Garum was a fermented fish sauce used as a condiment in the old ages; its manufacture and export was an element of prosperity and perhaps an impetus for the Roman penetration of Lusitanian and Hispanian coastal regions.
Garum from today’s Portugal and Spain was highly prized in Rome and has now inpired a versatile strategy boardgame for the whole family, ages 8 and up, that plays 2 to 4 players. Garum is a tile-laying game, which plays in about 30 minutes, it is language independent and features endless replayability, due to its board system, that ensures no two games are alike.
In Garum, each player represents a master in the preparation of a specific type of fish sauce and receives a set of 16 Cetarian Tiles; each one has 4 spaces filled by 4 colors in different proportions, though the color that the player is defending is the predominant one.
The goal of the game is to play Cetarian Tiles strategically, in order to get a huge number of his own colour symbols in selected rows or columns - the greater the influence, the higher the reward! While placing the tiles, players may apply to score, collect some bonuses and also block their opponent’s intents. Whoever scores most points is the winner.
What is Garum?
Garum was a fermented fish sauce used as a condiment in the cuisines of Phoenicia, ancient Greece, Rome, Carthage and later Byzantium. Liquamen was a similar preparation, and at times they were synonymous. Although garum enjoyed its greatest popularity in the Western Mediterranean and the Roman world, it was earlier used by the Greeks.
Garum was produced in various grades consumed by all social classes. After the liquid was ladled off of the top of the mixture, the remains of the fish, called allec, was used by the poorest classes to flavour their staple porridge or farinata. The finished product—the nobile garum of Martial's epigram—was apparently mild and subtle in flavor. The best garum fetched extraordinarily high prices, and salt could be substituted for it in a simpler dish.
The garum of Lusitania (in present-day Portugal) was also highly prized in Rome, and was shipped directly from the harbour of Lacobriga (Lagos). A former Roman garum factory can be visited in the Baixa area of central Lisbon.
When mixed with wine (oenogarum, a popular Byzantine sauce), vinegar, black pepper, or oil, garum enhances the flavor of a wide variety of dishes, including boiled veal and steamed mussels, even pear-and-honey soufflé.
Garum was also employed as a medicine. It was thought to be one of the best cures for many ailments, including dog bites, dysentery, and ulcers, and to ease chronic diarrhea and treat constipation. Garum was even used as an ingredient in cosmetics and for removal of unwanted hair and freckles. Ketchup, originally a savory fish sauce that contained neither sugar nor tomatoes, shared its origins, culinary functions and popularity with garum.