendome 'Cocagne' is a generous Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Bone dry but mouth filling with ripe apple, citrus flavours and a refreshing minerality from the chalky Silex soil.The vineyard name ‘Cocagne’, translates from French, as ‘land of plenty’ or‘an imaginary country of idleness and luxury’ a place where food is abundant. Interestingly, in Brittany, the phrase ‘mât de cocagne’ is a colloquialism meaning ‘Greasy Pole!’ I don’t know what you were thinking, but it is apparently a traditional festival game where a large pole is made slippery and people climb up it! Perhaps we could give it a go with the Maypole?!