Sardines are good. Let's start with that. My co-workers may think I'm eating some odd variant of cat food but they are missing some good stuff. Handy to eat at any time. Low in the food chain so blessedly free of environmental toxins. Full of heart-healthy omega-3's. Inexpensive and infinitely renewable.
Some time ago I became food-sick of the cafeteria offerings and decided to start eating sardines for lunch. Not every day, but a few times a week depending on my mood. Shopping the local grocery stores scored six different brands which I will review for your pleasure, complete with pictures of the packaging as well as the stars of the show, the sardines themselves.
So let's meet our little fishies, listed in order from best to (the dreadful) worst.
Goya Sardines in Olive Oil (Spain)
King Oscar Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil -Two Layer (Poland)
Season Sardines in Pure Olive Oil (skinless and boneless) (Morocco)
Traders Joe's Skinless and Boneless Sardines in Olive Oil (Morocco)
Roland Sardines (packed in water) (Morocco)
Brunswick Sardines in Olive Oil (Canada)
There are a few other locally available brands which I may add later. I recently came across some Pastene sardines which like their compadres canned in Morocco are also skinless and boneless. There is also the Beach Cliff brand, which is canned in the USA but may be very similar to Brunswick (better grab some now, looks like they are closing up shop). Lastly, there is the Royal Crown brand, which is canned in Scotland. I have eaten these before but can't remember the details.
Thus far the best tasting sardines have been packed in olive oil. Water packed is common and not as good but OK. Avoid anything else. If you need mustard on your sardines add it yourself. Sardines packed in mustard are just plain yecch.
After I began this project I came across a reviewer on Chowhound who is up to 49 different cans now. But the top sardine dog in the webbed world is definitely Society for the Appreciation of the Lowly Tinned Sardine. Yes, there is a world full of sardines out there, but we are exposed to little of this variety. Maybe some day. But for now, this is what we got to go with in the mile radius of my workplace.
I will break out the groups into separate posts over the next few days. Until then, enjoy!