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james 02-27-2006 02:21 PM

Fake San Marzano's
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Look at what I found shopping yesterday. Genuine, fake San Marzano tomatoes. The label says Pomidori Pelati, there is are six big, red plum tomato graphics that say San Marzano, and it comes in the standard 28oz size. A closer look says that is Grown Domestically in the US. No mention of the tomato type.

They were expensive and not that good.

This seems to be a case of marketing crossing the line, and going too far.

Beware. :-)


PizzaArthur 10-27-2006 01:46 PM

The real ones have a serial number on them. Lots of fakes out there.

DrakeRemoray 10-27-2006 02:17 PM

I have seen these at williams sonoma.

I have also seen the "La Bella San Marzano" brand of tomatoes. So though they may sell some san marzanos under that brand, not all of the tomatoes sold under that brand are san marzano...

For example here are La Bella San Marzano Cherry Tomatoes

And these do not look like San Marzano either!

San Marzano's should say DOP on the can...


james 10-27-2006 02:36 PM

There is a Gov't seal
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You're right. There is a govenment seal that you can see on the can, complete with a little computer stamped logo, number, etc. Here is a photo. Normally, this is the sort of thing I would not take seriously, but the quality difference between the knock-offs and the real thing is big. Some things are just worth the effort, and this is one of them.


acbova 01-31-2009 07:24 PM

Re: Fake San Marzano's
Now I'm torn, I saw a can of those in the store, (before reading this post) bought the diced ones, strained heated and added a bit of garlic... and it was the best sauce I've ever made.

gjbingham 01-31-2009 10:06 PM

Re: Fake San Marzano's
Its all a matter of tastes. Try the San Marzano, then your best sauce again. Just like wines, not all prefer the same things. Cook for you, not for us.

acbova 01-31-2009 10:23 PM

Re: Fake San Marzano's
Sounds like a lovely experiment! That's pretty much how I got this far :)

PhotoPlog - Pizza

70chevelle 02-01-2009 06:16 AM

Re: Fake San Marzano's
I've used Delallo's San Marzano's (with the serial number) and they are very good. I've also used the LaBella San Marzano's and they also are very good. The difference? A 28oz can of Delallo's are $4 and a 106oz can of the LaBella are $6. I'll have to do a $10 double blind test next time I make sauce.

Ken524 02-04-2009 09:30 PM

Re: Fake San Marzano's
I found Delallo's at our local Kroger store a few months ago. They carry the generic "imported Italian plum" tomatoes (crushed or diced) and also the "government seal" San Marzano's. I've tried all three with good results. The ones with the seal are about $3 more per can.

I too was thinking about doing a double blind test. I'll let you know how it turns out! :)

KEmerson 02-05-2009 03:40 AM

Re: Fake San Marzano's
I just brought home a few cans of Cento whole, peeled tomatoes. It was a quick purchase and I only took a cursory look at labels. The store more or less had mixed types in one spot so that Cento's real San Marzanos - the ones with the official seal - was in with their San Marzano style tomatoes - the ones without the seal. The point is that both say San Marzano right on the label but closer inspection shows that both are not the same. The cans themselves were slightly different from one another too.

So regardless of whether San Marzanos make a difference or if you'd know the difference, it helps to know what to look for and then to actually look for it.

Also, just to comment on the crushed vs. whole: There IS a difference in taste regardless of which taste is preferred. But there is a difference. I don't know what it is or what causes it, but the whole taste better (to me) as though heat is required to crush, or too much metal, or, I don't know, but some of the mojo goes wandering once the crush happens and it gets canned. And it isn't simply the act of crushing. There's a difference in taste between whole tom's I crush myself and those canned crushed. Go figure.

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