Author Topic: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.  (Read 10119 times)

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Offline Frankie G

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San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« on: February 08, 2009, 12:47:39 PM »
ok....  I am ready to have my mind changed. :-\

I am a foodie.  I weigh 300#.  I love Italian food.  I can taste the differences between quality and non-quality.

and!

I am resonable and I am open to changing my mind if shown the differnce.

But.... :angel:

I JUST DON'T GET IT!  I do not think that San Marzano Toms (yes DOP) are as good as fresh pack products like Stanislaus Tomatoes.

I have tried a few brands... and they do nothing for me.  Nothing.

I have had Cento, Ital brands (two kinds), and a couple others...

Ok.....  that being said... someone sell me.

Frankie G


Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2009, 12:50:43 PM »
FG,

I can't sell you on that! IMO Eden organic crushed tomatoes are better & cheaper. I had several guests last night trying to figure out what I added to my sauce to give it that sweet tomato taste.

PNW

Offline Matthew

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2009, 03:48:22 PM »
I'm gonna have to ditto that one.  I use to be a die hard San Marzano guy & if they weren't stamped DOP I wouldn't even look at them.  Since trying Stanislaus & Escalon I'm also sold!

Offline jeff v

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2009, 04:15:59 PM »
See I am the opposite.

Eden organic are way too acidic for me, though I do use 6in1's for some pizza, and once in a while pasta sauce.

If I'm making spaghetti marinara or a neo stye pizza it's lights out difference for me (meaning lightly or not cooked). Even for pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread soup) I prefer SM's. SM's have way more meat and less seeds as well, and fresh ones have very thin skin.

The American brands always beat out the Italian brands In Americas Test Kitchen tastings for the same reasons you guys state (fresher). They also say it's because they are packed in puree, and American brands are packed in juice. Some people describe the Americans as brighter, while I say SM's are more complex and tomatoey.

Bill SF/NM has a super palate-maybe he'll chime in.
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline ERASMO

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009, 04:31:55 PM »
I just ordered a couple cans of the Eden to try.
Cant wait to give them a try.

Offline djones148

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2009, 08:11:29 PM »
San Marzano's certainly have a different flavor... I'd bet that in a blind taste test in the U.S., the California tomatoes would always win because people here are accustomed to that sweeter taste.

Also, not everyone in Italy thinks that San Marzanos are the best. Travel and Leisure had an article (found here http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/tastes-of-italy
) where they talked to a guy with Slow Food in Naples and he said the following:

" "Did Pace give you his spiel about extra-virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes, and buffalo mozzarella?" Francesco Colonnesi inquired with a faint chuckle. Wearing a cream linen suit crinkled just so, Colonnesi introduced himself as a city judge, amateur pizza scholar, and member of the Naples division of Slow Food. "Don't listen to Pace," he implored. Buffalo mozzarella oozes too much fat, and the whole San Marzano thing is, to Colonnesi, a ploy to promote a boutique regional product."





Offline Jersey Pizza Pride

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2009, 10:21:27 PM »
I couldn't agree more.  Seven years ago when San Marzanos were less popular and I had to go to NYC to get them, they were incredible.  You couldn't even put anything else in the same league as a stamped DOP.  Over the years as they have grown much much much more popular, I notice that some of the brands are just plain horrible.  I'm guessing this has something to do with supply and demand.  What I do now is look for rare imported brands that you can't find in bulk as much.  Small italian delis and asian/italian farmer's markets by me have lots of different ones.  Then it's just luck of the draw.  I tried a brand called Merro a few months ago which were so-so.  At 1.25 a can I couldn't complain.

Offline Frankie G

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2009, 01:56:40 PM »
does anyone know what tomatoes Grimaldi's uses?

They were wonderful on a pie!

Frankie G

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2009, 02:41:18 PM »
does anyone know what tomatoes Grimaldi's uses?


Frankie G,

I don't know for sure what Grimaldi's in Brooklyn is using for tomatoes but Grimaldi's is now part of a chain with centralized purchasing. As I noted at Reply 16 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3669.msg54056.html#msg54056 when I visited the Grimaldi's in Scottsdale, AZ, I was told that the tomatoes are Carmelinas, a non-DOP San Marzano.

Peter


Offline scott r

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2009, 03:49:21 PM »
Peter, thats also what they were using at the Brooklyn Grimaldi's last time I was there.  Here is a link to the product


http://www.carmelinabrands.com/pages/product_detail.php?pID=30011
« Last Edit: March 01, 2009, 03:53:07 PM by scott r »

Offline BMAN111

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2009, 04:09:21 PM »
Haven't you heard... San Marzanos are grown in the volcanic soil of Mt. Vesuvius!!  Anyone who is anybody on the Neapolitan scene says San Marzanos are the absolute sh@t!!  You must agree and conform immediately!!  We will tolerate no independent thought or descent!!  :) 

Offline David

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2009, 04:28:27 PM »
http://www.carmelinabrands.com/pages/san_marzano.php

Thanks Scott.Carmelina goes into more detail here, is worth the read,and you can decide for yourself.
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

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2009, 04:36:40 PM »
David,

That's the page I linked in my Grimaldi's-Scottsdale post.

Peter

Offline David

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2009, 04:55:08 PM »
Oops! Sorry Peter,..delete it please. :-[
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

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2009, 05:22:20 PM »
David,

No harm. I didn't expect people to read my entire Grimaldi's post to see that, especially since I identified the tomatoes.

Peter

Offline BMAN111

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2009, 10:17:53 PM »
I looked around today, trying to find a cash and carry in Houston that would sell to the general public.  No luck so far.  Do you all know of someone who I could mail order this through.  I would pay one of you  all up front if you would ship me some. I would like to try the "PIZZAIOLO® AUTENTICO PIZZA SAUCE".  I have nothing against using prepared sauce, but just haven't found anything that good at the grocery store.  This stuff looks great.

