Tomatoes & Sauces
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The star of countless beloved dishes, Italian cuisine just wouldn’t be the same without the versatile tomato. Brought to the country from the Americas in the 16th century, tomatoes were first considered to be poisonous by many Italian peasants due to their botanical relationship to deadly nightshade. Luckily, a few intrepid gourmands ventured a taste. They found that not only were they not dangerous, tomatoes were in fact delicious!
Today, the sun-soaked regions of southern Italy are home to a number of internationally renowned tomato varieties. The most famous are San Marzano, grown in the rich volcanic soil of Agro Sarnese-Nocerino near the base of Mount Vesuvius. They’re so special that the name is protected by DOP status, meaning only tomatoes grown in this area can claim it. Even so, it’s common to see labels claiming American-grown tomatoes are “San Marzano style.” Savvy shoppers know to look for the DOP seal that guarantees they're getting the real deal straight from southern Italy.
But San Marzano are not the only tomatoes worth seeking out. From the tiny, ultra-sweet datterini of Sicily to golden, pear-shaped beauties from Corbara, there is a world of Italian tomato goodness to explore. They all have a different sweetness, acidity, and rich umami flavor to bring to your tomato sauce, salads, and more; some are the perfect compliment to a fresh, zesty marinara, while others shine in a long-simmered Bolognese.
Notoriously sensitive to the weather, the flavor of an out-of-season winter tomato is wan and bland. Luckily, Italian farmers have perfected the art of preserving these flavorful gems at the height of their summer-scented sweetness. Whether they’re whole, pureed, or processed we’ve got all the best tomato products from Italy. You’ll always be just minutes away from a luscious pasta sauce or savory pizza with these in your pantry.