In search of the best insider tips and secrets to share with the world, we have found a small cannery craft in the Algarve that has behind it a moving family history and produces, with love and affection, delicious fillets of anchovy.
For those who do not know, the anchovy is a small bluish fish, from which you can make fillets, that when processed in an artisan way – based on a whole ancestral tradition and the enormous heritage that the canning industry left to those who worked there in the Algarve – turn into a delicious delicacy, ideal as an entrée or snack, seasoned with garlic and accompanied by a cold beer or a good fresh green wine.
The story of the Filetes de Biqueirão Avô Luís is also the story of the canning industry in the Algarve and Carla, a woman of arms with a pleasant smile, who gives herself body and soul to all the projects she embraces and dedicates to them, all affection.
Let her story be told in her own words… It’s up to us to present her in a small biographical note…
Carla Isabel de Jesus Serol was born on October 13, in 1976. She is the youngest of six siblings. Daughter of Deolinda Boiças and Luís Serol. She has been married for 18 years to Mario, who is her biggest support in this project. Mother of three boys 13, 9 and 4 years old, she is a native of Lagoa, in the Algarve where she works as an administrative assistant in the Social Action Unit of the Municipality. She has lived in Armação de Pêra for 18 years but her whole life revolves around the city of Lagoa, where she works, where the children study and go to the day care. She participates actively in the social and political life of her city, having assumed in October 2017 the position of President of the Assembly of the Union of Parishes of Lagoa and Carvoeiro. Currently, studying Social Sciences at the Open University, aims to be gradueted in Social Work.
“The anchovy was always something very present in my house. It was an acquired fact, something that appeared year after year at the hands of my parents, as a tradition.
My mother worked in the fish canning industry. In fact, she worked in almost all the fish canning factories that existed at the time in the municipality of Lagoa. And believe me, there were many! Also my paternal grandmother, who I never knew, worked in many of these same factories.
All the knowledge they had, not only about the preparation of the anchovy but also of many other processes of fish preservation, passed it on to my father. And it was in this way that the tradition of the preparation and stowage of anchovy remained in my family.
Driven by my father, who was a man who liked a good snack and anchovy in particular, my mother continued to prepare the fish my father brought. She did it almost in a contradictory way, a reflection of many years of factory work, of many hours of standing and working with employers who were not always pleasant, of years that were not at all removed from a fairy tale. But still, she did it as if she had never stopped doing it. She did it like nobody else!
And so it was for many years, until the sad date when we had to say goodbye to my mother.
In the following years, my father kept the tradition alone. The result was 20 to 30 bottles he distributed warmly to his children and some close friends. My father was an extraordinarily generous man.
With the departure of my mother, we talked many times that he could not leave us without sharing the testimony of the anchovy to someone. We agreed that next summer we would do it together, so that I, besides the theory, would learn all the practice of the process. But life turned us around, and “next summer” did not came to my father.
I promised him still in life that I would do it without him. And so I did it! The next summer I prepared my first batch of anchovy, with only my heart in mind. And the power of love is amazing … as if I was guided, I made the first 30 bottles of the Filetes de Biqueirão Avô Luís. With the success in sight and the search I had for more product, I decided to continue what began as a promise of love.
At this moment, the Filetes de Biqueirão Avô Luís have come to stay. We have a small business on the rise, to which I foresee much success and which already includes a small canning craft. “
The stew of the anchovy (treatment of the fish after the brine that will give rise to the delicious snack) is in fact a totally handcrafted process that involves a lot of time, work, patience and, above all, a lot of dedication.
This is the secret of the Filetes de Biqueirão Avô Luís – commitment in the ambition of keeping these traditional flavours alive, and a true example, that good traditional products require soul, dedication, and lots of love.
If you wish to taste this delicacy, of limited production, you can for now, find it only through Facebook in Filetes de Biqueirão – Avô Luís.
Bom apetite! (we do not need translation for this part!)