Any Italian Tomato is Not a San Marzano DOP Tomato

Any Italian Tomato is Not a San Marzano DOP TomatoAuthentic San Marzano DOP Tomatoes is known for its taste and certification.

By Debbie Hall

Photo of tomato soup by Nathan Dumlao

Whether the dish is perfectly cooked pasta topped with a delicious sauce, a pizza (Chicago- or New York-style) bursting with the flavors, or a creamy soup, the tomatoes make all of the difference in quality and taste. Authentic San Marzano DOP-certified (Protected Designation of Origin) tomatoes, imported from Italy, have been elevating palates around the world since the 18th century (according to some sources). Americans were introduced to this luscious tomato beginning in the early 20th century.

What makes San Marzano DOP tomatoes so unique?

The DOP tomatoes are only grown in the volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius from Campania, Italy. Sweet Italian plum tomatoes are perfect for a variety of tomato sauces and extensive recipes, including dessert (tomatoes are a savory fruit).

Tomato farmers growing, harvesting, and selling tomatoes follow multiple, specific guidelines, including only using seeds dating back to San Marzano DOP tomato’s original strain with no genetic modification. The tomatoes are grown in the Sarnese Nocerino area of Italy using specific all-natural farming practices. The produce is harvested at a specific time by hand to select the right size, shape, and color. The tomatoes are then peeled when packed and kept whole or cut in half but never chopped or diced. They are packed into cans only (never jars) with no added salt, sugar, or preservatives. The strict process must be followed to receive the authentic certification. These tomatoes are farm to can to table, maintaining its freshness, taste, and quality. San Marzano DOP tomatoes are never shipped from the tree to the supplier.

Some well-known brands include Francesconi San Marzano DOP Authentic Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes, Rega San Marzano DOP Authentic Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes, La Valle San Marzano DOP Tomatoes, and La Fede San Marzano D.O.P. Tomato of Agro Sarnese-Nocerino Area.

There are imitations of San Marzano called “Italian Style” tomatoes, but without the certification, there is no guarantee that the product was grown in the Sarnese Nocerino area. In fact, the tomatoes could be grown elsewhere around the world, including California.

While San Marzano DOP tomatoes are canned, there is no tinny aftertaste or bland colors. The produce is packed with natural tomato juice with a tender texture, mild acidity, and a smooth finish. These tomatoes offer a full and firm pulp with a low seed count with its flesh removed, so the tomatoes are already prepped to be made into a smooth sauce. Its health benefits are many due to the mineral rich soil with fiber and antioxidants.

San Marzano DOP tomatoes were recently showcased during a special dinner held at Chef Marc’s Italian Steakhouse inside the Ahern Hotel, 300 W. Sahara Ave, Las Vegas. He demonstrated for invited guests the deliciousness of using San Marzano DOP tomatoes.

The first course tantalized with Pomodoro Pizza Romana served chilled, getting the palates ready for a wonderful meal. The second course is Filetto Di Pomodoro featured the tomatoes with house-cured pancetta and fresh homemade linguine. The main dish was a delectable Stufato featuring San Marzano DOP with slow-cooked calamari, zucchini, and orzo. The dessert course satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth with a sweet tomato tart using San Marzano DOP tomatoes as an ingredient in the homemade basil gelato accompanied by Limoncello.

The tomatoes’ specialness has been showcased on CNN’s hit show, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, as he walked through the fields of the tomatoes and tasted authentic dishes created with it.

Any Italian Tomato is Not a San Marzano DOP TomatoHomemade Tomato Soup


8 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 white onion

2 cloves garlic

2 pounds San Marzano DOP tomatoes

2 1/2 cups chicken stock,


Freshly ground black pepper

2 sprigs of rosemary


Heat olive oil in a large pan, Peel the onion and garlic, chop finely and sauté gently in the hot oil until soft and transparent. Add tomatoes (drained) to the onion and garlic mixture in the pan and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add the stock gradually. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes. Blend until pureed. Chop the basil leaves. Pour the soup into soup dishes and top with sprigs of rosemary. Serve immediately.