Rodel Sardines

Rodel sardines-8

I know. It’s hard to get people excited about tinned sardines. I’ve eaten them casually for most of my life and never gave them all that much thought. But with sustainability issues and delicious spreads that you can make with the flavorful fish – and the fact that they make an almost instant lunch – I’ve found myself making sure that I always have a stock of them in my pantry.

Rödel sardines

In France, there are several very good brands of sardines that are available, from the Connétable brand (found in supermarkets), to fancier brands – and tins – like Conserverie la belle-iloise, who recently opened a shop in Paris. But the best — le top du top of French sardines, are from Rödel & Fils Frères, who claims to be the first sardine conserverie in France.

Rödel sardines

I’d heard about them through the grapevine (or whatever the seafood equivalent of that is), and didn’t give them much more than a passing thought. Partially because I couldn’t find them at my local grocer. (They are only sold in limited shops.) But last summer, when we were in the Loire, we had lunch at a wine bar and in addition to wooden boards of charcuterie and cheese, they brought us out a tin of Rödel sardines.

When I tasted the first one, I forgot about all the other sardines I’d had in my life. We polished the tin of preserved fish off with good bread and butter, and some wine. But afterward, I couldn’t get enough, and vowed to go on a sardine quest when I got back to Paris.

Rödel sardines

There is a reluctance on the part of some people to eat tinned foods. However Harold McGee explains how canning foods often make them better. And if you’ve ever been to Spain and tasted the array of everything from canned fish to tinned vegetables that they preserve, it’s hard to argue with the idea of being patient enough to wait a few years before opening a can, and diving in.

Rödel sardines

The top of the tin of these Rödel sardines also advises that. These glistening beauties were caught in 2013, hand-cleaned, then dried and oiled for a few hours before being packed with olive oil. Although they note on the lid that they are trés bonne right now, the sardines will become softer and more confit (preserved) as they sit in the oil. And they advise you can wait up to ten years before eating them. (I didn’t check the expiration date but couldn’t wait that long. Obviously.)

Although my trip from last summer is now a distant memory, I was at La Grande Épicerie recently, and suddenly remembered that they were one of the few places in Paris that carries Rödel sardines. So sleuthed out the aisle where they were tucked away. (Hint: It’s adjacent to the fresh seafood stand.) They’re not cheap – they run €5-6 per tin, and are available whole, or if you’re more chic than I am, sans peau et sans arêtes, without skin or bones.

I picked up a few tins of the sardines simply packed in olive oil. But you can get Rödel sardines preserved in peanut oil, flavored with green peppercorns or lemon, with Chica-Pica (with peppers), and for those who want to have a more upscale sardine experience, they pack sardines with morsels of truffles.

Rödel sardines

I tend to resist adding anything to these sardines, save for a scattering of flat leaf parsley or perhaps some chives. A squeeze of lemon juice, I suppose, could be used, but I go for as plain as possible.

A fine lunch can be made with just a good loaf of dark or grainy bread, a generous swipe of salted butter, and perhaps a bottle of Chablis or a bracingly dry white wine. Although hard cider would be welcome if you have access to it, cold beer is good, too.

Rödel sardines

When I was doing my little holiday gift guide for this year, I tried like heck to find a mail order source for Rödel sardines, but couldn’t. (But I did stumble on a lot of bulletin boards discussing the merits of French sardines, and many were on a similar quest to find them.) My advice is to find what’s good where you are, bypassing the ordinary basic sardines on the supermarket shelf, and giving a premium brand a try. That’s what I did. And now I’m not going back. Except to the store, to get more.

Rödel sardines

Related Links and Notes

So many sardines in the sea, which ones should you choose? (LA Times)

– Who knew there were such things as sardine forks?

– If you want to make sardine rillettes, you can find recipes on Simply Recipes and in My Paris Kitchen.

– It’s best to check out specialty shops and grocers where you live to find good sardines, although there are vendors online including Amazon. To find them, check out How to Find Foods Mentioned on the Site.

– In Paris, places to find Rödel and other good sardines are Folks and Sparrows (Portuguese sardines), Breizh Café Épicerie, the Conserverie of la belle-iloise (7, rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie, 6th), Comme à Lisbonne (Portuguese sardines), G. Detou, Da Rosa (José Peña sardines – warning: site opens with music), La Grande Épicerie (which carries Rödel sardines), and Lafayette Gourmet.

