Where else in the world could you visit an artisanal fish canning factory in action? At Conservas Pinhais, every step from purchasing fish fresh from the local market to cleaning, cooking, marinating, canning and wrapping them in beautiful prints is done by the hands of 120+ proud neighborhood workers. Exchange smiles with them, ask questions and absorb information from your friendly guide as you tour, not a fancy showroom, but a buzzing factory.
As part of what used to be Matosinhos’ booming, 54-factory-fueled fish cannery industry in the early 1900s, Pinhais is one of the last two that survived WW2, Portugal’s petrol and oil crises, dictatorship, 2010 financial crisis and, now, also COVID19. Its worn floors, tiled walls, work benches and winding, wooden staircase are all original, as are its secret tomato sauce and other marinades made with fresh ingredients from small, local purveyors.
Of course, this authentic, delicious and memorable experience through Portugal’s only non-mechanized fish cannery, teeming in modest national savoir-faire, unparalleled quality and international success, ends with a taste of sardines on fresh bread with a glass of wine and visit to the gift shop.