In 2017, our chefs in Italy spent months testing out more than 40 different types of tomato products from our shelves in order to create the perfect spaghetto al pomodoro recipe. In the end, they could only choose one tomato to be the star ingredient in this classic Italian dish. They landed an unpeeled datterino variety by a small Italian producer called Così Com’è.
But what, you may ask, makes this particular jar of tomatoes “the chosen one”? In this Eataly Magazine article, we’re going behind the scenes to discover the story and difference of Così Com’è.
AS THEY ARE
Meaning “as they are,” Così Com’è (pronounced <ko-zee ko-meh>) tomatoes come from Fianagricola, a small 24-farm cooperative dedicated to cultivating local produce varieties. Nine members currently manage the 740 acres of farmland, which stretches across the fertile Piana del Sale of Campania in southern Italy. The cooperative was founded with one mission: to guarantee a pure, traceable Italian product, from seed to label.
FROM SEED TO VINE TO JAR
How are Così Com’è tomatoes produced? Let’s dive in!
Finagricola carefully selects only the best seeds of small heirloom tomato varieties, like Datterino and Pizzutello, because they have a more concentrated, sweeter flavour. After choosing the seeds, they plant them in their nursery greenhouses.
Once the seeds have sprouted, they’re directly transplanted to the surrounding fields where they naturally grow into adult tomato vines under the Mediterranean sun.
Each field plot is no bigger than 12 acres. This allows the farmers to constantly monitor all of the growth phases of the tomato plant. The plants not just irrigated, but fed by a dispenser that regulates the daily water supply according to the tomato’s growing phase. The tomato flowers are naturally pollinated only by bumble bees. To help the tomato vines grow upwards and gain more sun exposure, a vertical support system of tutors are installed. The more sun the tomatoes get, the more natural sugars they produce.
Although the yield is much smaller, the farmers pick the tomatoes by hand to ensure only the best tomatoes are harvested at the peak of ripeness. They can tell you the story of each and every tomato.
Shortly after picking, the tomatoes are jarred to preserve their freshness. During this process, no additional sugars are added – only the Così Com’è tomatoes as they are. All of the packaging, from glass to tin, is made in Italy.
SWEET BY NATURE
In the agriculture industry, the Brix index is used to measure the sweetness of a particular fruit or vegetable. While Common tomato varieties have an average Brix index of 4.5°, Così Com’è Pizzutello, red datterino, and yellow datterino tomatoes have a Brix index of 6-7°, 7-10°, and 9-12° respectively. In other words, they’re naturally sweeter than most other tomatoes, with a perfect balance of acidity and sugars.
GET A TASTE AT EATALY
Although we like to use Così Com’è tomatoes to make fresh sauces for our pasta, like our spaghetto al pomodoro, we could honestly eat them straight out of the jar! “I have a can at my house all the time,” says Michael Nogera, Executive Chef of Eataly NYC Flatiron. “You don’t need to cook them – they’re so fresh tasting.”
Ready to get a taste? You can find a variety of Così Com’è tomatoes at Eataly Toronto and online.