In a nutshell: Rich, deeply savoury anchovy essence full of flavour, made the same way since Roman times. Use it to add a hefty slug of concentrated umami seasoning to pasta and roast lamb dishes.
Great Taste 2017 2-star Award winner
This umami-packed anchovy essence is the true taste of antiquity. Ever since Roman legionaries flavoured their food with the fermented fish sauce called garum, the scenic Amalfi fishing village of Cetara (a UNESCO World heritage Site) has been famed for its colatura di alici.
It’s made with anchovies caught by cianciola, the local boats specialising in fishing the famed blue fish from the deep waters of the Gulf of Salerno between 25 March and 22 July, the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene. Unlike with garum, the fish are cleaned and gutted to ensure a pure-tasting product. They’re then layered with Trapani sea salt in traditional chestnut barrels called terzigni, closed with wooden lids called tompagno and weighted down with large stones from the nearby sea, and left to mature for 6 months. As a result of the maturation and pressure of the weight, some liquid emerges on the surface which is collected and exposed to the sunlight in which evaporation makes it more concentrated. It is then poured back in the terzigni, where it passes slowly through the layers of anchovies inside. After 18 months, a hole is drilled in the bottom of each terzigno and the precious anchovy essence, a warm amber in colour, seeps out to be carefully collected and bottled.
The result is a unique product, much like the ancient garum or liquamen fish sauce widely used as a condiment in Ancient Greece, Rome and Byzantium. As one of the Great Taste judges notes "It’s an honest flavour, full of anchovy depth, concentrated without being overpowering. Lip-smackingly delicious!"
Acquapazza’s rich colatura is the best you can get. It’s only found in specialist shops in Italy, and top restaurants in Europe and the USA. It’s offered here in a gift box and has a useful dropper to help you use only the amount you need – a little goes a long way!
How to use
- The way they’ve been using it in Cetara for centuries – simply toss chopped parsley, garlic and chilli and 1 tsp per person of colatura through cooked spaghetti, loosen with some of the pasta cooking water, and dress with extra virgin olive oil.
- Anchovies are great with lamb, so next time you roast a leg of lamb, cut incisions into the leg or shoulder and drizzle a little colatura in to enhance its savoury depth.
- Its umami depth will boost the flavour of all your stews and braises.
- It’s great with vegetables, too. Bring out the flavour of flash-fried cabbage or broccoli with a little colatura to serve alongside juicy pork chops.
Details Glass bottle with stopper; 50ml
Acquapazza Gourmet was founded by five friends who shared a common goal – to preserve the traditional foods of their region, particularly the anchovy sauce has been produced in their home village for hundreds of years. As you’d expect, they’re careful to follow time-honoured methods at every step of the production process. Not only that, they add an ingredient all too often absent in modern food production – time. Each drop of their colatura is the painstaking result of 2 years of maturation. It is this commitment to the right way of doing things which makes us proud to share their products with you.