I don't get it either. While I am sure that there are some superb brands of tomato products from Italy
. I don't buy into this San Marzano Hype. Hell.. Hawaii has volcanoes I wonder if they have any quality tomato products? I'm sure it would cost even more to get them.. I recently read the following regarding San Marzano:http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/souptonuts/specialty_tomatoes.shtml
San Marzano Tomatoes
September 8, 2007
When the subject of tomatoes comes up at The Splendid Table the crew just smiles and indulges Lynne. Tomatoes are her passion, after all, and she knows what she's talking about. But when she sailed into the studio recently and announced she had been experimenting with a $26 can of San Marzano tomatoes the crew wondered if things had finally gone too far. Who but a mad woman would pay $26 for a can of tomatoes? Then she explained it was all in the name of "research."
San Marzanos are the Italian canned tomatoes every food writer tells you to buy. Everyone except Lynne, that is. She maintains they are hype and the ones she's tasted from Italy aren't very good. Then Nancy Harmon Jenkins was a guest on the show and talking San Marzano tomatoes. Nancy is a superb researcher whose latest book is Cucina del Sole: A Celebration of Southern Italian Cooking (William Morrow, 2007).
Nancy found out why the so-called San Marzanos aren't that great. First, most of them aren't grown in San Marzano's home turf, the area near Mount Vesuvius with its special volcanic soil. Second, years ago there was a change in the type of seed used. Now, according to Nancy, the original seed has been found and the true San Marzano is once again being grown in its original location and soil.
The gentleman who started growing the tomatoes produces a brand called Il Miracolo di San Gennaro, "The Miracle of San Gennaro." You can order them online at www.gustiamo.com
. Be warned: a 28-ounce can costs $11.50 plus $15.00 shipping (other items ordered at the same time are included in that shipping fee).
Are they worth it? Lynne says the tomatoes are very delicate, with excellent sweet/acid balance and mouth-filling good taste. These are the ones to use in simple sauces—a little olive oil, maybe some basil, not too much garlic. Are they worth ten times the price of Lynne's favorite canned tomatoes from the supermarket? No, unless you are a fanatic with deep pockets.