In June, Portuguese cities are transformed. Pots of basil displaying popular verses lend a special aroma and colour to the streets adorned with wreaths. Neighbours greet each other with sincere hugs and kisses, share the street and invite one another to the table because during the popular saints’ feast days and in a Portuguese house there is always room for one more.
The smoke and smell of roasted sardines guide us through parties and folk gatherings, streets and narrow alleys, from north to south, during afternoons that extend well into the night, where time has no place and where popular music sits at the table with the sardine at the head, dictating the rules of the banquet. It is the purest Portuguese party sung during dance sessions by the sardine in a concentrate of animation and flavour that connects us to the sea and our roots and that makes us unique in the whole world. It’s Portugal!
Noble and popular, sardines must traditionally be eaten on top of a generous slice of corn bread so that not a single drop of that authentic, moreish taste is lost, soaked into the bread. And this bread that the Portuguese love and that loves the Portuguese, with the crispness of the crust and the softness of the crumb, is enlivened by the taste of the merry-go-round of successive sardines that pass over it, creating an experience that is as intense and delicious in the end as it is viscerally Portuguese! An actual plate is only needed by the inexperienced, whose lack of skill, training or intellectual resistance prevents them from savouring and exploring the sardine as it asks and deserves.
Beyond the summer, the experience continues, equally intense and delicious, with Comur preserves throughout the year. In homage to the Portuguese feast of the popular saints and its Queen, of course, Comur offers Her Majesty’s pack of 4 recipes: sardines roasted with peppers (so Portuguese!); sardines smoked with chilli (for those who enjoy a subtle, smoky flavour intensified by a touch of piri-piri); lime-pickled sardines (the lemon’s acidity in a balance sublimated by the sardine’s healthy fat); and sardines in tomato sauce (the sauce from the memories of grandma’s house). And in any of these four options, at any time, one this is for sure: a huge reward, a physical and spiritual consolation. Could there be a more perfect combination?
On St. Anthony adorned
There are carnations and basil
Sardines of enchanted smells
For the poor and the rich.
The thirteenth we have Saint Anthony
On the twenty-fourth Saint John
On the twenty-ninth Saint Peter
And we welcome them with great emotion.
There’s a party in Portugal
It’s the popular saints
From sardines to basil
The smells are everywhere.