Did I mention garum?

Buy your garum using amazon (when available)!

From rogueclassicism comes this about that precious liquid garum, in modern terms colatura.  (Check here and here.)

Garum Festival

Are Classicists aware of this event in Tunisia?

The Garum summer festival was held [ratz… missed it again] on June 26 at the Sidi Slimane Cultural Center in Nabeul, at the initiative of the Safeguarding Association of the city. It is a gastronomic and scientific event highlights [!] yet an unknown aspect of the ancient Roman city, Neapolis (Nabeul). [The problem with actually making it to such a festival is that you would have to go there.]

Gurum or Garon, as it was known among the Greeks was a culinary preparation made mainly of “fish, salt and herbs”  [That’s one way to describe it.] and was in use in Greek cuisine from at least the 5th century BC. The production and trading of Garum lasted for at least one millennium.

On the agenda of the festival, buffet and tasting of Garum dishes, an ancient condiment made in Neapolis, in Roman times, as a sauce made from pickled fish (tuna, mackerel, sardines). [Pompeii was also a big producer of garum.]

An exhibition was also scheduled to present a variety of fish sauce may be related to garum, such as Vietnamese “nuoc mam” and “pissalat niçois”.

    Lectures were presented on “the benefits of Garum sauces and nuoc mam”, “the Garum amphorae and the trade of cured products”, “The Garum, the salting and the purple in Djerba, as well as the analysis of industry index of Garum and curing in Neapolis.

The festival was inaugurated with a visit to the archaeological site of Neapolis to give an overview of the industry of Garum and salted fish manufactures in Roman times.

Excavations at the site between 1995 and 2006, covering 2000 square meters carried out by a Tunisian-French team was also showcased in Neapolis, hosted salted manufacturers which date back to a time was estimated between 1st and the IV centuries AD.

These factories are second in the world after those found in Spain. They have large pools of salting with production capacity up to 138 m3. The Garum was packaged in amphorae whose remains found at the archaeological site of Neapolis, represent edifying testimonials.

The development of fishery activities in the region was facilitated by the proximity of tuna migration routes, the presence of shoals for growth of wildlife marine and numerous lakes forming natural pools.

Try it! Buy your garum using amazon (when available)!  And it is nearly always on my wishlist.. for obvious reasons.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Konichiwa says:

    Upon reading a short blurb on n??c m?m, I feel obligated to recommend that you try some “m?m nêm” if you haven’t already. It’s tasty sauce that goes well with “spring rolls” especially rolls that include “bò nhúng d?m”. I just had some the other Sunday, and it was oishii (delicious)!

  2. jdskyles says:

    Again, I ask the question, what is the difference between garum and asian style fish sauces? Can they be substituted for one another?

  3. Supertradmum says:

    I have something very like this in an excellent Vietnamese restaurant in Calgary. The sauce was very strong on the fishy side, but good. I thought it would last a thousand years, it seemed so strong.

  4. catholicmidwest says:

    This stuff is rancid. I don’t eat Thai food on account of it. I can smell it a mile off. Nothing covers up that SMELL. Gag.

  5. Flambeaux says:

    The smell is wonderful and the taste even better. Few things are as satisfying on a Friday night than a big bowl of pasta colatura.

    De gustibus and all that, I suppose.

  6. catholicmidwest: Perhaps you should try colatura, which is from southern Italy.

  7. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Amazing the “vile” stuff that turns into something good. Like human kind, vile, nasty and all that (like fermented and rotten fish guts), with the help of our Lord, we can be remade into something wonderful and beautiful.

    Keep up the cooking lessons Father, I am learning so much here.

  8. catholicmidwest says:

    Maybe, but can’t they leave the dead fish out?

    The dead fish are supposed to give it that complex, dark and organic taste, I think. Sort of like that dead mouse you can’t find in your garage. :p

  9. How is is that countless people have loved this stuff for several thousand years?

    Go figure.

  10. Some people are “supertasters” who can’t stand certain bitter tastes, and there are probably “supersmellers” also.

    OTOH, it’s often a matter of what you’re used to, or what you’re prepared to accept.

  11. wanda says:

    Maybe one of these years you will get to be there in Neapolis, Father! Garum to the left of you and Garum to the right of you! Tasting..catching the aromas on the breeze…one day, maybe, Fr. Z.!

  12. Random Friar says:

    Seeing how “home brewing” of beers and ciders is such a popular pastime… Hmmm… garum home production?

    Of course, I can imagine the neighbors raising a stink, as it were.

  13. berkowow says:

    I’ve had some good luck making some home-made garum that is fairly close to at least one ancient Roman recipe. It’s fairly simple:

    1 lb. of small fish (I used smelt) with their heads attached
    3/4 lb. of sea salt
    1 tbsp. oregano

    Put the fish and the salt and the oregano in the pan and cover it with water until the fish is covered by about 2 inches of water. Then boil the heck out of it, smashing the fish with a spoon while it is boiling. It eventually starts to get thick.

    Then the fun part – straining it. I’ve read that you should use cheese cloth, which I didn’t have. I strained it through a strainer and then (slowly) through coffee filters. The liquid that comes out after a few strainings is amber colored, and tastes like the essence of salt with a hint of fishiness.

    My wife puts it in everything, apparently, although I rarely seem to notice until after she tells me. It can be used in the place of salt.

    You can find the latin recipe and a very similar modern version here:

  14. Margaret says:

    Quite off topic, but every time I see this post title, I misread it as “Gollum! Gollum! Gollum!” Which leads me to ponder if Gollum would eat garum… He does have a fondness for fish, but raw and slippery if I recall correctly. Hmmm…

  15. Random Friar says:

    berkowow: Fascinating!

    Fr. Z, any thoughts as to supplementing Sabine farm with a garum fermentation pit?

  16. Random: No. I think I would rather park it near a particular chancery.

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