– In France, Rödel sardines are available online at Les Bons Produits du Monde. If visiting, you can stop in most supermarkets and stock up on tins of good brands, including Connétable.


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91 comments

  • February 16, 2015 6:00pm

    Yum! I love sardines – simplest is best with just a squeeze of lemon!

  • February 16, 2015 6:16pm

    This reminds me of this article about a tinned good restaurant in London – i’d go there for the packaging alone! http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/17/tincan-restaurant-serving-only-tinned-fish

  • Deborah
    February 16, 2015 6:22pm

    I must share my very favorite way to eat sardines, courtesy of David Rosengarten. Spread unsalted butter one cut side of small baguette and Dijon mustard on the other side. Top with sardines, drained, very thinly sliced red onion, and a very generous amount of whole flat-leaf parsley leaves. Absolute heaven!

  • Philip
    February 16, 2015 6:29pm

    Your link to a sardine fork reminded me of the grand majolica sardine boxes produced in Victorian England by Minton, George Jones & Sons, and other pottery works. Worth googling.

  • Andie
    February 16, 2015 6:35pm

    Early in my parents’ marriage, which began in 1947, they’d save for a Friday night splurge on sardines and beer. I’ve enjoyed them fresh and grilled from time to time, but your blog has convinced me to try them out of the tin. Let’s see if I can find Connetable…

  • Abigail
    February 16, 2015 6:40pm

    Great post. My father loves sardines. I will be staying near the Grande Epicerie in March so will pick up some for his 95th birthday!

  • February 16, 2015 6:43pm

    Dear Sir,
    Your appreciation of both high cuisine as well as simple, down to earth food is truly impressive in today’s culinary world of mostly hype and show.
    Congratulations to a great website and outlook in life.
    Best regards,
    Hans

  • February 16, 2015 6:46pm

    Thanks for the encouragement/reminder to try some more sardine brands. I’ve tried cheap sardines a few times. They were all gross, but I’m sure I would love some good ones.

  • Colin
    February 16, 2015 6:52pm

    Reminds me of the best sardines I have ever eaten. On a boat in a secluded beach in the Algarve where the crew barbecued freshly gutted sardines with simple bread and salad. The simple things in life are mainly the best.

    • February 16, 2015 8:07pm
      David Lebovitz

      Fresh sardines are great, wonderful when simply grilled. They’re sustainable, and good for you. And pretty cheap, depending on where you live.

  • Samantha M.
    February 16, 2015 6:54pm

    Thanks for a happy trip down memory lane. My father used to eat Sardines on hot buttered toast regularly, much to my horror as a child. He always joked the older the tins the better as they were so much easier to smush, I always thought he was joking to gross me out, I didn’t know it was a thing.

  • February 16, 2015 7:11pm

    Thank you for this. I can add this to my list of canapés!

  • February 16, 2015 7:21pm

    We’ll be visiting Paris very soon and I’ll be looking for these sardines. I’m also taking note of all your other must-eats, must-eat-ats, must-shop-ats, must-dos! Thank you for sharing your breadth of experience in the City of Lights!

  • Judith Kozloff
    February 16, 2015 7:25pm

    For those people on the wrong side of the Atlantic let me recommend Cole’s sardines.
    In olive oil and other flavors, a very superior sardine, with, unfortunately a rather superior price. But cheaper than air fare.

  • February 16, 2015 7:27pm

    Well, I guess that’s what you call “creating a need”, lol. Do you know how French sardines compare to Italian?

  • February 16, 2015 7:40pm

    when i was a kid growing up we often used to have sardines on triscuits or waverley wafers (i think?) in front of the fireplace on sundays, i was so surprised when i heard that gabrielle hamilton serves them that way at prune. maybe this was one of those things that started in america as a recipe or ad in “good housekeeping” or some other women’s magazine.

    i always bring tinned choucroute or fish soup back from france with me but i will definitely be adding these sardines to the must-have list!

  • February 16, 2015 7:52pm

    David, lovely post as usual! I enjoy Sardines as well; and you are right, simplest is best. I appreciated the related links and notes, very helpful. Thank you.

  • February 16, 2015 7:55pm

    I’m not a HUGE fan of sardines, but seeing them on that nice rustic sourdough has me thinking twice!

