In Italian, when we say “l’oro” (gold), we could also be saying “loro” (them). Indeed, opening a tin such as this evokes gold and the presence of those who helped produce this wonder. In this case, “they” are the fish of the sea, the fishermen, the artisans, the company. The gold glitters in these tins like an ingot.
And when we say “gold”, we are also saying “old”: old, like the Comur tradition, like passing down secrets, experiences, treasures, and stories from generation to generation, with delicateness and wisdom. Old means precious and sacred and is therefore also gold.
The Portuguese word “ouro” (gold) is also contained in the name “Douro”, a Portuguese region of breath-taking beauty, an enchanted valley, World Heritage, where the city of Porto and its surroundings offer landscapes of unimaginable beauty. The Douro River creates reflections from its banks; it becomes crimson like Port Wine, takes on the blue of ceramic tiles, and turns bright red like the sunset over the ocean. What is all this, if not gold?
These sardines are land and sea together, they are the ground and the sky. They are something both unexpected and desired. And our thoughts drift to the night, as the sun descends slowly towards the sea; to the light striking the small boats swaying in the river at Vila Nova de Gaia; to all those times when the sand seems to be lit as it condenses and reflects the dust of age-old shells, evidence of ancient geological ages; to the sea, which transforms into the land and rises from the land to the heavens, becoming something ethereal, like fado, fortunes, and Portuguese soul. Like these gold flakes, prepared by “them”, evidence of ancient secrets handed down from father to son, old and new at the same time, golden but also blue, red: ever changing and never the same.
Opening and striking gold; opening these ingots and finding an immense treasure: the Portuguese sardine.