Silvery sardines make a beautiful first course or a light lunch. Photo by Emily Chang | THE NIBBLE.




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EMILY CHANG is an Editorial Intern.


September 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

BELA-Olhão Gourmet Canned Sardines

Page 1: Overview


CAPSULE REPORT: While we’re getting the recommended eight hours of sleep each night, the folks at BELA-Olhão are putting us to shame. They manage to catch, smoke and can their sardines in Olhão, Portugal, all within the span of those 480 minutes. BELA-Olhão sardines are lightly smoked and packed in olive oil. They are available plain (regular or boneless) or flavored with cayenne, lemon or tomato. Packaged in convenient pop-top tins, these meaty sardines are perfect for eating any time of day, anywhere. They don’t have a fishy aroma; co-workers won’t know you’re eating fish. Full of protein, vitamins and minerals, they’re certified kosher by OU. This is Page 1 of a three-page article. Click on the black links below to visit the other pages.


Fish are a healthy food—this much we know. But we also know that they’re not always the most convenient food to cook or eat. Many canned fish are “fishy” and either too dry or too oily; some are also pretty flavorless. But BELA-Olhão has perfected the art of canning sardines. Plump, meaty and pretty, too—their silvery skins shimmer on the plate—these are gourmet sardines.

Gourmet Health Food

These sardines contain calcium—30% of the daily recommended amount in one 4.25-ounce tin (a 3.5-ounce serving has more calcium than a cup of whole milk). Sardines are rich in coenzyme Q-10 and omega-3 fatty acids, plus a spate of vitamins and minerals. Coenzyme Q-10 can stave off heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, even depression. Omega-3 fatty acids aid the body in transferring oxygen, help with muscle elasticity, brain activity and are a positive influence on the blood vessels and heart.

With a mercury content of 0.016 ppm, the FDA calculates that sardines have one of the lowest levels of mercury among seafood. Their low mercury levels may be a result of a diet that consists mainly of krill and plankton. The more kinds of other fish a species eats, the more likely it is to absorb the mercury levels of the fish that it feasts upon (which is why shark mercury levels are so high—they eat so many kinds of fish, some of which contain a high mercury content).

If you’re trying to incorporate more fish into your diet, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking it, crack open a tin of these sardines rather than a tired old can of tuna. See Page 3 for serving suggestions.


The environmentally-conscious will be glad to know that the sardines are wild caught, sustainably fished off a non-industrial coast and 100% dolphin safe.

Continue To Page 2: Canned Sardine Flavors

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