Report by news magazine Expansiónrosadelosvientos
“Frigoríficos Rosa de los Vientos, the Otero family company that controls the octopus business” is how the report begins, we invite you to keep reading.
From their family business, Frigoríficos Rosa de los Vientos, the Otero’s market 60% of the octopus caught in Galicia. They have a turnover of seven million euros a year. This animal, the most intelligent of invertebrates, has three hearts. We will teach you how to cook it.
Alluding to that well-known spot from a board game, in the Otero-González family, everyone considers the octopus to be a pet. Especially because they and their 20 employees live alongside half a million octopuses in their 3,000-metre cold warehouse in Marín (Pontevedra) and because they have been working with this fascinating and chameleon-like delicacy for several generations. The cephalopods then gradually leave home for the five continents (USA, Japan, Korea, Qatar, Dominican Republic, the whole of Europe…), increasing the turnover of Frigoríficos Rosa de los Vientos, which is the name of the company that takes them in. “The octopus is the most loving animal in existence: it has three hearts and eight arms for hugging”, says Mercedes González Malvido (Bueu, Pontevedra, 14 April 1955), matriarch of a clan that over the years, and not without difficulties, has become the undisputed ruler of the octopus in Spain.
More than 1,000 tonnes produced per year, half of which is Galician Octopus vulgaris; over seven million euros in turnover; more than 60% of all Galician octopus that is caught passes through their hands… Since September they have been certified with the Galicia Calidade and Pesca de Rías seals for their business division ‘O Pulpeiro’, which guarantees that this rock mollusc, bought at the fish markets of Cangas, Aldán or Bueu, was caught in the Atlantic waters, “where God, while relaxing after creating the world, rested on his hand, leaving the traces of his fingers in the Estuaries”, as they say in these parts.
To find the tastiest and most authentic octopus in the universe, you have to sail to Ons Island, to the mouth of the Pontevedra Estuary, where a tiny and solitary Eden emerges, forming an archipelago with Onza Island and other rocks. Both there and on the neighbouring islands of Cíes and Sálvora hide large and tasty cephalopods, weighing up to five kilos, with shiny skin and iodine for the palate, which feed on shellfish, and that is why they have their characteristic reddish hue after being immersed in boiling water. A delicate animal when cooked due to its thinner skin, which can spoil the presentation or plating. Sold at a price of between six and nine euros per kilo, it does not need salt, oil or paprika to offer a full-bodied and powerful flavour. And the story of the Otero-González saga, entwined with that of their beloved octopuses, does not require much embellishment. The tremendous Galician weather brought all the ingredients. From warm sunshine to the fiercest of storms; sunshine, timid and yearned for, so that Mercedes’ great-grandmother could dehydrate octopuses in the open air on poles that she then sold dry to Japan and the USA; and storms, terrifying and deadly, to precipitate unsuspecting destinies with a happy ending.