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Jul 4, 2009 10:17 AM

San Marzano brands?

Sorry for the repeat of this post. I think I posted it under the wrong section -- I'm still new at this.
I keep hearing how wonderful San Marzano tomatoes are so I purchased a can, thinking there is only one brand. It is by Carmelina. Then my local grocery store started carrying Dell' Alpe San Marzano tomatoes. Is one brand better than the other? What should I be looking for?
Thanks for any advice you can give me.

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    1. re: irishnyc

      Not that it makes them less, but l believe these are San Marzano tomatoes, grown and packaged in USA.

    2. San Marzano refers to an area in Italy where the tomatoes are grown, and where the soil and the local variety make for something pretty special (though tomatoes grown elsewhere in Italy can be fantastic, as well.) There are any number of "labels", some with "certificates" of authenticity, some without. In the U.S., some packagers are using the San Marzano wording for California grown tomatoes as if it were a tomato variety, which it is not, as far as I know, and I think it's deceptive. (Note to irishnyc, your favorite as posted in the image is in fact from California.) Other packagers often write "San Marzano" type, with the word "type" often in smaller letters...Just check to see if the tomatoes are a product of Italy...

      2 Replies
      1. re: penthouse pup

        San Marzano is an heirloom variety of tomato. Here are three different types of San Marzanos for which you can buy the seeds from a US company.
        Another US company:

        This variety has been traditionally grown in Campania in Italy and the Italian government has granted tomatoes packed in that area its certification DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta, the Italian equivalent of Protected designation of origin.)
        The identical San Marzano heirloom tomato is grown in other areas in Europe and the US. It can be grown successfully at the same latitude with the same growing conditions.
        There are quality S. Marzanos from CA that are the equal of, and some which are better than, Italian brands.

        1. re: penthouse pup

          The brand that Irishnyc mentions uses San Marzano seeds, Just talked to them at Fancy Food Show regarding this.

        2. Brands that are D.O.P. are certified and grown in a specific region of Italy. Those that are not may be San Marzano tomatos or other similar plum tomatos grown out side of the region. Many brands offer both D.O.P. and non certified maters. Cento and Nino brands are popular in my area.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Fritter

            Thanks for the information, correcting what I wrote earlier about "deceptive"'s a lot like varietal grapes and wine-making...pinot noirs from California are different than pinot noirs from Burgundy, and along with technique, it's also about soil...

            1. re: penthouse pup

              Yeah, and sometimes there's a great pinot from CA, and a mediocre one from Burgundy.
              Tomatoes are agricultural products, subject to variation, even heirloom S. Marzanos, wherever they are grown or packed.

          2. I'm in New England. I use the Sclafani brand of Italian San Marzano tomatoes, in paste. I have yet to find a brand that is as tasty.

            1. Hooked for life. I've grown one of the cultivars, but these D.O.P's keep me coming back.