Tomatoes are integral to so many classic Italian dishes. In fact, it’s hard to imagine the country’s cuisine without it.
Yet that was the situation until the sixteenth century, when Spanish conquistadors brought the novel fruit back as part of their plunder from the recently discovered Americas. It soon travelled to Italy. The earliest description we have is from 1544, written by an Italian doctor and botanist named Mattioli. He gave it the name pomo d’oro (golden apple) which persists to this day.
It grew well in the Southern Italian climate and volcanic soil, and gradually became popular, though initially only as an ornamental due to suspicion that it was poisonous, since it clearly belonged to the nightshade family. In fact, assimilation into local cuisine took a couple of hundred years.
As time passed, different varieties of tomatoes emerged, all flavorsome and well adapted to local conditions. As is the way in Italy, these became firmly associated with their particular regions, and with particular regional dishes.
A staple ingredient in traditional Italian cooking, Luigi Vitelli tomatoes have now been a staple of American kitchens since 1885. When it’s made with Vitelli tomatoes, it’s made with love.
Luigi Vitelli has a full range of Italian and domestic tomato products including our whole peeled Italian plum tomatoes.