I prefer the Cento brand San Marzanos at TJ’s. The in-house TJs brand to often has underripe with tough ends.
My favorite has always been Strianese brand.
Unless your family is from Abruzzi, then it has to be as smooth as silk.
My local Trader Joe’s has only their house brand, which I bought once. It was terrible. The tomatoes were shaggy, as if they were on the cusp of decomposing. And sour as hell. I usually get crushed tomatoes in a tetrapak, Pomi or Kyknos.
Here in the Boston area, TJ’s also has the Cento certified.
I’ll look for those next time, thanks.
That’s shocking. I usually think of TJ’s as being a pretty reliable store, although it is true I did not like their peanut butter.
Most of what I’ve gotten from Trader Joe’s has been fine, but those tomatoes were bad. And their produce is often pretty lousy. I’ve bought avocados there that turned black without ever ripening. I just bought 2 lbs of clementines and had to throw out three rotten ones. (But I have no problem with their peanut butter!) And yes, I know they have a very liberal return policy, but it’s not so liberal as to include compensation for my transportation time and cost. So I don’t do a lot of returning.
They are generally good with West Coast items, but when it comes to Italian it’s not intuitive at all.
After 25 years of adult cooking, I come to think the search is never ending because of seasonal variations (sometimes proprietary, too, of course)?
Generally at some point in a year, I’ll buy three more brands and do a taste test with people. They’re all over the place!