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Feb 27, 2003 06:28 PM

Campari tomatoes -- tried them yet?

  • f

I'm usually extremely skeptical about any supermarket that comes already encased in plastic, but recently I've been turned on to Campari tomatoes, carried at my local Stop and Shop (I'm in Massachusetts).

They're usually nestled in among the expensive, but tasteless, hothouse tomatoes and they come in a clear, plastic hinged container. Small in size -- somewhere between a cherry tomato and a roma -- they are, without a doubt, the most genuinely tomatoey tomato I've ever had that didn't come right out of a garden, and in the middle of the most hellish New England winter in years, that's saying something!!

They come from Mexico and there's a link to on the container. $3.49 for 1.1 pounds -- so not cheap, but if you think you just can't last another day without tasting something that reminds you of a season without six foot high snowbanks,, then they're worth it in my book!!

I just made a tomato and Hellman's sandwich on sourdough bread with a little kosher salt and a generous grind of black pepper, and I will admit I was almost brought to tears at the first bite!!

Seek them out and try them -- let me know what you think!

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  1. Modern agribusiness is an interesting thing . I agree , Mexico produces some GOOD winter tomatos . But maybe we're not supposed to eat tomatos in February . It's called seasonal . I agree that theres nothing like a blast of midsummer in the middle of this dismal winter . You East Coast fellas have had it hard this year . I really feel for you all . Three feet of snow sucks . But maybe we should wait for July for tomatos , they taste really good then . I can all my leftover tomatos ,to get me through the winter . Can't wait for this summer .

    1. I buy them at Stop n' Shop all the time and they are so sweet! I love them.

      1. Yes, they're wonderful. They sell them at Costco too.

        1. Are those also called grape tomatoes, or are they different. If they are the same thing, I've had them before and really love them. They are like a mini Roma. Wonderful taste.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greg

            No, they are not grape tomatoes. They look like a regular tomato, only smaller and perfect in shape and color. They are fabulous! The best tomato available here during the non-summer tomato season. Have only seen them in Stop & Shop.

          2. Resurrecting an old thread here, but anyway....

            I haven't seen much mention of these by foodies. Personally, I just sort of stumbled upon them. But over the last couple winters, I've been really quite surprised to find that campari tomatoes seem to taste good the whole way through winter while being easy to find. Maybe not 'fresh, fully ripe brandywine just off the vine from your own garden' good, but very respectable compared to in-season tomatoes, and far better than I had come to hope for from winter tomatoes.

            Do people not know about these? Do they just not believe in using fresh tomatoes in the winter? Does the moderately high price scare people off? Or am I just the last to hear about em?

            8 Replies
            1. re: cowboyardee

              I buy them at Costco all the time, but not so much for their perfection as for their convenience and price. Tomatoes on the vine, at most supermarkets around here, seem to be better quality, but are much more expensive most of the time. There's also something about Campari's size (about like a golf ball) that seems just right when cut in half or quarters for salads.

              My sister-in-law refuses to eat grape tomatoes because she can't stand the tomato bursting in her mouth. I just shut up and nod. ;o]

              1. re: Midlife

                Where I am, the campari taste much better than the tomatoes on the vine (in the winter, anyway). Of course, this may vary by locale and grocer for all I know.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  Here in NJ too, cowboy. I used to totally forsake any winter tomatoes until I tried the Camparis.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    Yep – I cut into a beauty of a vine tomato for lunch today and it was mealy and yellow inside – tasted like nothing. The Campari are the best off-season alternative for sure. I just wish they were sold in a smaller container.

                    1. re: EM23

                      I'm assuming you are writing about the 2lb Costco amount? If that is so, and you have a Trader Joe's by you, look for "Pearl" tomatoes. They taste and look the same as Campari tomatoes to me. They are usually $2.99 in 1 lb clamshell containers in Northern California stores. I have also seen smaller amounts of packaged Camparis; at smaller stores, but for much higher prices.

                2. re: cowboyardee

                  I've seen them but I always pass them up. My thinking goes something like this: Any tomatoes on the supermarket shelves at this time of the year are either hothouse tomatoes or they had to be grown somewhere far from here. Hothouse tomatoes, in my experience, are not worth buying. If they come from a distant location, that means that they've traveled far and therefore have been treated or genetically modified to withstand the journey. Therefore, they can't possibly taste like "real" summer tomatoes, so why buy them. But now, after reading through this thread, I'm curious enough to try them.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    I agree, they're the best you can get out of season. I've been buying them for years.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      They're nice, but for most of the year, I can get Ugli Ripes for $2.49/pound and I prefer those in terms of flavor to the camparis.