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Costoluto Genovese

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the best tomato I’ve ever had is of Italian descent.

I grow lots of different kinds of tomatoes every summer and like to try new varieties, especially heirlooms. Even though my success with heirloom tomatoes has been mixed, I have found that they are much tastier than more common workhorse hybrids like Better Boy, Big Boy etc. Heirloom plants don’t usually yield as much but still, they are worth planting if you’re obsessed with tomatoes like most Southerners are.

When I was buying tomato plants at the Farmer’s Market this spring, a vendor pointed out the Costoluto Genovese plants and told me that it was the best tomato she’d ever had. And I have to agree with her. This Italian heirloom (the one in the photo was the first on my plant to ripen) is absolutely delicious with intense tomato flavor and the perfect mix of sweet and acid. I ate about half of it plain (sliced with salt) and used the rest to make tomato sandwiches on multigrain bread with mayo, salt, and pepper.

It’s kind of a funky looking tomato with those deep ridges on top. I’ve read that most Italians use it for sauce (it’s a fleshy tomato inside without a lot of water or seeds) but it was truly awesome raw. Homegrown tomatoes are one of the best things about summer here in NC and make me much more tolerant of the heat, humidity, and the awful bugs.

COSTOLUTO GENOVESE

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Comments (15)

LB:

Hello! I just found your beautiful blog! The tomato looks delicious - one of my favourite fruits! ;) I am adding you to my Google reader - I need to learn more about Venice. I am going there for 2 weeks (for the first time!) next month! If you know where any bead shops are, please let me know! :D

Hi LB, thanks for your comment and how exciting to be going to Venice for the first time! You'll have a blast shopping for beads. A friend of mine bought tons of them there for her daughter who makes jewelry.

There's a book called "Venice Botteghe" by Michela Scibilia; it's a shopping guide and has a whole chapter on bead stores (both new and antique beads). A friend borrowed the book from me so I can't look up any stores for you, but when you get to Venice, you should be able to find the book in most any book store (and there's an English version too). I bought my copy at the Tourist Pavillion close to Piazza San Marco.

Annie,
I like the look of that tomato! It must be so cool to eat homegrown tomatoes, it is one of the things I miss not settling down in one place.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, that is a great looking tomato. Its so big and perfect looking. No wonder the Italian sauces and foods are so tasty. And from your description it sounds like it was so delicious and how satisfying knowing that you grew it yourself.

I've never heard of this type of tomato before. And its good to know. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day today!

Candi and Kathy, thanks for your comments. If you ever see this variety in a Farmer's Market, buy one - it's such a great tomato!

My mouth is watering ... menehune

sandrac:

Annie, I've seen these tomatoes but didn't know what they were called!

I love fresh tomatoes and hate how many that I now buy at the market don't even smell like tomatoes any more -- they've been grown at top speed in greenhouses!

This reminds of the scene in Steel Magnolias (and I confess, I loved that movie) where Shirley MacLaine's character goes on about southern women and their tomatoes!

LB:

Hi Annie! Thanks for your reply! I will look for that book when I arrive! :)

I agree - this is a great tomato. We grew it last year but not this year mainly because we want really early ripening tomatoes. It takes so long for ours to ripen up here. We still are waiting for our early toms to ripen. :)

Sandra, I'd forgotten about that scene in Steel Magnolias. Classic!

Marta, I was surprised that this one ripened so quickly for me; I was expecting it to come in later. Right now, the plant is showing signs of heat stress so I don't think I'll end up getting a ton of tomatoes from it (but the ones I've gotten have been great!).

sheri:

That is an awesome looking tomato,Annie. Makes me want to try to grow my own again. Only tried once, a few years ago, with not much success. What I buy in the market, is just not good. I haven't seen our local Jersey Tomatoes yet, but even they are not as good as they used to be.

Kim:

Ooh, I'd love to see a cross section of that one. Our tomatoes haven't started to come in yet (I don't bother planting anymore, we don't get enough sun), but our CSA always has plenty.

Sheri, we are lucky that we are able to grow such great tomatoes here in NC. I think they are heat-lovers and our climate just works for them.

Kim, I wish I'd thought to take a cross section photo!

I love "funky looking tomatoes"! IMHO, the funkier looking, the better tasting!

Maria, I agree. There is a vendor at the Farmer's Market that has a separate bin labeled "ugly tomatoes" and I always buy out of that one!

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