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unico premium san marzano tomatoes - where to find in TO?

cecilia Aug 28, 2007 07:40 AM

Previous posts mention that I can find these at Loblaws and No Frills. But the ones in my area do not carry it. Can anyone point me to a specific location? Preferably the west end of Toronto but I can also go to Markham or Richmond Hill.

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    ishmael RE: cecilia Aug 28, 2007 08:09 AM

    I've gotten some recently at Highland Farms. Same price as regular tomatoes but much much better flavour. Not quite as good as some of the true DOP San Marzano such as Strianese or Gigli but pretty darn good.

    1. Tara9000 RE: cecilia Aug 28, 2007 08:14 AM

      I've only ever been able to find them at No Frills. They never seem to be at Sobey's, Dominion or Loblaws - which is where you would expect to find them. :)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tara9000
        Mila RE: Tara9000 Aug 28, 2007 08:55 AM

        Carlaw and Gerrad No Frills. 97 cents a can.
        Sorry, east end.

      2. pescatarian RE: cecilia Aug 28, 2007 08:20 AM

        Have you tried Longos or Fortino's at Jane and Major Mackenzie?

        1. Recyclor RE: cecilia Aug 28, 2007 08:25 AM

          How much are these Unico ones? I try to pick something good but still within a certain price range...I've seen Le Gourmand selling $1.29 cans of Aurora tomatoes for $5! So generally I don't pick the highly priced products expecting to get the best quality...

          5 Replies
          1. re: Recyclor
            Kagemusha RE: Recyclor Aug 28, 2007 08:59 AM

            Widely available at NoFrills and Loblaws around Mississauga/Brampton. They're usually 97 cents/can, same price as the ordinary watery Unicos. No point to buying the pricey imports IMHO. Many NoFrills also sell Cirio double strength tomato paste in tubes for around a buck and change--really handy when you just want a bit.

            1. re: Kagemusha
              Recyclor RE: Kagemusha Aug 28, 2007 09:16 AM

              Thanks!..I love it when things are good AND cheap!

              1. re: Recyclor
                chef223 RE: Recyclor Aug 28, 2007 01:44 PM

                If you want San Marzano tomatoes then you have to pay for them. I just bought a can today in the Dufferin and Lawrence area at Lady York Grocery, it cost 4 dollars a can. When you have San Marzano though , you can really taste the difference, and if I may make a suggestion when using the tomatoes don't add onion just garlic and lots of basil.

                1. re: chef223
                  Recyclor RE: chef223 Aug 28, 2007 05:39 PM

                  Thanks for the tip "chef", I'll have to do another comparison of high end brands and then my usual lower price choices...

                  1. re: chef223
                    Kagemusha RE: chef223 Aug 28, 2007 08:28 PM

                    With respect, you might try the Unico San Marzanos. We did a blind test earlier this year of raw and cooked in a basic sauce and the imports tied at best--and some lost out--with the Unicos. I couldn't honestly taste a 3 buck difference.

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              alisonb RE: cecilia Aug 29, 2007 12:17 PM

              i'm sure i missed it somewhere, but is there a big deal about 'san marzano' tomatoes? we buy really good organic ones, but i've long since ruled out unico, so i'm curious! fill me in! :-)

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                mobirose RE: cecilia Aug 29, 2007 09:59 PM

                I think I bought the Unico ones at the Real Canadian Superstore at Don Mills and Eglinton. They seem to be packed in a thicker sauce compared to the liquid in their regular tomatoes.

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                  cecilia RE: cecilia Aug 30, 2007 01:02 PM

                  Thanks everyone for your help. I just found them at Michael-Angelo's. I should have known to look for tomatoes at a grocery store owned by Italians...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cecilia
                    ishmael RE: cecilia Sep 8, 2007 08:41 AM

                    Picked some up at Highland Farms today for 79 cents each. Cheaper than the usuals at 1.29.

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                    Clayphish RE: cecilia Jan 17, 2009 02:59 PM

                    This is a bit older post, but I thought I might be able to contribute some as I've done some taste testing and what have you.

                    From my findings, these Unico tomatoes are ok, but you need to understand they're not like buying the real San Marzano tomatoes which cost upwards to 4 dollars a tin. The reason they're liked so much in taste tests is because of their higher salt content and added pureed tomatoes , which make them taste a bit more full bodied then the normal unico varieties. In truth, the real San Marzano tomatoes that you find that are priced higher taste cleaner, but with more inherent taste of tomato then the usual cheaper variety. They also don't have the added salt and actually need less salt in the long run because they're much more flavorful on their own. They also have a good balanced sugar content, which keeps them from tasting too acidic, but not too sweet once cooked down a bit.

                    Anyhow, I don't want to deter people from buying the Unico tomatoes, but I thought I'd give a bit more truth to what you're before people begin to think they're on to something with these cheap finds.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Clayphish
                      Kagemusha RE: Clayphish Jan 17, 2009 03:17 PM

                      "Truth" is that the taste difference is negligible for the price difference. I'd also argue that the higher price and "imported" Italian label amount to a placebo effect relative to the Unicos. There's no science(just pure subjectivity) behind the term "cleaner," either. The imports are nice, granted, but I'm not always willing to chuck $8 into the pot(i.e., 2 cans)for everyday sauce, sorry.