    The main use I have for them is processing them up, or buying paste, to include in my ragu bolognese or even just a simple marinara with some red pepper flakes. They add a nice depth to a simple sauce.

    • February 16, 2015 8:06pm
      David Lebovitz

      Like anchovies, sardines get a bad rap because their are a lot of tins of them out there, and not all are great representations of how truly good they are. These are, decidedly, some of the best you can get. But for those who want to give them a chance, best to search out good ones where you live and give them another try ~

  • Nikki
    February 16, 2015 7:57pm

    Alright now…I can stop eating my tinned sardines in the pantry and proudly sit at the table…while fighting off my cat.
    I have been a secret sardine lover for many years.
    I have never thought of trying to keep them for years but I will use this as an excuse to buy 5, 6, 7, 10 tins to try to keep for a while.
    This while perfecting a recipe for a great grainy bread.
    Thank you for allowing fellow sardine lovers to proudly enjoy this tasty treat.

  • naomi
    February 16, 2015 8:00pm

    Now you got me. It’s hard to find decent canned sardines here, so I wait for a Ukrainian friend to visit Phillie and bring them back. She says the Russian market there is great; those sardines prove it. Unfortunately, now I want some and I can’t get a one.

    • Judith Kozloff
      February 16, 2015 8:14pm

      where is the Russian market in Philly? do you know the brand?
      thanks

  • February 16, 2015 8:08pm

    WE get excited about canned sardines. on salad. in pasta. on toast. WIll look for these. and read the article in the Times. Have been buying Cento.

  • Monique
    February 16, 2015 8:12pm

    The Trader Joe’s Lightly Smoked Sardines in Olive Oil from Portugal are absolutely delicious and the best sardines that I have tried in the US. They are meaty, full of flavor and not too salty.

  • Nancy
    February 16, 2015 8:44pm

    So, you are saying that the King Oscar sardines in extra virgin olive oil are terrible? I did not know that, and I eat them all the time. My grandchildren have all loved them.

    • February 16, 2015 8:52pm
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t know that brand but like anything, it’s best to use (and shop) with your own taste in mind. When people ask me “What’s your favorite chocolate?” I would get in trouble because I wouldn’t tell them, because what I like may not be good-tasting to others. These sardines are pretty special and was really happy I gave them a try. But there are lots of choices out there and I didn’t call any “terrible.”

    • Anna
      February 17, 2015 2:53am

      I haven’t been so lucky as to try the French brands mentioned, but I’ve worked my way through most of the widely-available sardines in the US, and I think King Oscar are some of the best. Another favorite is Bar Harbor brand, produced in Canada for a Maine company. Delicious with capers, thinly sliced onion and some buttered (or cream-cheesed) rye crackers.

      • February 17, 2015 2:53pm
        David Lebovitz

        I haven’t had the King Oscar brand in ages (we used to eat those when I was younger, I remember the tin!) – so glad to hear they are still quite good.

  • February 16, 2015 8:46pm

    Love sardines! I discovered them in Paris believe it or not. Le Rostand, a fairly nice restaurant near Luxembourg Gardens, has then on their carte. They are served still in the can! Seeing that and remembering how much I liked them years ago I began sampling sardines in Paris. Connetable was my favorite. I like the idea of having the name of the fishing boat that caught them printed on the can.

  • February 16, 2015 9:03pm

    I am from Madeira Island……….I want to point out…Portuguese sardines are the best in the world…….Rodel Sardines can be had in London……its ..o.k. but its not worth the price……but I love your food…..Querino

    • February 16, 2015 9:17pm

      Hi Querino,
      I used to live in Funchal.
      The best sardines I ever had (at least twice a week) were at the restaurant inside a cave, just outside of Funchal,l where all the resorts are. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but the memories of the sardine meals there will live forever in my mind :-)

