“If you’re going to San Marzano”

… Be sure to wear some patience on brow,

If you are going to sauce San Marzanoes

You’re gonna meet some pizza mad people there”…

That’s right folks – saucing San Marzano tomatoes in the UK is currently really quite tough.  I’ve just placed an order for two crates of 12 x 400g Agrigenus San Marzano tinned tomatoes from Lupa Foods.  Lupa charged £5 delivery, and retail each tin for £1.39 (up from £1.19).  Today they have 100+ tins in stock.

I thought I’d post this supply source to help my blog followers.  However, the rest of the suppliers seem to have dried up, with the Tesco/Sainsburys offers gone … missing from their shelves for months, and many deli-type online suppliers charging well over £2 per tin or being out of stock.  I can still get Strianese in a deli just 2 miles away, one of my favourite San Marzano sub brands, but the only supplier in bulk I’ve found is Carnevale, the Italian Specialists.  If you find out they will ship to domestic addresses please comment on this blog!

Its about time I talked to an old associate in the food industry and tested out the rheology of a few alternatives to San Marzano tinned tommies which are more readily available in the UK.  The UK supplier to Italian restaurants and delis Mercanti, does have four lines tagged “La Bella San Marzano” (not DOP* certified, I believe) in their price list, this includes “TOMS0001” which is six times 3kg tins of peeled plummed tomatoes at the equivalent of about one-fifth the retail cost per kilo.  However, given the tins are 7-fold larger than a retail tin, you might find it difficult to get through the whole thing.  In our house, we probably use 2-3kg of tomatoes per week.

I believe some taste and texture tests are called for – let me know in the comments if you have found a good supplier, or good alternatives.  I’m afraid my recent experience of a Valfrutta was good, but not the same.

My next post will be an update on things you need to make pizza, including where to get Caputo blue in the UK (to do VPN pizza), and I’ll also post an update before Christmas on my pizza oven build which has moved into Autumn/Winter 2013.  Do follow me.

*DOP = Denomination Origen Protected, ie. authenticated.  However, exports of San Marzano DOP may well exceed production, wink wink, but its the flavour and texture that matter.

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About jonnyr9

I'm an enthusiastic amateur "scientific" cook and baker, and former scientist, and I like to bring scientific thinking to my cooking: thinking about what might be happening at a chemical or biological level during food preparation (including its growth, and preservation), and applying exact methods of mass and volume to core recipes, before varying them. I use an accurate weighing scale (to 0.1g). I like growing my own herbs, constructing my own raised beds, and constructing my own wood-fired pizza oven. I bring a certain level of OCD to the kitchen, and therefore my baking includes sourdough, and my pizza-making includes "reference" to the protected specifications for true pizza. If I can source "the right" ingredients for a dish, I will at almost any length (within reason) - before I find an equivalent in-country supplier. Therefore - if you've never eaten Lancashire cheese bought at Bury market near Manchester - you've never eaten Lancashire cheese. I'm going to try to include links to the same products I use in my blog, so my readers don't end up using sub-standard alternatives - "experimental replication" is key to scientific cooking. I was born in the North of England, but I live in the South, though I would prefer to live on an island in the Ionian Sea.
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