Author Topic: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?  (Read 7192 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline isburma

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3
  • I Love Pizza!
La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« on: April 30, 2005, 01:56:21 PM »
Would anybody know where I can find La Regina tomatoes in the Seattle are (or East side)?


Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22016
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2005, 04:05:17 PM »
isburma,

Welcome to the forum.

I suspect you will have a tough time locating the LaRegina San Marzano tomatoes outside of the general New England area. The LaReginas apparently are a house brand of a distributor/foodservice company called Accardi Foods, in Massachusetts. I first discovered the LaReginas at salumeriaitaliana.com (they also have a bricks-and-mortar food store in the North End of Boston), and subsequently located them at far lower prices at vendaravioli.com in Providence. However, Venda changed its shipping policy from a dollar-based system to a weight-based system, causing their shipping charges to increase substantially. I threatened to cancel my order with them, but to keep me as a customer, they backed off and lowered the shipping charges. When my current supply of LaReginas runs out, I have no idea where I will go to replenish the supply. What I might do is call Accardi and see if I can work out some kind of deal. I saw their name on the Caputo distributor list recently provided by FornoBravo, so they be amenable to some sort of deal. I might also be able to find out whether there is a distributor in your area, or possibly an end user, like a restaurant, that might be willing to sell you a few cans.

I realize that tomatoes are a highly subjective matter, and you don't have to look much further than the posts on this site to see that, but the LaReginas are my favorite San Marzano tomatoes. If you are intent on getting the LaRegina San Marzanos, the ones you want to look for are the DOPs--the ones in the green labelled cans. One of the things I especially like about the LaRegina DOPs is that the tomatoes come in a puree-like juice that is much thicker and less watery than any of the other brands of San Marzanos I have tried. That may be why they generally cost more than the competing brands. But if you can find them at a good price, you should seriously consider them.

In the same vein, you might be interested in reading an article (in a pdf file) about Al Forno's, a famous restaurant in Providence that specializes in grilled pizzas, in which the chef and CEO of Al Forno describes how the restaurant tested over 20 different brands of San Marzano tomatoes before settling on the LaReginas because they balanced well in acid and sweetness. The article is also interesting for several other reasons related to pizza making, which you might find useful in your own pizza making efforts. The article is at http://www.santemagazine.com/PDFs/8-4_chefssem.pdf.

I did an awful lot of online searching for the LaReginas, so if you manage to find any good sources, please let the membership know.

Peter


Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3063
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2005, 04:23:05 PM »
peter, I put a call and an email into accardi when I found out they were my local caputo distributer. I was very happy to see that they not only carried the LaReginas, but they were the importers.  It did take them over a week to get back to me, so I don't know if we will get the kind of service we have found at Penn Mac.   I have been designated a salesperson there, and I will be going over to meet with her in person some time before thursday.  I will talk to her about the mailorder situation for the forum.

Offline isburma

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2005, 04:37:30 PM »
Thanks for your detailed explanation and additional details. I already contacted vendaravioli but the shipping cost ends up being too high.
I will certainly read the article from Al Forno.

Isburma

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3063
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2005, 05:37:12 PM »
I noticed the part of the interiew where the chef say that the kitchen staff chose La Regina san marzanos "this year".   Who knows what year our tomato batch is coming from in the grocery store.  I am sure just like grapes for wine there are better seasons for certain regions.  I just did another taste test of tomatoes, with Jeff's favorites the cento whole peeled, escalon, and others.  One of the Cento cans was a little dusty.  It could have been sitting on the shelves for three years.

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22016
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2005, 06:04:44 PM »
Scott,

You raise a very good point. Unfortunately, the freshness of the tomatoes is a factor over which we have little control. And since most people have never heard of San Marzano tomatoes before, it's easy to see how some cans might sit around on shelves for a fairly long time. I saw a date 2004 on one of the cans of LaReginas I looked at today, but since the wording is in Italian I don't know what the date refers to. I'm less worried about the 6-in-1s because that product moves quickly in and out of the pipeline. But I do think it is a good idea to look for dates on the cans to be sure that we aren't getting old merchandize. I believe Escalon say that their tomatoes have a 2-year shelf life, so that might serve as a useful guide.