  • Za
    February 16, 2015 9:45pm

    Love sardines and love this post, thank you. Thought I would add a tip in case you ever journey to south-east Asia – sardines are big there too – thanks actually to a Frenchman named Alfred Clouet. This enterprising Breton started a sardine cannery after arriving in Singapore in 1892 – I guess canned food was considered a luxury then, and to better market the concept – he named the brand after what was apparently a French symbol of excellence, the rooster – in the local Malay language – thus giving birth to Ayam Brand sardines. Apparently he went on to win a gold medal for a novel product at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition (where apparently the Grand Palais and cotton candy also made their debut). Growing up in Malaysia, these sardines were a staple of my diet – I was blissfully unaware of the pleasures of Rodel. You see in contrast to Rodel, Ayam sardines were highly adulterated with flavors that were likely influenced by its South-East Asian base – the ones I loved had a spiced tomato marinade and they were equally addictive stand-alone, or pan-fried with thinly sliced shallots and red chilli peppers -served over a bowl of steamed white rice. I would wager that if you have any followers from Malaysia or Singapore, they’d have similar memories. When I first moved to Paris and found Rodel’s as an entree in a restaurant, I had to overcome my sticker-shock, but my love for sardines and curiosity prevailed. I confess, after a lifetime of a palate shaped by Ayam sardines, I first found Rodel’s a pale shadow. But now, happily, as my palate has been retrained to taste and appreciate diverse and subtle flavors, I do get them. Though tonight I think I am still going to go for my last can of Ayam sardines that I have been hoarding since my last trip to Malaysia!

  • Lizzy
    February 16, 2015 9:52pm

    Do you use tinned sardines to make your sardine pate or do you always use fresh for the pate? I had a conversation once with Marcella Hazan and she was upset that an American chef was using fresh tuna to make a dish that she thought should only be made with canned Italian tuna. I was surprised to hear that since I thought fresh was always better, but apparently canned Italian tuna is glorious according to Marcella.

  • February 16, 2015 10:00pm
    David Lebovitz

    Querino: Yes, Portuguese sardines are wonderful. I linked to two places in Paris where they are available.

    Lizzy: My recipe in My Paris Kitchen uses tinned sardines. They are easier to get for most people, and work very well in sardine pâté or rillettes.

    Jeff: A number of wine bars and casual restaurants in Paris serve the sardines in their tins. Many of them are so nice-looking, why take ’em out? ; )

  • Mary
    February 16, 2015 10:01pm

    My husband gets Vital Choice, a mail order brand from Portugal that are really excellent. About
    4 bucks a can. When we bought vintage sardines in Paris, we were told to turn them upside down every 6 months so they would age properly. They are from 2013 and we’ll wait a couple more years before we dig in.

  • Danita
    February 16, 2015 11:21pm

    I love tinned sardines but don’t eat them as often as I should. At work I usually eat in my office so I try not to eat anything that might have an offensive smell. I also buy Trader Joes sardines and like them. I recently bought some with harissa which I have not tried yet. I like the idea of fresh parsley on top, especially since my garden is bursting with it right now.

  • Denise
    February 17, 2015 12:36am

    My german shepherd loves sardines; however, he’d pass on the Chablis accompaniment.

  • Susan Cox Cameron
    February 17, 2015 12:44am

    So you’re saying people who don’t eat canned sardines are terrible people? I did not know that. Many of my family members are non-canned-sardine eaters and I love them!

  • February 17, 2015 12:44am

    I definitely didn’t know there were such things as sardine forks, but I definitely want one now!

    • February 17, 2015 2:54pm
      David Lebovitz

      I kind of want one, too. Will keep my eye out at the flea markets!

  • February 17, 2015 3:13am

    Only you could convince me to give canned sardines a try! I bet I end up loving them!

  • Chris Morrison
    February 17, 2015 3:32am

    Hi David,

    So my question is…did you really drink a 1988 Chablis with sardines, or was that a picture from your archives?

    Either way…I am envious!

    • February 17, 2015 2:52pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, that was a leftover bottle of wine from the previous evening. A friend who came for dinner comes from a prominent wine-making family & brought the wines (!)

  • February 17, 2015 3:58am

    I resist opening the can in my cupboard, but whenever I do, I am happy. I like the smoked ones best.
    When I was growing up, my mother mashed them with a type of prepared salad dressing that was kind of like thick thousand island, with lots of pickles. She kept it in the fridge in a jar. I never liked it because of all the mashed guts.

  • mp
    February 17, 2015 4:22am

    I am reading this post after coming home and having a small tin of sardines for supper (I shared grudgingly with my cat, my better half does not share our enthusiasm). On buttered grain bread. With pepper, lemon, and parsley. I love tinned fish and troll unfamiliar food shops for new discoveries. Anything in olive oil is a contender. Portuguese sardines have been my gold standard for a while. Spanish are ok too. Now I’ll be on the lookout for French sardines. I recently started branching out into tinned mackerel and was delighted to find that my crappy local supermarket carries a selection Petit Navire mackerel filets. Delish! The vin blanc et aromates variety plus a couple of boiled potatoes (and a small salad) makes a fantastic supper. Thanks for making me feel ok about my “habit”.

