The Italian tomato collection.
10 Dita di Napoli – “Ten fingers of Naples” – This is a very old heirloom variety, which produces huge quantities of medium 6 ounce elongated fruit in clusters, pointed fruit reaching 5-6 inches in length. Fruits are produced in bunches, seemingly 10 fingers of hands of cylindrical tapering red fruit with an acidic flavor and firm flesh.
Belmonte – The large tomato is pale pink in color with hint of stronger staining toward the bottom, while the ribs remain almost always green. The characteristic of some are subtle ribbing and in other cases the shape of the fruit is oblong with the form of a drop at the end and thicker in the middle. AD Growing out more for 2016
Canestrino – These are fairly common in Lucca where they are grown specifically for a sauce tomato. Let these get real ripe on the vine and make sauce that day when you pick them, they are out of this world just like from your Grandma’s Italian kitchen. AD
Chico Bella Garfagnana – One of the two top tomatoes for production and flavor. These beauties ranked high in all taste tests and were producing late into the season. A definite winner and a beautiful rosy color. 16-20 ounce fruits. In the kitchen: They were great for passata and fresh eating. AD
Corleone (Ribbed) & (Plump) – These were found with some super ribbed and some not so ribbed. The gene pools were isolated and kept apart to have a more ribbed version of the Corleone, and as I preferred the more upright lightly ribbed plum. In the kitchen: These broke down very easily and made a wonderful sauce, in the top ten. AD
Costoluto Fiorentino – “Beefsteak type from Florence” – Red, 12-16 ounces slightly flattened fruit. Outstanding taste. Large vigorous Indeterminate plant with good production. This makes a really nice sauce. AD
Costoluto Pesarese – Ribbed Beefsteak of Pesaro A ribbed tomato and slightly flattened, marked by obvious ribs and fairly compact, large tomato. Soft flesh and the taste is pleasantly aromatic. Little is known about this micro climate varietal, but it is clear they are a rare variety. Production area: Urbino area of the Pesaro region. In the kitchen: Ideal for salad, best eaten raw. These were chosen best in show at the 2015 PSH tasting. AD
Cuore di Bue Albenga – “Ox Heart of Albegna” – It was introduced into Europe at the beginning of the 16th century. Also called Ligurian Pear of Albenga. Large variety, ribbed, heart-shaped. Once considered bad, in the ‘80s it began to be appreciated for its special qualities of dry pulp, few seeds, and little juice. The color ranges from pinkish to red-orange and sweet.
Datterino Marchetti – “Little Dates” – This bright red tomato has the oblong shape of a date palm, reminiscent of its name desert fruit name. It has a high sugar content that makes it sweet and fragrant, with few seeds and a thin skin. The plant grows in single or double clusters with growing in herringbone formation, each bunch producing 8 to 14 tomatoes. AD
Evan’s Red Market Plum- Collected in the city of Asti, these pointy 8 ounce red sauce tomatoes with green shoulders are tasty on the vine for a long time. They made a tasty fresh sauce reminiscing of strawberries. Could use some more selection for the shape you want, some were more plum shaped than others.
Ficarazzi – A strange little 8 ounce tomato with a great flavor just not that appealing to the eye. These unusual tomatoes usually have stayed in production despite the shape, it’s the flavor that matters for the Italians. AD
Genovese Cimelo Liguria – One of the highest producing flat round green shouldered with exceptional flavor. The loved the heat and were another earlier and late season bloomer. Good 12 ounce flattened fairly uniform light red. AD
Gigante di Rotonda – “Giant Round Tomato” – This ancient variant of the Cuor di Bue, is quite sweet, aromatic, very fleshy, and contains few seeds, the flavor of that of a long lost antique tomato. The color is a beautiful red, even slightly purple, lighter in the ribs and their form can vary from ribbed to almost heart shaped. It contains few seeds, consists of many lobes, the skin comes off very easily from the pulp which is fleshy and abundant, with a sweet note that prevails the acidity and has a distinctive aroma. This tomato size is truly remarkable and can reach up to 3 pounds. In the kitchen: The giant tomatoes are great in salads or served on a bruschetta accompanied by olive oil. AD
Pantano Romanesco – The shape of the fruit is round yet flattened, slightly ribbed, similar to Costoluto Genovese but not quite as flat, is brilliant-red with an almost purple hint, with meaty interiors bursting with rich and complex flavors. Deep red fruits, quite firm, medium to large size. Vigorous plants.
Perino Giallo – The little yellow pear tomato that got away. These were originally marked as Belmonte until growing out revealed that these were the little misshapen yellow that were on the list that weren’t tagged! AD
Piennolo del Vesuvio- One of the oldest tomatoes and most traditional of the Vesuvius region, of oval or slightly plum-shaped with a pointed apex, frequent ribbing towards the stalk and thick skin of ruby red, high consistency pulp, and lively flavor intense and sweet- sour. TM
Pomodorino B’ischia – One of the great drying and fresh eating 1 inch red plum tomatoes. Buon appetito, e ci vediamo alla pros-sima, sempre da Ischia, ciao ciao! “Good appetite, and see you next time, always from Ischia, bye bye!” AD
Principe Borghese – Very vigorous plant the small fruits are arranged in clusters , they have a round drop shape. Grows in clusters of small bright red oblong fruits that dry well, able to keep hanging all winter. Production area is the slopes of Vesuvius outside Naples In the kitchen: Great flavor in sauces and bruschetta. AD
Rosa di Benevento (Small ones are called “Tondino”) This tomato has a high concentration of vitamin C and is a compact and sweet variety. By far these were the most productive, every farm should grow these based on production value and flavor! In the kitchen: In Benevento, these tomatoes are prepared (with pureed tomatoes, abundant basil, pecorino, and whipped with mozzarella di bufala cream), in a traditional pasta called “Scarpariello” made with saragolla, an ancient durum wheat flour that dates back to the Middle Ages. AD
Rosa di Sorrento – Particular to Sant’Agnello and Piano, it’s a 1 pounder with a round shape to be a light red color fading into pink with green hues. It has a delicious pulp, meaty and compact with a delicate and sweet taste. AD
Yellow Piennolo of Serbia – Small pointed 1 ounce yellow cherry. One the relatives to the red version, this one originally is from Serbia but grown in heavy production as a drying tomato in Southern Italy. In the kitchen: Love these dried but they are juicy enough for fresh eating in salads. TM
AD = Adipa in Lucca, Pasquale in Lucca
AV = Antiqia Varterti, Roberta in Parma
CF = Casina de Fructase, Bruno and Family
NB = Nico Biologic, Frederico in Lucca
TM = Collected at Terre Madre the largest Italian food conference anywhere