Sunday, June 22, 2014

Celebrating the Sea: Spanish Seafood

The sea has always been a blessing to the people of Spain. With hundreds of miles of coastline, Spain’s culinary traditions are based on the bounty that comes in on fishermen’s boats. Squid, octopus, tuna and clams all make their appearance in the famous paellas, seafood salads, stuffed peppers and stews that Spain is known for.

We want to highlight three of our vendors who provide us with exceptional quality seafood. Conservas la Gaviota, located in the Basque region, produces extraordinary bonito tuna and anchovies in oil under the Arroyabe brand. Siro & Xavi, just north of Barcelona, uses only the freshest anchovies to cure delicate white Matiz boquerones. And Connorsa from the coast of Galicia produces award winning canned fish, such as Matiz Sardines, Pulpo (Octopus), and Berberechos (Cockles).

As with all of the vendors that Matiz sources from, these companies uphold responsible business practices that support both the health of their employees and the environment. Conservas la Gaviota uses only rods and live bait to catch their delicious bonito tuna that is famously used in Spanish stuffed piquillo peppers. They also employ mostly women in their factories and set wages on a collective model with the lowest wage being double that of Spain’s minimum wage.

Siro & Xavi is a family-run business that started in 1975. They produce amazingly flavorful boquerones that are free of any preservatives. They use simply sunflower oil, wine vinegar and salt. The company is run by the grandsons of the original founder, and produce an impressive 13% of Spain’s boquerones.

Siro & Xavi founder with grandsons

If you haven’t tried Matiz Sardines, Pulpo and Berberechos then you’re in for a treat. Connorsa has been canning flavorful seafood since 1985, using sustainable methods of harvesting and working with the natural cycles of sardines to maintain healthy fish stocks. Canned seafood is a favorite at tapas bars all over Spain and, with little more than a few grains of salt and a toothpick, they are the perfect answer to a glass of minerally white wine!