  • February 17, 2015 5:05am

    This is inspiring me to try this, I never cook with sardines!
    Kari

  • February 17, 2015 6:35am

    Thanks for posting this! I am a lifelong affectionado of sardines, thanks to my dad!
    Very few people I know like sardines!

    Now for me to find superior quality tinned sardines!

  • kelli
    February 17, 2015 7:55am

    i have just purchased my first tin of sardines, before reading this post.
    it is the Matiz brand from spain
    tasty
    but how long do they hold once the can has been opened.?
    i find i cannot eat all of them at once

  • Linn
    February 17, 2015 10:15am

    Well, now I’ve got to try tinned sardines and wonder how I could have missed knowing about them all these years? I had a college friend whose Dad was a caterer and one of the things he served was tinned smoked oysters on Ritz crackers with a little bit of sour cream — heavenly.

  • Leeja
    February 17, 2015 10:29am

    Sardines are the most widely available and essential fish of Kerala cuisine similar to potatoes for Russian food…
    Pan fried fresh sardines with fresh green peppercorns is the most delicious flavor combination….
    Ironically though despite seafood being available in plenty canning them has never been part of the culture…however dry fish is quite popular…
    Wondering if I can try canning fish at home…

    • Colin
      February 17, 2015 1:07pm

      To Leeja,
      Not just in Kerela but also in Goa where I had them freshly caught and grilled on a very secluded beach for breakfast with traditional herbs and spices – you have reminded me of this time 4 years ago almost to the day.

  • Ann
    February 17, 2015 10:30am

    In my neck of the woods I’d stock up on canned fish for hurricane season, so at the end of the season I had a surplus of canned goods. I finally opened them up and realized they’re good for everyday not when you’re frantically buying what’s left in the stores after everyone bought the choice cans and toilet paper. sardines in olive oil are terrific, but even the standard ones are fine. I have also discovered Bar Harbor smoked kippers which are great. Also, smoked oysters and mussels which are wonderful toppings for pizza. Thanks for writing about them, it seemed like the only time I see people eat them are blue collar types in BW 1940’s movies!

  • Linn
    February 17, 2015 10:45am

    PS I discovered rillettes when I watched the wonderful little video you made when you went to the French market and then home to cook lunch. You used sardines but since I couldn’t find them I used canned tuna since that’s what I had in my pantry — now must try canned sardines…. I also discovered Furikake in that video :)

  • February 17, 2015 11:27am

    I can’t count how many Xs I’ve gone into la belle iloise near Odeon and browsed and bought zero…confusing. So many flavors. I ate sardines at least 1X a week in the states and never got a fracture. I stopped in Paris.
    Thanks. I’m plunging back in today!
    Back to la Belle iloise for some tins.

    • February 17, 2015 2:57pm
      David Lebovitz

      I love their tins, although I haven’t tried all that many of their different flavors. The ones with tapenade were good, although not as convinced about the tuna packed with prunes

  • Barbara
    February 17, 2015 11:39am

    Did you also try the canned grilled sardines? There is no oil inside the can, only sardines and a little bit of tasty juice/bouillon.

    I discovered them on a holiday in France but now they are available here in the Netherlands as well. When I remember well the brand in France was Hyacinte Parmentier, a yellow tin with brown characters.

    I love them with couscous/ratatouille and a dry rose wine!

  • February 17, 2015 12:45pm

    I eat a lot of canned sardines. Mainly for lunch with a salad or in pasta con le sarde, (Sicilian pasta with fennel and sardines), which I love. I buy the tins in Leader Price and they are quite cheap, well, very cheap compared with Rödel. I buy the ones in various oils, with chilli, and with lemon, but never ever the ones in tomato sauce. One day, I thought I’d try a more expensive brand and was very disappointed, so I’ll stick with my usual brand. I make a great paté with tinned kippers in brine, which I buy when I am in the UK. Drain and remove skin, mix with 250gms mascarpone, the zest and juice of a lime and ground black pepper. Recently in Portugal, I bought a very pretty tin of Baltic sprats to make Jansson’s Temptation, the tin is now on display and I will probably never open it.