What was the verdict from your most recent taste test?

Peter

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3063
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2005, 02:03:23 AM »
If I were blindfolded, I would have said that Jeff's favorite tomatoes, the Italian whole peeled Cento were San Marzano's.  They were quite nice, but I still have a feeling that in the end I will stick with the La Regina's for that type of fruit.  I even busted out the stick blender like Jeff suggests.   One thing is for sure, you get a lot more usable tomato in the can of Laregina's.  Jeff, if you are out there give them one more try.  I think you might have gotten a bad can. I understand why you don't like the Escalon, as it is such a different flavor.
Just in case I am remembering wrong I will do a side by side with the La Regina,  Cento whole peeled, plus a few more kinds of SM's soon.  I want to try the Sclafani, the real Vantia, and those ones that Marco suggests next.
The Cento crushed tomatoes were the worst of the bunch, nothing at all like the Cento Italian whole peeled.  They tasted like someone mixed in sweet and sour sauce.
The Sclafani crushed were much saltier, and less sweet than the rest. They were a good product for sure, but for that style of tomato I found the Escalon was still at the top.
As usual the Pastene Kitchen ready were the next best thing to the 6 in 1.  I am convinced it is the same product, but with a slightly less picky tomato buyer, and water added.

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3063
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2005, 02:53:22 PM »
The salesperson I was assigned at accardi went on vacation on mon.  I guess I will have to wait to get my caputo :-[ and find out if they are willing to do mail order for the forum.  I tried to talk to someone else there about it and the guy that answered the phone was pretty rude. Gotta love Rose!!!!

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3063
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2005, 12:23:24 PM »
Accardi is not willing to do any cash and carry, or any mail order. 

Offline tjacks88

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 34
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2005, 10:21:19 AM »
Peter,

I noticed the La Regina San Marzano tomatoes on the less expensive web site you mentioned, Venda Ravioli, was a different can style and not DOP than the more expensive one at Salumeria - did you get the same San Marzano DOP at Venda?

Thanks

Tom


Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22016
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2005, 11:53:08 AM »
Tom,

I bought the LaRegina DOPs at Venda Ravioli--the tomatoes with the green label, not the blue label. With Venda, you cannot assume that their website has all their products. I was told by the person I spoke with, Robert Coccia, that their products and prices change so often that they don't try to keep the website up to date right up to the minute. Also, products that are hard to come by, or the prices are too high even for them, don't make their way onto the website. So, you have to call them and ask which specific San Marzano tomatoes, DOP or otherwise, they are currently carrying.

When Venda changed their shipping cost structure (it's higher now) and I threatened to cancel an order I had initiated, I was told that they would like to have me as a customer and, to cut on the shipping charges, they could pack the tomatoes I ordered in a cheap box. I thought this was just a meaningless gesture and they would use their normal packaging procedures, but when the tomatoes arrived they were in a cheap cardboard box wrapped up and taped in the most amateurish way I have ever seen :). Maybe you can ask for the same shipping approach and see if you can get a discount for volume purchases (but don't be surprised if they say no to the latter because their prices are very good to begin with). FYI, I did a fair amount of online searching for the LaReginas, and the only two places I could find that sell them online are Venda and Salumeria Italiana.

You might also want to look into another brand of San Marzano tomatoes, the Famoso San Marzanos, also DOP and sold by Venda. I like them and although they have a more watery packing liquid than the LaReginas (which have a thick puree), the fruits themselves are very nice with good color. Also, the Famosos, which are also a product out of the Northeast, cost about a dollar less per can than the LaReginas DOPs. I suspect my now mentioning the Famosos in this post will get scott looking for them and doing a shootout with all the other San Marzanos he has ;D.

