San Marzano - The King of all Tomatoes Resides in Naples
The San Marzano variety is so prized that it has been granted DOP status, but what makes this tomato special enough to garner such attention? Whether you use them fresh or canned for the winter months, you will soon learn why there is no other way to go.
Today, in Italy, at least 320 varieties of tomatoes are commonly grown—primarily in Sicily, Campania, Puglia, Lazio and the Veneto regions—making it one of the biggest producers of tomatoes in the world. The soil, air, water and sun with which Italy is so famously blessed all contribute to the extraordinary quality and taste of its tomatoes. Because they are thin-walled, not too sweet and have less pulp and seeds than other varieties, Italian-imported canned tomatoes are particularly sought after for sauce making. Of course, many varieties are consumed fresh in the months of harvest, which are July through September—and some, such as pachino, ciliegino and others, are available all year-round.
Though all the various cultivars of Italian tomatoes are renowned for their superior taste and the unique qualities that make them great for canning, the San Marzano tomatoes are special. Located close to the sea, in the valley of Mount Vesuvius (the only volcano in Europe to have erupted in this century), the area of San Marzano is blessed with the perfect ecosystem for growing tomatoes. The extraordinarily fertile volcanic soil—rich in nutritious minerals—and the sea-warmed climate combine together to form a superb environment for growing all kinds of produce—but especially tomatoes. The world famous, elongated pear tomatoes that are produced in San Marzano are exceptional. They have a thick, tasty, less acidic pulp and contain many fewer seeds and less water than other tomatoes—making them ideal for canning. Those grown here, in their original habitat, make for the best sauces in the world. Though the seeds from these tomatoes have been grown elsewhere with very good results, they cannot be compared with the ones produced here.
The D.O.P.—Denomination of Protected Origin—is a European designation given to certain products to guarantee their origin and assure the authenticity of the methods used in their production. The San Marzano tomato is the first and only vegetable to attain D.O.P status. It has been enormously important for the producers of the San Marzano tomato in the area around Vesuvius, southeast of Naples, to obtain the D.O.P. in order to safeguard the uniqueness of their tomatoes.
Just saying "San Marzano" on the front of the can is not enough.
When you buying San Marzano's look for these seals on the back of the can to identifying that it is a true San Marzano Tomato:
D.O.P. Denomination of Protected Origin
This is given to certain products to guarantee their origin and assure the authenticity of the methods used in their production.
The Certifying Body Governing Growing and Production
Certification of the San Marzano Group
* Consorzio formed by the farmers