San Marzanos

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San Marzano Tomatoes:

What are they? A breed of heirloom plum tomato originally grown in the volcanic rich soil near Mt. Vesuvius, celebrated for their thin skin, sweet flesh, and low acidity. They are generally recognized as the best sauce tomato by top chefs. See the wikipedia article. Though San Marzanos are now grown in other places outside of Italy, the Italian varieties are the best (designated by the certified EU "DOP" label).

Why buy? They're more expensive than regular canned tomatoes. This seems like more than enough reason to refuse! But there are several reasons why you should go and get them RIGHT NOW to use in your next tomato based creation.

1) The taste: I've tried every tomato brand out there, and San Marzanos are by far the most flavorful, delicate, and non-metallic canned type available. The texture is smooth, silky, never grainy. They are slightly sweet, but never overpoweringly so. If you don't believe me, see the taste test from Food & Wine.

2) Ethics: Well, we all know the horrors of tomato farming in the U.S. If not, take a look at this. When you buy ethically grown tomatoes imported from Italy, you're casting your vote against slave labor and GMOs.

3) The taste! They're so good!

So, now I've convinced you, right?

Where can I find them? Most grocery stores carry at least one brand of San Marzanos. I usually use Centi, (see the link to San Marzano Tomatoes at the beginning of this post), as that's the one most readily available. Specialty stores and Whole Foods carry more brands, which are probably better (and slightly more expensive), but I've been happy with Centi. Remember, the can should specify "DOP" to confirm it's a true imported tomato.


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