“Me, my two daughters, and my granddaughter.” That's how one Murtosa woman carries Comur in her heart. Longing and nostalgic, aware of the weight of generations, the making of canned goods runs through her veins since the time when her mother’s womb was her cradle.
At a time when women were limited to domestic life, charged with looking after the home and raising their children, and husbands went out to sea and the Aveiro Lagoon, vulnerable to the will of nature in an endless search for a better and more dignified life, one hard day’s work was followed by another as part of the only routine they knew. The working week was interrupted by the ritual of attending mass in Sunday best, and for gathering with the family; among popular songs, pilgrimages, courting by the window, and pleasant conversations, these were the source of many a happy hour.
Unusually rainy winters presented the Lagoon with an abundance of eels, an opportunity for families to make a living, but also a challenge, because the eels, even after being fried to ensure greater durability, were still a perishable product with a reduced shelf life.
In the 1940s, with the economic problems aggravated by the Second World War, the demand for fried eels increased and the “Murtosa fryers” fried eels at home to be taken to Viseu on donkeys’ backs. Driven by necessity, they began to organize themselves into a small group, adding a pickle sauce to the fried eels, that preserved the delicacy for longer, and which they stored in wooden barrels to export and feed the troops. The eels were a welcome delicacy, especially for those on the battle front with rare precious access to comforts and with few prospects of better days.
And so Comur was born, opening on 7 November 1942, by the hand and will power of brave people who needed to ensure their survival and that of their loved ones. Their need led to today, almost eight decades later, about 30 varieties of preserves being available to the world in an original, authentic format, and above all, with paying homage to the past in a great tribute to the women of Murtosa.
"Eels were prepared by hand, sardines were prepared by hand, the sardine backbone was removed by hand, the trout were filleted by hand, the octopus was prepared by hand...". And today it is no different: all the fish that comes through the doors at Comur is processed and glorified by wise hands as always, that machines will never be able to outdo.
“I didn’t want holidays, I didn’t want Sundays, I didn’t want anything else. I wanted the factory. The factory!”, exclaims excitedly a veteran of Murtosa, letting the silence that follows and her eyes, whose tears she stubbornly holds on to, say the rest. And quite unaware, Comur is a part of her, it's a vital organ. It's where she keeps her memories and where her heart smiles.