  • Gerakdube in Spain
    February 17, 2015 1:03pm

    Hi David,
    Great article, YOU KNOW I LIVE IN SOUTHERN SPAIN and love
    your compliments. Rushing out to get a can of sardines! I usually
    do them fresh for tapas. THANKS FOR THE INSPIRATION.

  • Geraldine in Spain
    February 17, 2015 1:05pm

    WOW, FAT FINGERS on the keyboard today :-)
    Oh, with the Sardines I will have some Prosecco. On my way
    to Macro.

  • Peggy
    February 17, 2015 2:34pm

    I’ve heard that the sardines from Brittany are wonderful. Watched a video w/Anthony Bourdain where he was sampling sardines in Brittany. There were packed upright, with olive oil, in a mason jar rather than a tin.

    • Colin
      February 17, 2015 2:41pm

      Hello Peggy,
      I have spent many happy times in South Brittany and can attest to the quality of the packed jars of sardines and all fresh fish products. It is a recognized national community product and relies on its quality, but can be difficult to find even in Brittany.
      Only the Azores has better and fresher fish dishes.

  • Be Davis
    February 17, 2015 6:08pm

    I have several sardine forks, relics of the 19th century. Sardines were served in fancy houses in the tin, the tin can itself being a signal that this was a prosperous household. What with these upscale varieties of sardines now available, perhaps serving them in the tin at the table will once again become fashionable. Or not.

  • February 17, 2015 8:12pm

    Love them on a hearty whole grain toast with avocado and red chili flakes.

    They are definitely an underrated item in the US, most people who find them in my pantry assume they are for my cats…

  • Barbara
    February 17, 2015 11:25pm

    Was introduced to these fine sardines by a friend in Barcelona. Now my tastebuds are spoiled for life. Problem: I live in San Francisco snd need to find an importer. Can you help? MERCI

    Barbara

  • Sophie
    February 17, 2015 11:28pm

    I can also recommend two amazing, artisanal brands of sardines and tinned fish from my hometown, St-Guénolé in the Finistère, where we have a proud tradition of “conserverie” art : “Océane Alimentaire” (although they’re sold in glass jars not tins, they are delicious, and the olive oil tuna is out of this world, especially the “parpelettes”) and Furic / La Compagnie Bretonne du Poisson, which sells delicious tinned sardines to eat as it is as well as tinned sardines meant to be pan-fried.
    If you ever get the chance to visit (well, you won’t stumble upon it, but it’s well worth the drive), both offer conserveries tours and are lovely, hard-working people who are always incredibly knowledgeable about fish. Going to the market in “Saint-Gué'” in the summer is such a treat !

  • steven jenkins
    February 18, 2015 2:04am

    great joy i have for all branded tins of preserved sardines (basque ortiz brand come to us in jars), even cheap sardines such as king oscar. anchovies, too, i adore, of course, though the numerous low-quality brands that proliferate and actually dominate make it hard to persuade folks of the joys of, for instance, my Catalan Escala anchovies. i also import for my Fairway Markets (NY, NJ, CT) the magnificent La Quiberonnais vintage sardines from the great Brittany artisans with their fanciful tins and staggeringly fine 4-to 6-to-10-years aged sardines seined by boats out of Quiberon.

  • Jan Weber
    February 18, 2015 5:50am

    I almost exclusively buy tinned sardines from Portugal – I’ve found that not only are they cheaper in general than brands from Spain and France, they are also almost always whole with the skin and bones left intact. The quality is always top-notch. For some reason, the boneless, skinless sardines (almost invariably from North Africa) are very bland and don’t have the firm but flaky texture I enjoy. For those concerned about bones, they are so soft and thin that you hardly notice them, and I think they look nicer with the skin on anyway. Bela-Olhão seems to be the best widely available brand in the USA, but there are some unexpectedly good private-label brands sourcing from Portugal that can be had for as little as $1.70/can for those in just olive oil.

    I will have to try some tinned sardines from Brittany if I can ever find them, or I might just have to go there.

  • Bill Kavanagh
    February 18, 2015 7:03am

    Ahhhh, your affinity for all things French ! However the Italians have wonderful sardines, too, in tomato sauce to be used with pasta! Delicious.I was brought up eating sardine sandwiches, crusty bread, a smear of grainy mustard, bib lettuce, sardines, a couple of thin slices of red onion and sliced tomato, a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper. A perfect lunch. My first comment here, and I do have to say I really enjoy your blog, and have shared it with friends in France.