Peter

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3063
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2005, 02:31:32 PM »
Funny how things work out sometimes.  I picked up a case of the Famoso DOP four days ago when I was buying my flour and cheese.  I already did a shootout!  It is interesting to note how much my opinion of the cento has changed.  This can was totally different than the first one I tried, much better.  Now I see why Jeff says to shake the can first before buying.  here is what I found

La Regina DOP- these had the most pronounced san marzano flavor of the bunch, but I am not totally convinced this is the best thing.  On the pizzas, I almost preferred some of the more mild flavored tomatoes.  I have a case of these, and after opening two cans fo far, I am suprised to find that there was more green and unusable fruit pieces than I have found in the past.

Famoso DOP-  different texture than the La Reginas, almost stringy when compared to the other tomatoes.  The flavor might have been my favorite of the bunch, not quite as sharp tasting as the La Regina.  These also had some pretty thick puree, and about the same amount of green unusable fruit as above.

Collucio- mildest flavor, but my favorite texture.  a great tomato for sure.  same amount of usable fruit as the first two.  Watery liquid, not very thick.

Cento Italian whole peeled tomatoes-  Unlike the last can I bought this one had almost twice the amount of usable fruit as the Collucio, La Regina, and Famoso.  These don't even pretend to be san marzanos, but they tasted almost exactly like the Famoso and the Collucio DOP San Marzanos.  Light packing liquid, but who cares.  This can had so much usable tomato in it that I plan on buying these from now on, otherwise I will get the La Regina DOP if I want a stronger flavor. 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2005, 08:37:42 PM by scott r »

Offline JimBob

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 87
  • Age: 47
  • Location: Ohio
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2005, 05:16:45 PM »
I have the Cento DOP San Marzono's available at my market.  This is the only San Marzono tomato that I've tried but I can say that there is nothing like it. YUM!!!!! :)
JimBob

Offline scott r

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3063
  • Age: 43
  • Location: boston
  • I Love Pizzafreaks!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2005, 08:34:11 PM »
Jim Bob, I just wanted to make sure everyone understands that the Cento's I was trying in the shootout were not the San Marzano's.  They are simply the "Italian whole peeled tomatoes", not to be confused with yet another cento product "Italian style whole peeled tomatoes", or the Cento San Marzano.  The ones I was testing were the ones that Jeff Varasano has been recommending.  I will check out the Cento San Marzano's next!

Offline JimBob

  • Supporting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 87
  • Age: 47
  • Location: Ohio
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2005, 09:10:39 PM »
Let me know how they compare.
JimBob

Offline David

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 966
  • What’s So Funny ‘Bout Pizza Love and Understanding
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2005, 09:58:58 PM »
Peter
Do you happen to know anything about the Baresi or Refiliano + sons labelled brands?I  saw them at this link:


http://www.devwoman.com/index.php/kosher/newly_certified/P100
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline Pete-zza

  • Lifetime Member
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 22016
  • Location: Texas
  • Always learning
Re: La Regina Tomatoes in Seattle?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2005, 10:31:35 PM »
David,

I hadn't seen that website before, but I think that the LaRegina company mentioned in the tomatoes section is the name of a company in Italy (La Regina Di San Marzano JNC) that suppies Baresi and Refiliano et al. with Italian tomatoes. The website doesn't say that the tomatoes themselves are San Marzanos. I don't think that Accardi, the distributor up in the Boston area that sells the LaRegina San Marzanos, is affiliated with the LaRegina Italian company.

When I did my searches a while back for the LaRegina San Marzano tomatoes I did occasionally come across a foodservice company or a distributor of the LaRegina San Marzano tomatoes (from Accardi) but they were trade-only companies. When I run out of my LaReginas, I will most likely call Accardi and ask them if there is anyone in my area that carries them.

Peter


 

pizzapan