Anchovy taste test

Are all anchovies created equal? We popped some top-dollar tins to find out.

Though there's many a diner who considers the anchovy a singular horror, unvarying in its ghastliness, those of us who have acquired the taste tend to be pretty passionate about them, and not a little opinionated about the best brands. We thought it might be interesting to gather together some serious anchovy fanciers and ask them to blind-taste the premium brands available locally. Chef Damien Pignolet, seafood consultant John Susman, Gourmet Traveller food director Emma Knowles and restaurant critic Pat Nourse answered the call.

In order of preference, our tasters ranked salt-packed Nardin anchovies ($325 for 5kg tin from Gourmet Life, or $85/kg sold loose in store) top of the tree, scoring them well out in front. Unlike anchovies packed in oil, salt-packed anchovies need to be butterflied, their spines removed, and then the salt rinsed off them before they're ready to go. Still, it's done in mere moments and the difference in flavour is marked.

Next was Don Bocarte (from $11.50 for 48gm tin from Nomad Distribution), a Spanish brand popular with the Michelin-starred mob in France and Spain, followed by Nardin's tinned product ($9.95 for 50gm tin from Gourmet Life), then the famed Ortiz ($16.50 for 47.5gm tin from Simon Johnson), L'Escala ($7.95 for 50gm tin from Raw Materials), Rizzoli ($7.20 for 90gm tin from Raw Materials), Magdalena Sureda ($44.95 for 140gm jar from Raw Materials), and tied for the lowest score, were Raw Materials' house-brand cold-smoked Spanish anchovies ($10.80 for 100gm tray from Raw Materials) and Pujado Solano (from $8.50 for 50gm tin from Nomad Distribution).

Whichever you choose, note that anchovies are a semi-preserve; because they'd break down in the heat, they're not sterilised in the same way as, say, baked beans, so their shelf life is considerably more limited. Keep them in the fridge, but be sure to bring them up to room temperature an hour before you plan to serve them.


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
The Producers: Box Grove Vineyard Verjus
14.08.2017
What is bee pollen?
09.08.2017
David Jones’ new food hall opens in Bondi Junction
03.08.2017
OzHarvest is fighting food waste by looking in your refrigerator
24.07.2017
Meet Your Maker: RL Foote Design Studio
18.07.2017
Our Baking Cookbook is here
06.07.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Hot 100 2015 - Food

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

Women in Hospitality

A new organisation is empowering women working in the hospit...

The producers: Two Rivers Green Tea

A leading local tea exporter now offers his leaves to the do...

The producers: Colony honey

A selection of regional monofloral honeys sourced direct fro...

Liquid gold

We find ourselves inexorably drawn to salt caramel in a jar....

The producers: Atssu Divers

Hand-dived abalone, turban shell and sea urchin.

Making a scene

Entertainer Julia Zemiro notes there’s little difference bet...

Deutscher’s Turkey Farm

When it comes to talking turkey, the best birds have lived t...

Sandor Ellix Katz Q&A

Food fermentation 'revivalist' and guru Sandor Ellix Katz di...

The producers: Alexandrina Jersey milk

Meet the producers of the creme de la creme of Australian fu...

Gamze smokehouse

Bringing local flavour to artisan-made bacon.

Gourmet Traveller Gourmet Fast app

Now, here's a mighty handful: GT's Gourmet Fast recipes are ...

Food emoji we wish existed

What? More than 200 new pictograms in the latest Emoji set, ...

What is jumbuck?

The jumbuck has leapt straight from the pages of Banjo Pater...

Inside Out almond milk

Thicker, creamier milk, with a more pronounced almond flavou...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×