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The Ultimate Tomato Taste Test

Earlier this month, I attended a tomato tasting held by Scott from Scott’s Pizza Tours. Wow!

It was definitely the most intense tomato experience I’ve ever had. We did a blind taste test of 16 canned tomatoes (and there were another dozen we didn’t make it to)! We rated the tomatoes on sweetness, color, texture and acidity, among other characteristics.

Scott was kind enough to tabulate the results, and below, I’m happy to share an excerpt of his recap with everyone!

PRICE: We tasted tomatoes that ranged from $0.99 to $12.80 per can. Cost per can did not have any impact on flavor. In fact, the lowest overall rating was awarded to the highest priced tomato. One of the top performing tomatoes actually carried the second lowest price tag! But there isn’t an inverse relationship either, because mid-priced tomatoes jumped around quite a bit with regard to their OVERALL ratings.

SWEETNESS: Top performers were Stanislaus Alta Cucina, Trader Joe’s, Cento (both varieties we tried) and Tuttorosso (blue label).

ACIDITY: The least favorite of the night, Di Casa Barone, wins for highest acidity. This was the only tomato that was canned with the skin still on. Next on the list is Stanislaus, Bionature (Whole Foods) and Trader Joe’s. So high acidity didn’t necessarily mean we didn’t like the tomato, we just didn’t like it when acidity wasn’t balanced with anything else. Both Stanislaus and Trader Joe’s scored high for both sweetness AND acidity.

COLOR: Once again, Stanislaus and Trader Joe’s win but Di Casa Barone is right behind. Color was a pretty close race across the board, so I guess the global tomato industry has gotten pretty good at preserving that angle of the product.

TEXTURE: Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and La Valle were right up at the top. Again, most scores were pretty good in this category. Stanislaus, Ciao, Bionature and Muir Glen were all within close range of the top spot.

OVERALL: This is the big category. Regardless of acid and color, overall flavor tells us if we actually enjoyed eating the dang thing. The winners are Trader Joe’s and Stanislaus. These two popped up in most of the other categories and they just so happen to be extremely reasonably priced. Trader Joe’s is $1.49 and Stanislaus is $4.53. Only problem is Stanislaus isn’t available at retail unless you belong to Restaurant Depot, which only requires a business license to join. No membership fee or anything! Also of note, Stanislaus comes only in large #10 size cans so you’re getting even more bang for your buck. TJ’s clocks in at about $0.05 per oz and Stanislaus is about $0.04 per oz. Both of these tomatoes were grown in California’s Central Valley.

Intense indeed! Huge thanks to Scott for organizing!

Also in attendance were Adam (Slice), Brooks (Pizza Commander), Nick (Pizza Rules) and Roberto (Keste). I’m ready for round two!

About I Dream Of Pizza

Some guys dream about winning the Powerball jackpot, making love to Kate Upton, or scoring the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. But personally, I spend most of my time dreaming about digging my face into a mouth watering slice of pizza. Fireworks are ignited. Music comes out of nowhere. And just like that, I’ve fallen in love once again. Since 2008, I've chronicled my pizza eating adventures in New York City and around the world on I Dream Of Pizza -- the web's most popular blog dedicated entirely to pizza.
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