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Cava? Tinned mackerel in olive oil from Iwate

Cava? Tinned mackerel in olive oil from Iwate

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I wasn't sure what to expect when these arrived from Japan, but the award-winning pop label was enough to make me take the dive, and I'm so happy I did!

Ca va? is a pun-- a play on the french "ca va"-- how are you? And it's also a reference to saba, the Japanese word for mackerel. This "western style" (their words) tinned fish is submerged in olive oil and seasoning, is super tender and rich, and was delicious enjoyed on crusty bread with lemon and parsley alongside some good sake. The leftovers I had with rice and pickles, and I couldn't have been happier.

The tinned fish and natural wine trend definitely has traction in the sake world, where the Japanese have been enjoying dressed-up tinned fish with their sake for a very long time. Cava? Doesn't force you into a Japanese-style meal because it's dressed so simply. Feel free to enjoy with bread, in a salad, rice... or perhaps dressed with soy sauce after all?

This tinned fish comes from a project which was designed to promote Iwate's natural products. Iwate is frequently struck with tsunami and earthquakes due to its proximity to geographic features. As a result, the region's economy can wax and wane unpredictably. A beautiful product and label like this is their way of encouraging a following throughout Japan, and perhaps even all the way over here in Portland.