Various Brands of San Marzano Tomatoes
I would like to hear CH's opinions on canned San Marzano tomatoes.
1) Costco carries the brand Nina and the label says San Marzano - are they true San Marzano tomatoes or 'San Marzano style'?
2) My other question is with regard to the Cento brand. I believe they are true San Marzano tomatoes...am I correct?
I notice one big difference between Cento canned tomatoes and the other brands (like Nina) that I've tried: The Cento tomatoes are of a softer consistency and packed in a thick sauce. I think they are nicer to cook with and make a very good sauce.
3) Many other brands have tomatoes of a harder texture and are packed in liquid.
What are your opinions are what brands do you prefer to use?
The Nina tomatoes at my Costco say "from San Marzano region" in very small letters over the tomato logo on the cans, almost as an afterthought. They don't specifically say they're San Marzano tomatoes or even from the San Marzano region. Are those the ones you mean? The giant can is much cheaper than Cento San Marzanos from the supermarket, but if something sounds too good to be true...
I'm using Simpson Imports San Marzanos, mostly.
These are not imported — the tomatoes are grown in California. They are the same cultivar grown in San Marzano. I buy them because they are domestic and because I like the result, not because they are inexpensive (they're not, where I get them). I just don't see any good reason to bring tomatoes from Europe to North America.
For certain recipes, I use Strianese D.O.P. San Marzanos, because that's a brand consistently available and because I like the result. These have a thicker purée than the others, and are available in a small can.