296 Days Until Dragon*Con 2012…
We have already established that eating sardines is both healthy and tasty, so I’ll dispense with the obligatory “sardines are good for you and you should eat them because…” stuff.
Yesterday I promised a full review of the King Oscar Mediterranean Style Sardines, so here it is:
To start with, King Oscars are from Norway. I thought they were from Germany, but I am an idiot, so my opinion of where they may be from is completely irrelevant. I don’t really know why, I guess Oscar sounds like a Prussian sort of name, and the guy on the front of the label looks like he’d be King of Germany.
Recently, Norway has edged ahead of France in my list of “countries I want to visit, but have not yet”. To be perfectly honest, this is due, in no small part, to my recently-intensified interest in several things:
viking metal music, growing out a giant beard, dwarves in games and literature.
These things lead to an interest in Norse folk music, vikings in general, Norse mythology and spirituality, etc. Basically, anything I can tie to beards and fantasy, which for now means Vikings and Norway.
So King Oscar already has points with me, just by being from Norway, “By Special Royal Permission”.
Also, check out King Oscar’s facial hair situation:
I swiped this pic from the internet, but it was worth it so you can get a real good look at King Oscar’s facial hair. A full beard, complete with a nothing-less-than-epic handlebar moustache! Almost the exact look that Jobby had, and almost the exact look that I am currently striving to achieve.
And this guy is a King!!!! At some point, it became unfashionable to sport a proud and mighty beard like this, and I believe it must have been at that point that Western Civilization began to crumble. From now on, whenever I get looks from the rednecks around here, eyeballing my beard, I’ll just telepathically remind them that King Oscar had a beard and, even though he is dead as a wedge now, his beard and sardine traditions live on in the form of canned fish.
I know I showed this picture yesterday, but here it is again. I wanted to point out the full name of these sardines as being, “King Oscar, by Special Royal Permission, Finest Brisling Sardines Mediterranean Style”.
What does “brisling” mean? I have no effing idea. But I’m sure it is a good thing to be considered the “finest” brisling. Maybe I’ll look it up on the internet:
Ok, so brisling is just a type of sardine. One that is, apparently, the best sort of sardine, offering “a delicate texture and full aroma”. It’s the “full aroma” part that should have you worried, because unless your family really enjoys the smell of semi-raw fish that have been in a can for, possibly, months, then they may violently protest when you crack open a can of these puppies. It’s funny because the wife, upon catching a whiff of the King Oscars, remarked that they were the worst-smelling yet. I don’t mind the smell of sardines, but I can see how it would be an offensive odor to many people.
In other words, it is entirely possible that King Oscar was a bachelor.
These sardines have some Mediterranean Style which I was hoping meant that they come decked out in colorful scarves and coin skirts. But alas, it just means that they are having a soak in extra virgin olive oil and coated with “herbs of provence” (whatever that is), red bell pepper, and black olives.
Let’s see here…. herbs of provence….
“Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs typical of Provence. Formerly simply a descriptive term referring to herbs typical of Provence, in the 1970s, commercial blends started to be sold under this name.
The standard mixture typically contains savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and lavender flowers and other herbs, though lavender was not used in traditional southern French cooking.”
So yeah, herbs from France. Which are tasty.
Sadly, the lovely red label on these sardines is merely a plastic dust jacket for a very plain can of sardines:
It has the “pull tab” variety of sardine can opening method, which is pretty much all you’re going to get these days. I have always preferred the “key and roll back” method, but I haven’t seen that in a very long time. These cans you would have a little key that had a hole in it. The lip of the can would fit into the hole, then you would turn the key and the top of the can would sort of “roll up” onto the key as you journeyed across the top of the can. I think these new pull tabs are considered both safer and easier to open. Here’s a pic I stole from the internet of a “key and roll back” sardine can:
Apologies to whomever I swiped this pic from, but so many of my “Sleepy Hollow” screencaps have showed up on the web that I don’t really feel bad. Share and share alike. I guess I am a bit of a Communist when it comes to internet picturery.
Once opened, the sardines/can looks like this:
I know that it doesn’t look appetizing, but I promise that this is the tastiest sardines straight-from-the-can that you will find. I honestly can feel comfortable recommending them to people who don’t think they like sardines because, along with the herbs and oil and olives, you’re not going to get a really intense fishy flavor with these, as you would with most other sardines.
As I mentioned before, these brisling sardines (check out that usage! I am learning something every day!) have a very delicate texture, and they’re also very small, a fact I pointed out when I reviewed King Oscar sardines before. I didn’t care for it then, but now that the internet has told me that this delicate texture is a sign of top-notch sardines, I love it. They really just fall apart just from a glance at your fork (although these sardines are headless and can do no glancing, there are sardines out there that, once you open them, their heads and little glassy eyes will be looking right back at you in an accusatory glare.)
The flavor is really good, but I don’t know if I would necessarily say “Mediterranean”. Maybe “Mediterranean-inspired” would fit better. I get the impression that sardines are quite popular in other parts of the world, maybe even in Mediterranea, so perhaps this is true and my American palate is just not refined enough to recognize it. This could easily be the case, since I find Miller Lite to be quite tasty, while my beer-snob friends look down their noses at me. If you’re eating King Oscars, maybe you can look down your nose at someone eating Beach Cliffs or Brunswicks. Or maybe, since you are eating sardines, you don’t really have any room to look down your nose at anyone.
I don’t really know what else to say about the flavor, other than that they taste like good sardines with stuff on them, which makes them very palatable straight out of the can.
If you are rushing out your door right now to go buy a can of King Oscar, By Royal Appointment, Finest Brisling Sardines Mediterranean Style right now, you better bring your wallet because each can is about $2.50 – $3.00. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering Beach Cliffs are about $1, these are some lavish canned fish.
The Cadillac of Sardines: King Oscar, By Royal Appointment, Finest Brisling Sardines Mediterranean Style.