Summer at La Fromagerie is synonymous with tomatoes, when crates & crates of these jewel-toned fruits adorn the entrance to our shops. The variety of flavour & texture is tremendous - to help make it a bit less daunting, we've put together a guide below with information about each of the varieties, as well as how to use them.
To learn more even more about the glorious varieties of tomatoes, join us at a Tomato Cooking Workshop & Supper at our Bloomsbury shop on Wednesday, 18th July from 7 to 9 PM. For more information or tickets, click here.
CUORE DI BUE
Literally 'oxheart' - also known as 'beef' or 'beefsteak' tomatoes, this variety is large and meaty, sometimes weighing up to 450 grams. Popular for slicing and eating raw, cuore di bue are especially good for sandwiches & caprese.
Though there are many varieties of cuore di bue, this the original with a smoother surface and a slightly pointed base, which looks like heart pointing down. As common with all cuore di bue, this variety has a thin, delicate skin which makes it difficult to ship and lessens its availability.
CUORE DI BUE CARMAGNOLA
Another variety of cuore di bue, these are from Carmagnola in Piemonte, especially known for it's peppers. This variety has a resemblance to pouches that have been gathered together at the top. Their flavour and texture are similar to the original variety and are best used in raw applications, especially where their unique shape can be admired when the fruit is cut as a cross-section. Marco especially recommends these for a burger due to their juiciness.
Heirloom tomatoes are non-hybrid varieties of tomatoes. Since most commercial varieties of tomatoes have been hybridised to give them longer shelf lives and make them resistant again specific diseases, heirloom tomatoes are often more delicate, but are interesting because of their historic interest and diversity. Heirloom tomato cultivars can be found in a wide variety of colours, shapes, flavours and sizes, and indeed, many of the varieties listed on this page are also considered heirloom.
A variety of plum tomatoes, Piccadilly tomatoes are a vibrant red colour with a medium-small diameter. Their distinguishing feature is their particularly thin skin, which makes them perfect for making tomato purees and sauces without needing to first blanch and remove the skin. Either puree the finished sauce, or leave the tomatoes whole or roughly chopped for a rustic texture.
Coming from the area around Florence, costoluto is a variety of medium-large, slightly flattened, heavily ribbed cuor di bue tomatoes. They are very meaty (they can weigh around 150g each) with a great flavour, and are ideal for slicing and enjoying raw, but can also be slow-roasted or cooked down into a rich sauce.
This variety hails from Sicily, where the fields are near the sea and the salty water affects the soil. As a result, the tomatoes have a deep savoury flavour with a hint of saltiness. The flesh is firm and crunchy, and these tomatoes are best enjoyed raw where this flavour and texture can be fully appreciated. These tomatoes ripen quickly but are best enjoyed while still still partially green, but transitioning to red on the bottom.
The ideal sauce tomato, San Marzanos are long and narrow with a pointed base. The traditional way to prepare them is to remove the stems and tops, score an X into the bottoms, and blanch shortly so that the skin can be peeled back and removed. Then simmer with soffritto for several hours (San Marzanos are particularly great for longer cooking times).
Similar to the red costoluto tomatoes, this variety is best enjoyed before it has turned fully red, similar to the marinda or camone varities. Likewise, it is also best enjoyed raw, sliced or chopped with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt & a drizzle of good quality olive oil.
As the name would suggest, this variety is known for its flavour. Often with a dark interior, these tomatoes are great for slicing and enjoying raw as they tend to have a crisp texture with a pleasing, balanced acidic flavour.
The camone was originally developed by a Swiss agribusiness who was aiming to produce a high yielding, commercial plant; however, in the 1980's, a few growers in Sardinia produced different results when their crop was sown in sandy soil and then neglected. Watered occasionally with salty sea water, these camone developed a more complex flavour than the industrialised version. Now a technique in its own right, this variety shares this similarity to marinda tomatoes, and likewise is best enjoyed in simple, raw preparations.
BURRATA & TOMATOES
A recipe for this dish seems almost unnecessary - this is the type of food that really demonstrates how simple, good ingredients make the best meals. That said, for a dish like this, the quality of ingredients really counts.
Our burrata is from Puglia where it is freshly made using small pieces of cheese with fresh cream before piling them into a 'purse' made by stretching curds in the style of mozzarella. The result is incredibly creamy with a sweet, rich flavour that pairs perfectly with the acidity of tomatoes.
For the salt, Patricia recommends using our Sicilian sea salt from Trapani on the West Coast of the island. Famed for its purity and taste, it is not harsh or strong, but has a sweetness to the tang that also makes it perfect to sprinkle over raw or lightly-steamed vegetables before spritzing with lemon juice.
We love to use a Calabrian olive oil to dress Mozzarella and Burrata and our House Extra Virgin Olive Oil is from Barone Macri, a five generation producer in Demetrio Corone, in Cosenza. There is a punchy fruitiness to the pressed juice from the local variety Geracese olives and each year gives a slightly different taste profile according to the weather conditions from the Spring to the Summer. This current season is wonderful with hits of heat and sweetness and that lovely artichoke finish.
Finally, a grinding of black pepper can be the lift a dish needs, and our black peppercorns are from Sri Lanka where we also source our tea.
serves 2 to 4
1 whole Burrata
500 grams Tomatoes such as Cuore di Bue, Costuluto, Marinda or Camone
La Fromagerie House Olive Oil from Calabria
Sicilian Sea Salt
Sri Lankan Black Pepper