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30 January 2023

The D.O.P. Difference

How can you tell real San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes from fakes?

San Marzano Tomatoes are renowned for their plump flesh, fewer seeds, low acidity, sweetness, and versatility. The origins of the San Marzano tomato can be traced back to San Marzano sul Sarno – a small town in Italy southeast of Naples. Originally grown in the fertile, volcanic soils of Mount Vesuvius, the first seeds of the variety are fabled to have been received as a gift from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples in 1770. And what a gift they are!

In addition to San Marzano being the name of a plum tomato variety, which can be grown in various parts of the world, San Marzano is also a region of Italy. The magic happens (and the authenticity) when you have a true San Marzano tomato that is grown in a small region of Italy called Sarnese-Nocerino. Only San Marzano Tomatoes grown in that specific area receive a unique, Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta or D.O.P. designation…that means you have something special.

What is D.O.P.? The Italian government designates areas in the country and producers who can make the foods with a D.O.P.  label, which is Italian for Protected Designation of Origin. These strict regulations specify the type of tomato that can be grown, how they are grown, where they are grown, their physical appearance when they are picked, and even that they must be harvested by hand and not a machine.

D.O.P. Official Seals

In fact, in Italy it is against labeling laws to use the words “San Marzano” on the label in any form unless the tomatoes are grown in the traditional way, vertical plants with fruit off the ground, harvested by hand in the Sarnese-Nocerino area.

Authentic San Marzano Tomatoes will have an official D.O.P. (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta or “Protected Designation of Origin”) notation on the can, so you know you’re getting the real deal.

Pastene San Marzano DOP Tomatoes are imported directly from Italy. Each can is individually numbered and authenticated by an official DOP notation on the can, an agricultural foods certification, and an official seal of origin from the Sarnese-Nocerino area. You don’t have to trust just us, recently, our San Marzano D.O.P. Tomatoes were voted one of the Best Canned Tomatoes by New York Times Wirecutter. They noted that Pastene San Marzano Tomatoes were

“plump, meaty tomatoes with pulpier juice and a notable basil flavor.” and that they “made the best, most emulsified sauce we’ve tasted yet.”

New York Times Wirecutter Photo: Marki Williams

Pastene San Marzano D.O.P. Tomatoes are the “secret ingredient” in so many classic Italian recipes. Try some of our tried and tested recipes using San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes today including San Marzano D.O.P. Spaghetti, San Marzano D.O.P. Sauce, Roasted Red Pepper, and Tomato Penne, Veggie Lasagna Roll-Ups and Bucatini all’Amatriciana.

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