Garum and the baths / Garum y los baños

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

GARUM WAS A FERMENTED FISH sauce popular with the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks, and Romans. It was one of the products produced at the Roman fish-salting plant near where Venus (yesterday’s post) was found. The remains of eight fish processing tanks are visible next to the remains of the tile factory and several kilns. Garum was made with the unwanted innards of all the salted fish. Thanks to National Graphic, I have the perfect recipe for you:

“Vats were filled with fresh fish guts typically cleaned from whitebait, anchovies, mackerel, tuna, and others. They were placed between layers of salt and aromatic herbs and left in the sun for several months until they reached proper pungency. It was important to add just the right amount of salt—too little would result in putrefaction, while too much would disrupt the natural process of fermentation that gave the sauce its distinctive tang.”

A bit further away are the Roman baths, which would have been appreciated after working all day salting and fermenting fish. Imagine the smell. Although I doubt workers were invited. Behind the baths, across the road, are the still-buried remains of the private villa to which this all belonged. I can’t wait for that to be revealed some day.

One of the very cool things, for me, at the Interpretation Centre is a reproduction of the area as it looked 2,000 years ago. If you’re interested, you can find detailed information at I can’t wait to head back over with San Geraldo so he can see how things have progressed. An outing!


GARUM ERA UNA SALSA DE pescado fermentada popular entre los fenicios, los antiguos griegos y los romanos. Era uno de los productos elaborados en la planta romana de salazón de pescado cerca de donde se encontró Venus (el post de ayer). Los restos de ocho tanques de procesamiento de pescado son visibles junto a los restos de la fábrica de tejas y varios hornos. Garum se hizo con las entrañas no deseadas de todo el pescado salado. Gracias a National Graphic, tengo la receta perfecta para ti:

“Las tinajas se llenaron con tripas de pescado fresco, generalmente limpiadas de morralla, anchoas, caballa, atún y otros. Se colocaron entre capas de sal y hierbas aromáticas y se dejaron al sol durante varios meses hasta que alcanzaron la pungencia adecuada. Era importante agregar la cantidad justa de sal: muy poca daría como resultado la putrefacción, mientras que demasiada interrumpiría el proceso natural de fermentación que le dio a la salsa su sabor distintivo”

Un poco más lejos se encuentran los baños romanos, que se habrían apreciado después de trabajar todo el día salando y fermentando pescado. Imagínese el olor. Aunque dudo que se invitara a los trabajadores. Detrás de los baños, al otro lado de la calle, están los restos aún enterrados de la villa privada a la que pertenecía todo esto. No puedo esperar a que eso se revele algún día.

Una de las cosas más interesantes, para mí, en el Centro de Interpretación es una reproducción a pequeña escala del área como se veía hace 2.000 años. Si está interesado, puede encontrar información detallada en No veo la hora de volver con San Geraldo para que vea cómo han ido las cosas. ¡Una salida!

Left to right: Fish salting factory, warehouse, pottery ovens, pottery, baths, villa.
De la izquirda a la derecha: factoría de salazones, almacén, hornos cerámicos, alfar, termas, villa.

Remains of one of the ovens.
Restos de uno de los hornos.
Left: baths. Right: villa.
A la izquierda: baños; A la derecha: villa.
The open roof over the central courtyard in the baths is where the below mosaic floor was found.
El techo abierto sobre el patio central en los baños es donde se encontró el piso de mosaico debajo.
Interpretation Center.
Centro de Interpretación.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

28 thoughts on “Garum and the baths / Garum y los baños”

  1. Fish sauce is still made in some Asian countries, surprisingly it tastes better than it sounds. Amazing ruins, I have an upcoming post about mosaic floors.

    1. David:
      Oh, the mosaics. We don’t have much here in town. Sevilla was incredible. Looking forward to your post!

  2. Right in your own ‘backyard’…..almost. What an interesting site it is. The history alone can fill the imagination of what it was like to live there back then.

    1. Jim:
      For me, they’ve done an exceptional job of giving a sense of what it was like then.

  3. The interpretation center appears to be nicely done. Interesting to think all that tile work came long before the Moorish influence in Andulacia. Always wanted to visit that region, but so far my travels to Spain have been limited to the Pyrenees/Catalonia area.

    1. Mary:
      We still haven’t been to the Pyrenees/Catalonia area. So much to explore and all so different. The Moorish-influenced tile (and original Moorish tile) is so different from the Roman.

    1. Debra:
      I wondered the same thing. It appears to be but, thanks to the mountains and sea, the winds here constantly change directions.

  4. What fun to explore that site! And look at you – so fancy with your sliding pictures. I wonder how similar that sauce was to contemporary Asian fish sauce? A little of that goes a long way!

    1. Wilma:
      I need to do a better job coordinating the sliding pictures so they’re exact positions, but it’s still fun. I think the sauce is supposed to be similar to contemporary fish sauces.

  5. When I saw the first picture i was like…Oh look Mitchell is touring Little House on a Prairie!!!!

    It cool to see what was there with the model…its hard for me to visualize by the remains.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      I know what you mean. At first glance, it could be rural anywhere! Although I love the ruins, I too couldn’t imagine what it actually looked like. This made it so much more real for me.

  6. That fish sauce sounds terrifying. I wonder how it compares to Asian fish sauce?

    Roman mosaics always blow my mind — so detailed and colorful and yet so incredibly old.

    1. Steve:
      My understanding is that contemporary fish sauces evolved from that, so probably not dissimilar. Sevilla has an amazing underground museum around a part of the original city with the most incredible mosaics restored and safely displayed.

    1. Cheapchick:
      I love how the fermented fish sauce could go wrong with not enough salt. It sounds to me like it couldn’t NOT go wrong.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I am still so amazed by all that can be found here. There was a house in Guilford, CT, buitl in 1639. Modern!

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: