They command a higher price than regular canned tomatoes, and as with any other premium brand, counterfeits follow. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. The individual cook or chef will need to taste the sauce frequently, and adjust the seasonings to compensate for the loss of the signature taste of the San Marzanos. These tomatoes give your sauce a thicker consistency, and are sweeter, richer, and less acidic in flavor. Problem is, almost all the recipes for sauce I can find call for the canned variety. The only canned tomatoes legally entitled to be sold as San Marzanos are those of the original cultivar, from the original growing region around the village of San Marzano in Campania. “And Castelvetrano is a tiny town in Sicily—there’s no way all those olives are coming from there,” adds Aquino Roitmayr. “This allows an intense minerality with the faintest flavor of raw shellfish.” Fabio Trabbochi, who owns several Italian restaurants in Washington, D.C., including Sfoglina, also loves the Piennolos for fast summer pastas. What Is the Difference Between Canned Diced Tomatoes & Canned Stewed Tomatoes? Out of all that devastation comes the beauty of San Marzanos. The DOP-designated area for San Marzanos encompasses a relatively limited number of small plots. Aside from its status as a protected designation under EU and international law, the San Marzano tomato is a plum-type cultivar that can be grown anywhere other tomatoes flourish. One telltale sign that your can of San Marzanos is a fake, according to Ruggiero, is that it contains crushed or diced tomatoes. But unlike San Marzanos and Piennolos, Il Miraclos have no special designation. We are experiencing an error, please try again. Joe Cicala, executive chef of Le Virtú in Philadelphia, uses two types of Italian canned tomatoes, one DOP San Marzano (Gustarosso) and a pointy cherry tomato also grown in Campania called Piennolo (Casa Barone), which are on the savory side and have their own DOP designation. San Marzanos grown and canned elsewhere make a usable substitute for the legitimate article. “They grow in a mix of volcanic soil with a healthy amount of sand and crushed seashells,” says Cicala. And yet you’d be hard-pressed to find a cooking magazine or website here in America that recommends them. What seems to be the issue with San Marzano tomatoes is widespread fraud. In Italy, tomatoes labeled as “San Marzano” must adhere to strict DOP (the Italian protected designation of origin) guidelines, which governs where they’re grown and how they’re processed. Chefs and home cooks alike will use San Marzanos when they are available, but sometimes a substitution is necessary. One of the more iconic brands in the U.S., with graphic white labels and pretty red illustrations of the plum tomato, is not even from Italy, even though its name is “San Marzano.” Look closely on the label and it says “Grown Domestically in the U.S.” The company is merely named after the famous tomatoes, which is completely legal to do in the U.S. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. San Marzano tomatoes are often considered the ideal tomatoes for making sauce. Two chefs use non-DOP tomatoes. Though Italian by blood and almost fanatically puritanical when it comes to ingredients, she was a die-hard fan of the tomatoes from Muir Glen, the organic California brand now owned by General Mills. In 2011, Edoardo Ruggiero, the president of Consorzio San Marzano, told the small Italian importing company Gustiamo that at maximum 5 percent of tomatoes sold in the U.S. as San Marzanos are real San Marzanos. A true San Marzano is labeled as “Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino.” The long, unwieldy phrasing doesn’t have the same marketing punch as those two easy-to-pronounce words, perhaps another clue to its realness. “They should be barely cooked. Some years ago, I was working with the editorial director at Martha Stewart Living on a line of prepared foods. Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. San Marzano tomatoes are thinner than Roma tomatoes (a common variety of tomato), with a pointed end. A substitute for crushed tomatoes in tomato sauce. I polled a bunch of chefs cooking Italian food in the U.S. to find out what tomatoes are best for cooking pasta sauces (or braises or shakshuka or whatever else you want to put canned tomatoes in).