  • February 19, 2015 7:31am

    being a landlocked american type, i have a regrettable aversion to fish that looks like fish. this has always haunted me in my acquaintance with sardines. they look so good here though, so homey with the bread and wine. i will have to give them another try.

    *ps possible seafood alternative to ‘the grapevine’…’the coral reef’?

  • EimearO
    February 19, 2015 12:56pm

    I really like this brand:

    http://fullofbeans.ie/store/pan-do-mar-little-sardines-in-organic-olive-oil.html

    You usually find them in health-food-type shops here (Ireland) and they do a whole range of tinned fish… sardine fillets, mackrel fillets etc. etc. My favourite quick meal is the mackrel fillets mashed up with some natural yoghurt, black pepper and parsley to make a super quick super tasty pate. The sardines I usually just eat on toast.

    It’s the only brand of tinned fish I’ve ever found that I actually like. Although if I come across those fancy Rodel ones, I’ll definitely be trying them!

  • Shazra
    February 19, 2015 5:05pm

    Just moved to France and have been having trouble thinking of something quick to rustle up for lunch. This is simple and perfect as we always end up getting baguettes for lunch.

  • February 19, 2015 6:43pm

    Just came across your site from the kitchn — weird today because I just had canned sardines for lunch (on a bit of baguette). I will certainly stop by La Grand Epicerie one of these days to check out Rödel. Cheers!

  • jake
    February 19, 2015 7:13pm

    Nice post! Drooling at the photo’gs. A perfect lunch.

    Tinned sardines on hot buttered toast are an occasional desperation/comfort supper for me. I haven’t tried the premium brands, but whatever the grocery stores stock here in Canada are pretty decent. Most often a make shift meal after rummaging around in the panty, but always more enjoyable than expected.

    I’m glad so many replies are from people who enjoy sardines.

    Cheers,
    Jake

  • kath
    February 19, 2015 10:59pm

    I adore sardines and I wish I were in France to get me a tin of Rodele! Here is a taste test among sardines I found on ChowHound. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/301739

    I go to my local cheese shop and buy the Angelo Parodi Sardine Portoghesi all’olio di olivo and have them for lunch with fresh baked bread as often as possible.

  • February 20, 2015 12:32pm

    Apparently I’ve been doing sardines all wrong.

    I’ve been getting mine from Lidl, mainly because they’re 50 cents, and although I enjoy them thoroughly I’ve been wondering and concerned (am I actually eating dolphin and ocean trash?) why there’s such a huge price discrepancy between these and those found in pretty much every other store.

    Also, they come in sunflower oil which I thought was healthier but then again Lidl isn’t exactly known for being the healthy choice.

    Looking very forward to trying the Rödel sardines. Thanks David!

    • February 20, 2015 1:29pm
      David Lebovitz

      I think of a lot of foods/drinks as trying to compare a $10 bottle of prosecco versus a $40+ bottle of Champagne, or a bag of peanut M&M’s compared to a box of chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat, or a jar of stuffed green olives (for Martinis) versus Lucques olives. They all have their place, and their merits, and different price points. It’s nice to be able to enjoy them all!

  • Richard Allan
    February 20, 2015 11:38pm

    What an incredibly wonderful site with nice people who are civilized! Thank you!

  • Janet
    February 21, 2015 3:26am

    For Judith Kozloff- The post about sardines from Philly caught my eye too. I have yet to check the stores but I’m guessing the Russian market could be Bell’s Market on Bustleton Ave. just above Rhawn, or Net Cost Market. There’s two of them, one about the 11000 block of Bustleton and one off Welsh Rd. just east of Roosevelt Blvd., where a Thriftway Market used to be. There’s also Petrovsky Market, also on Bustleon at Haldemann Ave. in strip mall. Hope this helps!

    • Judith Kozloff
      February 21, 2015 1:03pm

      @ Janet Many thanks
      Despite the Russian surname I am English and my husband is mostly Pa Dutch – but he does like his sardines – and the occasional cheesesteak. I have learned to make a good cheesesteak ( the secret is to freeze the steak and slice in the food processor – that way you can use a better quality meat of your choice) but good sardines, or at least to his taste, are harder to find. Next time I am in Philly I will explore your suggestions. Much appreciate your taking the time to help..

