You may be familiar with Southeast Asian fish sauce, but did you know there was an Italian version? This colatura di alici from Armatore is a complex, aromatic liquid made from precious anchovies that are caught by hand off the Amalfi coast. A close relative of the ancient Roman elixir garum, which was prized for its ability to add major flavor to any dish, colatura is pure umami gold that tastes of the essence of the sea.
Anchovies have been an Italian staple since the Roman era. Armatore prepares their anchovies according to millennia-old tradition, fishing at night, when the fish’s iridescent scales glisten in the moonlight. They are cleaned within a few hours and layered with salt in traditional terzingi (chestnut-wood casks), where they are left to cure for up to three years to make this extra-special liquid.
Founded in 1973 by fourth-generation fishers, Armatore is maintaining the old-school traditions of their coastal hometown of Cetara. A center of anchovy production since the Middle Ages, Cetara is home to an annual anchovy-fishing festival known as Notte delle Lampare (Night of the Lanterns). While they remain committed to preserving the rich history of their home, Armatore are stewards of the sea, practicing 21st-century sustainability to ensure the health and longevity of the waters they love.