Marta Mendia, Marketing and Communication manager at Olasagasti, explained about the origin of the family business within the canned fish sector.
Matteo’s great-grandfather devoted his life to the anchovy in brine in Terrasini (Sicily). Then, he got to know about another variety of anchovy of a higher quality than the one caught in the Mediterranean: the Cantabrian Anchovy. Consequently, he sent his young son Salvatore Orlando to the tiny Basque town of Getaria.
In this coastal town, Salvatore set up one of the first salting plants in the north of Spain. In those days, the anchovy was not considered as a delicatessen as nowadays and they mainly used it as bait.
It was thanks to these Sicilian entrepreneurs who travelled all the way to the Basque Country and to Cantabria in the late 1800s and at the beginning of the XXth century that the anchovy turned into the basics of a really important business activity in this area.
Salvatore Orlando married Simona Olasagasti, a Basque young lady, and they had 6 children. The family grew and the business expanded. They opened more factories in the Basque Country, Cantabria, Navarra… Their business thrived.
Ignacio Orlando, one of Salvatore´s children started dealing with the import and distribution in Italy of all the products processed by the family firm more than 50 years ago. In the late 80s, Ignacio was willing to create a new brand which would include the maximum quality preserved fish products from the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay). That is how Ignacio, together with his son Matteo (who was studying Economics at Genoa University), founded Olasagasti in honor of Salvatore´s wife, Simona Olasagasti. Once Matteo graduated, he moved to the Basque Country to design the new firm and facilities in the former premises of Conservas Dentici.
Olasagasti by Conservas Dentici S.L. process the best fresh bluefish which undulates in the Cantabrian sea (Bay of Biscay): Bonito del Norte, Anchovy, Mackerel and Basque Tuna. We treasure and follow the same traditional methods Salvatore, the grandfather, had brought all the way from Sicily to the Basque Country and process our freshly caught fish with the help of skilled local workers . In addition, we boost the local economy as we promote different working posts ranging from our Basque fishermen (arrantzaleak) to logistic traders in the Basque harbours, and the «rederas», because we shouldn´t forget the mothers and grandmothers who repair the nets in the ports .
We carry on innovating and developing. We are keen to add more to our range of products. The long research has resulted in this new selection of traditional recipes we call “Open and Relish” (Abrir y Zampar), prepared with bluefish, vegetables and olive oil. We only use natural and healthy ingredients, no colourings nor preservatives.
Backround of «Open&Relish» family recipes:
All these recipes were firstly conceived in Matteo and Marta´s own kitchen, in San Sebastian. They thought about the kind of food they would like to find when opening a can (a modern and totally safe and easy-to-open can). So they looked for several recipes they loved in both families and updated them. The culinary culture has always been strong in both homes (in Italy and in the Basque Country) and every vital event has always taken place around a table in their respective dining rooms.
It took them no time at all to remember about the tuna with beans Matteo´s grandmother used to prepare in Toscana during the war; The typical Mediterranean Ratatouille and Dried Tomato sauces from Salvatore´s Siciliy; Marta´s mother´s recipes with Tuna and onion as well as Tuna and peppers; And, of course, they couldn´t forget how Marta´s father used to get crazy about Anchovies a la Basque.
To start with, they prepared every recipe at home and then, trial after trial within the factory, they could achieve optimum results.
We searched for the best Mediterranean vegetable suppliers, and also underwent all the corresponding sanitary controls. Needless to say that Olasagasti has always counted on the support of all technological advances from Food Innovation and Development Basque centers.
We are proud to say that our canned products are the pure combination between innovation and tradition; and also between technology and quality ingredients.
This new range of cooked dishes is our pride:
- They are rich in vitamins, minerals, omega 3 and fiber and low in fat and calories.
- They can be stored easily at room temperature, with an expiry date of 4 years from date of manufacture (in the case of dishes with tuna) and 5 years (in the case of dishes with anchovy).
These family recipes are our answer to the latest trend and demand in the market for healthy and easy-to-consume products.
At the end of the presentation, the popular chef Lorentzero from San Sebastian prepared pasta with Basque Anchovies and scrambled eggs with tuna preprations, to show that these recipes aren’t just Open&Relish dishes, but also tins to Open&Cook to help you achieve delicious menus at home, in bars and restaurants.
On that day the display turned out to be a friendly meeting together with friends and customers of Olasagasti. They could share interesting information, humour, as well as delicious tapas and dishes, which pleasantly surprised everyone.
It was made clear that all these recipes are for all of us: whether we wish to take them anywhere, to share them with family and friends or just to eat a balanced dish at the office or on our own at home. They can become a delicious option for a cold quick lunch; or for a warm dinner preparing them with eggs, pasta, couscous or rice.
The video below will show you a few of the many ways to enjoy our family recipes.