    • Richard Allan
      February 21, 2015 5:40pm

      There is a gigantic ( and I mean gigantic) Russian supermarket in Brooklyn, NY very near the Brighton Beach area —little Russia. Produce outstanding and tons of products whose name are meaningless to me. Most employees speak no English but with hand signals and grunts you can make yourself understood. What would be the best sardine that I could buy on line or in New York City?

      • Judith Kozloff
        February 21, 2015 7:37pm

        @Richard Allen

        thanks Richard. Actually I am embarrassed to admit that Manhattan-centric/parochial as the locals tend to be, I am more likely to go to Philly than Brighton Beach!

        However If somebody comes up with some brands maybe that is a good reason to break out of my cozy cocoon and get myself out there. I am very good at mime in the less touristy food shops of Chinatown so I have no excuses for not trying my Marcel Marceau act out there too.

        So please can we both have some input from somebody who knows about this relatively local source and I will get on the subway,

        • Richard Allan
          February 21, 2015 9:58pm

          Judith–
          I have actually driven out there from the UES, parked, approached a woman for some information and with a wave of the hand she dismissed me. No English spoken. The precooked foods were mostly foreign to me. The bread selection was very large. The candy (yes! candy) selection went on for miles. The prepackaged meats (I bought a large hunk of some sort of ham that I cut and cooked with eggs) was awesome in selection. I bought some caviar–so-so –not great. I filled up the back of my car and filed for semi-bankruptcy.
          The subway? I don’t think so. You will buy too much (especially the produce) and how will you get it home? Get a friend with a car and bribe your way out there.

          • Judith Kozloff
            February 21, 2015 11:52pm

            @Richard
            Thanks. I have no excuse, have a car, and live on the UES too. But I tend to buy my produce at Costco ( by car) but come spring I will make the expedition and try to ignore the candy section. And I will thank you for prodding me into finally doing it.

          • Richard
            February 22, 2015 12:51am

            I think you will like the produce in Brighton beach must better— looks better best tasting watermelon when I was there in spring

          • Judith Kozloff
            February 22, 2015 1:45am

            @ Richard

            Nothing ventured nothing gained although 117th st is much closer.

            Now I just hope that somebody comes up with some brand names to look for, even in Cyrillic.

  • David
    February 22, 2015 1:58pm

    Like your comments about Canned food being something that should be looked for because of it’s flavour and merits and not just because it had a long shelf life. Living in Hong Kong has given me an appreciation of dried food as not just being a dry goods staple but also being included in dished for the benefit it can bring.

  • Cassie
    February 22, 2015 5:36pm

    After reading this a few days ago, I couldn’t believe my luck today when I caught sight of a stack of Rödel tinned sardines in a London branch of TKMaxx, of all places! Can’t wait to try them on toast this evening.

  • Janet
    February 22, 2015 6:52pm

    Judith- Net Cost Market is in NYC also- http://www.netcostmarket.com/locations/
    By the way, the ones I mentioned are in NE Philly. And you’re welcome!

    Cassie- Did you mean TJ Maxx? I wondered if they or Marshalls Home Goods might ever have sardines. You never know what you’ll find in their food section. I’ve often bought tins of pricey toasted walnut oil for cheap- at least, cheap as compared to regular markets.

    • judith
      February 23, 2015 12:27am

      @ Janet

      thanks for the link to netcost ( I must admit I have never heard of it which is rather a blow to my foodie ego).

      TJMaxx is what they call TKMaxx in Europe. I have no idea why but same ownership although the merchandise is less uniform between the stores over there.. ( I live in NYC and London, and that is NOT as glamorous as it sounds.)

  • Catherine Saxton
    February 23, 2015 5:29pm

    I have just returned from a surf trip in Baja. Sardines is a staple of our food when we are camping in remote places. It is also part of my earliest childhood memories… working in the yard on a Saturday with my dad and brothers, about 2pm, Dad would stop, we would all sit around the kitchen table and eat sardines and oysters with a bit of red wine vinegar, with crackers and share Dad’s beer. I share the memory every time I eat sardines. Thanks! Love Your Blog! I love Paris!!!!

  • Uroš
    March 1, 2015 8:16am

    Great, dear David.
    Thanx for the guide to LE GRANDE canned sardines

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