Getting San Marzano Tomatoes in the UK – Autumn 2014 update

Getting those Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP has not got easier, but a few online Italian delis seem to be taking a good deal of trade (maybe in small part thanks to the thousands of hits from this blog?), and they are happily retailing them in single and case quantities.

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The newest brand of San Marzano Tomatoes I’ve found in the UK

My interest in them has peaked because I’ve finally nearly finished building my own backyard wood-fired pizza oven, just decorative work to do.  Because of the unseasonably warm Halloween, this afternoon might be the first time we try cooking pizza in it – so I’ve been stocking up.

The amazing Lupa Foods now stocks what appears to be a new brand of San Marzano’s in the Lupetta brand, retailing at £1.49 per 400g tin, or £15.65 for a case of 12 via Amazon  (£1.30 per tin), or direct. This is the best UK price for normal tins as far as I can see, £3.26 per kilo. However, they now sell 2.5kg tins of the Agrigenus brand for £6.82 which works out as £2.67 per kilo. I should point out, that compared to Grotesco retailing a 400g tin of Napolina tomatoes for £1.10, or £2.76 per kilo, you have no excuse to continue using substandard tomatoes – as Lupa have made Agrigenus’s catering tins of Marzano’s cheaper by weight than Grotesco.

I’ve discovered an online deli (new to me) that sells San Marzano tomatoes DOP. Vorrei now stocks the Agrigenus variety – which I think are of a good quality, they are £1.45 per tin (400g), free delivery if you spend £50 too.

If they run out of stock, Mediterranean Direct is stocking them for UK mailorder at £1.99 per 400g tin, and can also supply in cases of 12 tins. But look out, because they also sell an ancient variety worth taking a look at, though its use in pizza sauce wouldn’t be consistent with the VPN rules I believe.

Thanks to the comment from a reader, NifeisLife (“Nice Italian Food Everyday”) is selling a 24 tin case for £42.96, of the Coppola brand of San Marzano. A good way to secure 24 tins when supplies are running low from Lupa and Vorrei.

As a back-up, Melbury & Appleton are also selling Coppola brand, but at £2.39 per tin, a little over the odds. But OK for middle-class luvvies I suspect.

Ocado now sells fresh baby plum “san marzano” tomatoes… not sure where they are grown, and they got terrible reviews. I bought some, and I reckon because they go through the chill chain for delivery their flavour is ruined. These are not DOP, and I really don’t think they are even Italian grown – because as thesinglegourmetandtraveller blogged fresh San Marzano tomatoes just don’t get exported to the UK. Please prove me wrong.

I do wonder if they are being marketing in breach of the regulations, certainly to me it doesn’t appear entirely clear to the customer that these are not the king of tomatoes.
In terms of rheology, I’d say they are the right variety – given how they cut.

It is still complex verifying suppliers, so you might want to consult The San Marzano Consortium if you come across brands you’ve never seen before. And if you do, please can you post here on my blog comments.

If you live in London, you can buy good DOP San Marzano tomatoes (Annalisa brand) from Giacobazzi’s Delicatessen for £2.35 per tin, this Deli is based in Hampstead – and is the only UK source of Annalisa brand I’ve found. Alternatively, get Strianese brand at Earth Natural Foods in Kentish Town for £1.39.

If you live in Oxford, you’re looking to Fasta Pasta in the covered market, which sells Strianese for £1.75, or buy their double size tins of Strianese at Taylors Oxford, up on 1 Woodstock Road. I believe this is the only place in Oxford you can get them.

Finally, if you got here from the US, Gustiamo in NY sells the DANICoop tomatoes for just $3.90 per tin, plus a load of other goodies through their online shop and wholesale business.

Why not post a comment about where you can buy San Marzano tomatoes in your town or city?

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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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11 Responses to Getting San Marzano Tomatoes in the UK – Autumn 2014 update

  1. Pingback: Saucing perfection: Where to buy canned San Marzano tomatoes in the UK? | Saucing Perfection

  2. Hi there, thank you very much for mentioning Vorrei (www.vorrei.co.uk) – we are a new online deli which sells only the best Italian products and we do indeed stock the Agrigenus San Marzano tomatoes. They are great quality & taste amazing! LOTS of new stock will arrive in our warehouse this week and they can be pre-ordered from our website right now!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Chrissy says:

    A topic not addressed in your article is the presence of BPA/BPS in tinned products. Levels of this cancer-causing chemical are quite high in tinned tomatoes, from what I’ve read on the net. It’s got me quick scared as I cook with A LOT of tomatoes. Even with a greenhouse, tomatoes grown in the UK just don’t do it. What’s the alternative?

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  4. jonnyr9 says:

    Thanks Chrissy – interesting observation. Looks like some folk (Errico et al, National Laboratory on Endocrine Disruptors, Italy) have scientifically studied the migration of BPA in epoxy lined cans into tomato fruit, which was publish in the peer-reviewed journal Food Chemistry, Volume 160, 1 October 2014, Pages 157–164. Though they found just 0.26 microgrammes of BPA per kg tomato, and EU limits are 600 microgrammes per kg of food, which is 2000-times lower than the legal limit – it is still a concern. Heating does encourage much more migration of the BPA into the fruit, they report. But separately, the US National Toxicology Program has in 2008 expressed “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A (BPA). Given hormone levels if our blood are broadly of the same order, perhaps we should be encouraging our governments to ban the use of BPA in canned goods. I agree that UK-grown tomatoes will never match, so the ultimate may be buying fresh San Marzano tomatoes from Waitrose – though that’s an investment most won’t be able to afford. BPA in food containers is already banned in France, since New Year 2015. Maybe I should write to a producer to see if they are planning to cease use of such epoxy linings in the future?
    Ref: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814614004762

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  5. Jon says:

    There is a deli in soho, London called Lina Stores on Brewer St. They sell San Marzano tinned tomatoes. I can’t remember the price. Will look next time I’m in there.

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    • Frank says:

      You can buy them online from http://www.vorrei.co.uk, they sell the Agrigenus ones which have just been voted the best brand in Italy

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      • Ang says:

        Ive had a standing delivery from Amazon for two cases every other month but have been notified they are out of stock, and other sellers are also out. Does anyone know is this a seasonal thing or is there something else causing the scarcity? I really hope we can continue to get them, they are so delicious.

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      • jonnyr9 says:

        Ang: they are available from NifeIsLife, Mediterranean Direct and Lina Stores. I’ll post an update blog post for ease… Autumn 2015 update! The overarching reason is seasonality, but a few people will end up paying a lot. I overstock during peak season, and have a secret source in a deli near where I live. The latter charges the same per 400g can as a double can from Lina Stores.

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  6. jonnyr9 says:

    Ang: they are available from NifeIsLife, Mediterranean Direct and Lina Stores. I’ll post an update blog post for ease… Autumn 2015 update! The overarching reason is seasonality, but a few people will end up paying a lot. I overstock during peak season, and have a secret source in a deli near where I live. The latter charges the same per 400g can as a double can from Lina Stores.

    Like

  7. Ang says:

    Great, thanks! I like the idea of overstocking!

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  8. Ang says:

    Just to say that, if anyone is wanting to buy, the Lupetta Tomatoes are now back on Amazon, Happy Christmas!!

    Like

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