Author Topic: the sad state of tomatoes in the US  (Read 2355 times)

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Offline scott r

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the sad state of tomatoes in the US
« on: August 31, 2005, 09:52:14 PM »
On my recent trip to Naples the first thing I noticed about the pizza was how much better the sauce was than what we have grown to accept here in the states.  I consider myself to be somewhat of a freak in that I have tried more brands of canned tomatoes than I care to admit.  So far my favorite Italian tomatoes are the La Regina brand San Marzanos.  Since I am a pizza freak, I of course had to know what the big difference was, and was hoping it was not poor sauce making technique on my part.  I can imagine how funny I must have looked to the locals, an obvious American tourist walking the streets of Naples with a can opener in hand, eating raw tomatoes.  As soon as I took my first sip of puree, before even biting into a tomato, I was shocked at the natural sweetness and lack of what I have just grown to accept.....tin can taste.  Even the texture of the tomatoes was more sturdy and much more similar to a good fresh tomato than what I have found here in the US.  Unfortunately after researching every brand of canned tomato that I found in Naples, I am sorry to say that none of them are available here in the US.

Has anyone had better luck than me with finding a brand that tastes like what they have in southern Italy???  I have seen jars of peeled tomatoes at $14 a jar, and am hoping that I will not have to spend that kind of money for what costs a few dollars a case over there.


Offline Les

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Re: the sad state of tomatoes in the US
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2005, 10:18:56 PM »
I too have tried every canned brand I can find and am not satisfied with anything yet.  But if it is to be a packaged product, my favorite so far is the Pomi brand.  They at least know not to put citric acid in it, and I like the flavor best so far.

Offline scott r

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Re: the sad state of tomatoes in the US
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2005, 10:43:12 PM »
thanks les, 

keep them coming, anyone else have favorite ITALIAN tomatoes.

Don't get me wrong, I love Escalon products, but that type of sauce is a whole different thing.

Offline Lydia

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Re: the sad state of tomatoes in the US
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2005, 12:27:18 AM »
I have found Trader Joe's brand of marinara to be the best use of San Marazano's and high quality oil oil. It's not bad for a Napolean sauce. It makes a great base for other sauces too.

It's the best "true" marinara from a can that I've come across.

Give it a try and let me know what you think
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline Lydia

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Re: the sad state of tomatoes in the US
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2005, 02:08:01 AM »
Carmelina e' San Marzano are the only brand of "AUthentic" tomatoes I have used. These are labeled as "original product of Italy" and "IFMA" are packaged for Mangia, in Mission Viejo, CA. These are indeed sweet tomatoes, but they still aren't quite to my liking, but they may be what your looking for. They have a site online.

Until then I'm sticking with the Trader Joe's Marinara.
The roundest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.They say he acquired his size from eating too much pi.

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: the sad state of tomatoes in the US
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2005, 02:17:28 AM »
As soon as I took my first sip of puree, before even biting into a tomato, I was shocked at the natural sweetness and lack of what I have just grown to accept.....tin can taste.  Even the texture of the tomatoes was more sturdy and much more similar to a good fresh tomato than what I have found here in the US. 

That's what I like so much about the Alta Cucinas, they smell, taste and feel so much fresher than any of the San Marzanos I've tried.

Several questions:  were the canned tomatoes you found in Naples packed with salt?  The San Marzanos I've seen have been canned with little or no salt, the Alta Cucinas are considerably saltier.   If the salt level in the Naples tomatoes is low or non-existant, do you know how and how much salt the pizzerias add to the pizzas?  Also do they do the basil leaf thing in the cans?  I remember hearing somewhere that they do that for the US market for taxation reasons, that when packed with basil it is a processed food vs. a preserved food...  Or something like that...

I may have to get me over to Naples one day.

Thanks for the report!

---Guy
Man does not live by bread alone.  There's also tomato, cheese and pepperoni.

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: the sad state of tomatoes in the US
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2005, 02:23:25 AM »
Maybe you should start an importing business.  As an incurable tomato lover I know I'd buy some.
Man does not live by bread alone.  There's also tomato, cheese and pepperoni.

Offline scott r

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Re: the sad state of tomatoes in the US
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2005, 07:02:16 AM »
Funny you mention the importing business because my brother in law is trying to push the same idea on me.  The trouble is, I really enjoy my current job. 

Yes, the tomatoes were more similar to Alta Cucinas than the san marzano's we get over here.  They also did not contain basil, which I think is part of the reason I liked them better.  Basil is amazing on pizza, but once it sits in a can I feel like the flavor changes the whole can for the worse.  As far as the salt question, I am not sure ??????


 

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