Your condiments are ready in a snap with the best Italian tomatoes. Grown under the Italian sun, carefully selected from the most suitable varieties and processed the same day they are picked. Only the best for your table. But how do you recognize good quality in a sauce?
Select ingredients, craftsmanship and… slow cooking
Tradition teaches us that high quality sauce is prepared in an artisanal way, using only prime, ripe tomatoes. The production process takes time, and reflects, even if using the most advanced technology, the rules of homemade sauce. Only in this way can all the core properties of the tomato, the color, the aroma and the flavor, be kept intact.
Bright red: the importance of color
The color of tomato sauce can tell us a lot about its quality. The tone of red must be bright and intense. We can learn two fundamental characteristics by looking at the color:
1) The intensity comes from ripeness and the tomato’s time under the bright Italian sun. No artificial coloring can quite imitate that red that only nature and time can achieve over the fruit.
2) Only superior varietals of tomatoes can bring out a bright, intense color and are suitable to be strained. The slow cooking process reinforces the tone.
Harvested and processed the same day
For this reason, quality sauce is made with fresh and with genuine tomatoes collected and processed within the same day. Additionally, constant control, from seed to harvest, allows each individual tomato to be destined for the product line most suited to its quality.
Hand-selected, one by one
Each tomato is selected by expert hands and rechecked after peeling, so only the best, perfectly shaped tomatoes, are packaged. Craftsmanship is synonymous of quality: no machine can select a fruit better than the experienced human eye, even when traditional manufacturing processes are carried out by the most advanced technologies.
The aroma of Italy
The aroma is another important element that immediately tells us if the tomatoes used are of high quality and the processing was done correctly. As soon as the jar is opened, an intense perfume is released. This scent is maintained only if cooked slowly, at low temperatures. The high heat treatment, on the other hand, involves applying high temperatures in a short period (hot break) which splits the tomato and covers the intense aroma.
The delicacy of mechanical peeling
The tomato with its intense aroma appears, in fact, smooth and intact. This is because the peeling is carried out with a mechanical system that allows the process to take place at low temperatures and in a slow and delicate way so as to keep the tomato "velvety" and perfectly intact. In this way the texture and aroma of the fruit are maintained. Industrial production, on the other hand, uses thermophysical peeling: the fruit is placed in a chamber at very high pressure which makes it explode (hot break), discarding all the pulp attached to the skin. It is in fact the part of the tomato that, in addition to being rich in properties, gives out that intense aroma typical of high quality sauce.
All the taste of tradition
The first time you taste it you can understand, even with a minimum of experience, if the sauce is of high quality or not. If it were processed using the hot break procedure, you would taste the difference and notice the loss of aroma.
Cooking in the "boules" to obtain the juice: tradition makes the difference
Boules are spherical copper containers and were first used around 100 years ago. They were a revolutionary invention because they allowed to maintain the quality, just like homemade preserves. Nowadays the boulè, while improved, have kept the same principle: concentrate and cook the tomato at a low temperature for over an hour while ensuring excellent quality and preserving its original characteristics. In fact, the tomato is treated delicately like homemade sauce.
Bain marie cooking and long cooling times
In quality tomato purées, processed in the traditional way, the final phase of cooking still takes place in the typical metal baskets using the traditional "bain-marie" procedure. Tomato remains firm for a long time and does not undergo stress. Therefore, citric acid is not added which is used in short processing times. Subsequent cooling is also done slowly in order to maintain quality. Everything is done with the passion and patience of the past. So when you open a jar of high quality sauce, you can recognize all the labor and care!