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.