                      1. re: Kagemusha
                        Clayphish RE: Kagemusha Nov 17, 2011 07:01 AM

                        Kagemusha, as much as I agree with you on the cost, I'd hardly equate the taste difference to placebo effect. IMO, its pretty noticeable from first opening the can all the way to your finished dish. Now is it worth the premium? I'd say that would depend on how much you like spending. For me, if I'm cooking something special then I'm willing to spend a bit more.

                        on another note, I gotta say after growing San Marzanos in my garden, nothing compares to it. No import in a can can come close imo, not even the Romas I have more experience growing. It is truly remarkable when you have such a naturally sweet but balanced tomato that is accompanied by a velvety texture like you'd expect from butter (minus the butter taste of course). It is quite an experience and something I recommend to everyone to try. I would love to see San Marzanos being grown by Ontario producers for sale fresh.

                      2. re: Clayphish
                        Raquel RE: Clayphish Jan 18, 2009 03:15 PM

                        Perfectly described, Clayphish - and I'm in agreement with you.

                        1. re: Clayphish
                          chef_vagabond RE: Clayphish Jan 19, 2009 04:23 AM

                          I second that, Clayphish, also, I always add a dash of sugar to a large pot of other Italian, non SM tomatoes (never domestic, unless from my garden), never with SM. Yes, Kagemusha the cost difference is significant but they always seem to be on sale at the supermarket I go to.

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                          chef_vagabond RE: cecilia Jan 19, 2009 04:18 AM

                          Does it have to be Unico? As a rule Fiesta Farms on Cristie between Dupont and Bloor have San Marzano tomatoes on sale. They carry several brands, none Unico.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chef_vagabond
                            Kagemusha RE: chef_vagabond Jan 19, 2009 04:51 AM

                            I've been finding discount imports, too. Oddly, the same brands are also on offer at "premium" prices at upmarket vendors. Caveat emptor, as usual.

                          2. Moimoi RE: cecilia Nov 16, 2011 05:03 PM

                            I know this is an older post but my No Frills hasn't carried them lately so I'm also stumped. Going to try a Longo's... By the way, the key word here with these tomatoes is "type"... as in, San Marzano Type Tomatoes... Says it on the can, and yes, there is a difference between these and the regular, watery Unico tomatoes. I've compared them.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Moimoi
                              elvisahmed RE: Moimoi Nov 16, 2011 05:37 PM

                              Well Costco carries San Marzano Tomatoes in a large sized can as well as smaller sized 6 pack. They are not from Unico but are pretty darn good.

                              1. re: Moimoi
                                Kagemusha RE: Moimoi Nov 17, 2011 04:35 AM

                                Well, they're either imports or not. Want imported San Marzanos? You'll pay more than a buck and a half a can--the going rate for the Unicos. Those are still sold all over Mississauga in NoFrills. The Unico San Marzanos are now only about .20 more than the watery variety which are often on sale for .99/can. Haven't tried the Costco 6-pacs but friends like 'em. Think they're about $1/can?

                                1. re: Kagemusha
                                  Wandering Foodie RE: Kagemusha Nov 17, 2011 05:30 AM

                                  I don't recall the price but Costco's one is much more than $1/can. But it IS worth it. When I first tried it, I thought they added sugar but it's not on the ingredient list unless they're sneaking it in the tomato puree (2nd ingredient). It's by La Regina Di San Marzano di Antonio Romano s.r.l. It has replaced my "go to can" which was the Thomas Utopia.

                                  1. re: Wandering Foodie
                                    Kagemusha RE: Wandering Foodie Nov 18, 2011 04:17 AM

                                    Checked yesterday. They're $6.99/6 pac at Costco. That's $1.17/can, cheaper than reg. price watery Unicos most places.

                                  2. re: Kagemusha
                                    elvisahmed RE: Kagemusha Nov 17, 2011 07:27 AM

                                    Well Its Costco so one can hardly go wrong. I bought myself a huge can and it was only $4.69 I think . They do have sweeter finish and works well with some of the dishes. I don't recall the price for the six pack unfortunately.

                                  3. re: Moimoi
                                    GoodGravy RE: Moimoi Nov 17, 2011 08:16 PM

                                    I don't remember if they were Unico, but I did see cans of San Marzano tomatoes for sale at Loblaws for $4.99. They had the DOP stamps as well.

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                                    bogie RE: cecilia Nov 17, 2011 09:18 PM

                                    Those Unico San Marzano "Type" tomatoes aren't too bad at all for the $1.29 you pay for them. However, I have seen the real thing lately at least at my Fortino's. They are the Pastene brand of DOP San Marzano Tomatoes in a yellow can with red lettering and DOP stamp for $4.99. It is a great brand and yes that does matter as I have bought other DOP tomatoes that are mostly juice, very little tomatoes in the can and a real rip off. If the DOP folks aren't more vigilant with some of the other brands, they'll ruin their reputation. BTW, my usual tomato is the excellent POMI strained Italian tomatoes in tetrapak. At $2.99 per they're an excellent price and make a really fresh sauce.

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