As I've mentioned a few times, a local pizzeria has what I consider to be the ultimate sauce, bright and tomato-y, which I've not come close to duplicating. Despite being a long-time customer they would never tell me what tomatoes they use. About a week ago I walked there after midnight (I live about 4 blocks away) to see if I could learn anything from peering in their dumpster. Unfortunately all the garbage was in tightly-tied black bags. I heard voices from the property behind so I didn't do any digging.
So I figured it would remain a mystery. Until this morning, when I was at the drive-thru of the donut shop (next door to the pizzeria) getting my cup of coffee. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a #10 can rolling around the parking lot of the pizzeria. So I grabbed it. It is "Alta Cucina" whole peeled plum tomatoes made by Stanislaus Food, a name I recognized from this board.
Interestingly the can reads:
"Italian chefs have long prized the unequalled sweet, delicate texture of true San Marzanos grown and packed in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. During its day there was no better canned tomato in the world. But because of escalating labor costs, true San Marzanos are, with rare exceptions, no longer available.
That's why by using specially selected varieties and growers, Stanislaus has, in my opinion, produced the closest thing to Old Italy in America - Alta Cucina Plum Tomatoes - soft, sweet, tender and ultra-premium quality for the restauranteur who insists on the very best available!"
Now about an hour later I'm on my way to Wegman's to buy some of my favorite mozz. when I look up and see a delivery truck right in front of me with the following printed on the back:
Orlando Foods, distributors of Stanislaus Tomato Products and Grande Cheese.
!!! Not only the tomatoes but also the cheese I've been wanting! So I tailed the driver to his next stop and got directions to the company. He said there is a "cash and carry" shop there.
I got there and it was a pizzamakers' dream! I spoke with the lady at length, dropped a lot of names I learned on this board: Escalon, Sclafani, San Marzano (only ones they have are Pastene, non-DOP), Caputo (she never heard of it), etc. I ask about the cheese, Grande whole milk is the most expensive they have at $2.29/lb by the case. There's also Polly-O and Rosa (cheapest at about $1.69/lb). She said individual loaves could be bought for $.10 more per pound.
So I'm in heaven. I picked out 7 cans of tomatoes all together, lots of stuff I've only read about here:
I went to the counter to check out when the big problem happened. I asked for a loaf of Grande cheese, "Oh no, we don't break open cases of that. It's too expensive and we don't sell much of it." Bummer. A case is 8 loaves at approx. 7 lbs. per loaf. I beg, I plead, I cajole. She goes back to ask the manager and comes back in about 5 seconds with the answer: "No." I seriously consider buying the case.......56 lbs of cheese......no way the wife would kill me.
So close and yet so far. Well at least I have lots of new tomatoes to play with.
Damn. $2.29 a pound. I'm paying $5.99 a pound at Wegman's for my favorite, I hoped to be able to compare.