Offline BMAN111

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2009, 09:12:17 AM »
Disregard.  I ordered some on PennMac... glad I found them.  Ordered some Grande cheese to try as well. Thx.


Offline NepaBill

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2009, 12:04:31 PM »
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.

Offline JConk007

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2009, 01:18:06 PM »
BMan,
I have tried that sauce got it from Penn Mac as well. Though it was very good, a few tasters even commented they liked the sauce. It does have a stong basil flovor to it I would use again But the #10 can is too much even with pizza parties I like to mix it up .
Enjoy and post your findings ***1/2 of  ***** stars from JConk
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Offline tdeane

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2009, 03:56:53 PM »
I agree with you Frankie. I use Stanislaus and I think they're great.

Offline telehort

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2009, 06:26:32 PM »
I also agree with you Frankie..I am here in Sacramento and I use Stanilaus or Escalon.  I think the Escalon brand Bella Rossa with the Tuscan Herb tomato sauce is fantastic

Offline Frankie G

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2009, 01:19:54 PM »
Thanks for EVERYONE'S reply....  this one is fun.

As far as that pizzaiola sauce... isn't that a Stanislaus product??

http://www.stanislaus.com/products/real-italian-products/ready-products

I like the cacciatore sauce ... it's my favorite.

Frankie G

Offline Frankie G

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2009, 12:54:42 PM »
to me... they're the best! ;D

Offline tdeane

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2009, 03:50:13 PM »
to me... they're the best! ;D
I agree. The Stanislaus distributor came by recently and gave me a case of their Trattoria sauce to try. They knew I wouldn't use it in the restaurant but gave it to me anyway. Really nice guys and great service. I brought it home and gave it to my in-laws. It was definitely the best canned pasta sauce I have ever had. It was just ground tomatoes, onions, fresh basil, salt, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. I may be missing a couple of ingredients, but it was better than most restaurant sauces i have had. They are a great company.

Offline cranky

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Re: San Marzano Tomatoes - I don't get it.
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2009, 01:08:19 AM »
There are two ways tomatoes are prepared for commercial canning, hot break and cold break.  With hot break the tomatoes are introduced to a 180 degree f, bath and 150 in cold.  The difference is the hot break destroys pectinase, an enzyme that destroys natural pectin present in the tomato.   Pectin is a thickener.  It is what makes fruit jell, or jelly.  With the pectinase destroyed tomatoes can be concentrated to higher concentrations.  Tomato sauces are measured in brix (thickness) as opposed to percentage of solids.   Brix are measured by doing what is called a slump test.  Concentrated tomatoes are put in a container kind of like a sleeve and when a door is opened on the bottom the contents run out on a table, slump.  The distance they slump determines the thickness or brix.   So you could have different levels of tomato solids in a paste or sauce of certain brix or thickness. 

Sauce is about 8 to 10 degrees brix, puree higher and paste can be about 30 brix , made from hot break tomatoes.  A 50 brix cold break tomato would be the same thickness as 30 hot break.  The level or percent of tomato solids in a can, not thickness, determines how tomatoey a sauce tastes.  Tomato sauces and pastes are made from hot break and tomato juice is made from cold break where the pectinase breaks down the pectin.  The juice solids are concentrated very high at harvest time and stored and water is added back at the time of canning.  The purpose is saving money.   Tomato concentrate, or the bulk of it is stored in aseptically packed gigantic black bladders that sit outside in lots.  Sometimes you can see them on the back of flatbed trailers going down the highway.  The higher quality solids are stored in drums at 33 degfrees f.   This is much more costly, but you get what you pay for.  The better brands (Campbells juice for example) do not store in plastic bladders at ambient temps, but store in drums under refrigeration. 

The best sauce brands do not repack from paste, but go straight into the cans from sauce.  This is costlier.  So if a label does not say paste you are getting a better can of sauce.

Some people don't like the idea that citric acid is added to the can.  The same people will open a can of tomatoes and add vinegar or lemon juice.  This is silly.  Citric or lemon juice or vinegar do the same thing, add some crispness to the taste.  It brings out flavor.  It is better to introduce it to the can, because the product will have longer shelf life.

I grow many varieties of tomatoes and have for years.  The pear tomato or San Marzano is prized, especially by commercial packers, because it is meatier.  That means it has less water to drive off when making a sauce.  That saves money.  This has nothing to do with flavor.  There are much better tasting varieties.   I have grown them all and the pear tomatoes are not tasty.  The variety that tastes best depends on location and climate.  I know what tastes best where I live, but that would change from location to location and soil to soil type.   Soil amendments also effect flavor greatly.  Different tomato varieties taste better in certain recipes.   There is no comparison to the tomatoes grown at home and picked by hand to the commercial brands available, if you know how to handle them in the kitchen.   

The reason Dom Pepino is a good product is it is made from Jersey tomatoes.  New Jersey has the best tasting tomatoes in the world.  I do not live there, so I am not prejudiced.  I live on the west coast, but tomatoes are a hobby.  The Scalfani family, last I checked, owns the plant that produces Dom Pepino and has since the 1940s or longer.  They know what they are doing.  Their equipment is ancient compared to modern evaporators.  They can other tomato products or labels there, but I think it is from tomato solids shipped in.

Freezing tomato is a good idea.  Canning is one option.  If I can tomato I reduce the volume by half, double the solids.  You can can tomato in beer bottles.  It costs next to nothing and works well.  Don't add anything, but some salt.  Add the spices later.   

While citric acid is not a problem, many packers use calcium chloride.  This harms flavor.     


 


 

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