It lives up to its title, being chock full of engaging facts about the Italians’ and Italian-Americans’ favorite fruit (that is used as a vegetable). One regards the influence of the British breakfast habits on the development of Italy’s most famous tomato. The traditional full British breakfast consists of bacon, sausage, poached or fried eggs, baked beans, toast with butter, and grilled tomatoes. It is likely the antecedent to the far superior big American breakfast.
However lacking in comparison to our breakfasts, one component of the British version had deep resonance in Italy:
“British demand was able to affect production strategies in Italy. In fact… the British were indirectly responsible for the introduction of the ‘San Marzano’…. The British like fresh tomatoes cooked, especially baked or grilled…there was no way for whole tomatoes to by enjoyed beyond the short growing season [in the UK]… In southern Italy, it turned out that the small, egg-shaped tomato varieties that were most popular here also were suited being canned whole…. The tomato variety that made this all possible was a… ‘recent cross’ between the ‘Re Umberto’ and ‘Fiaschetto’ varieties. This was the ‘San Marzano’, variety after the town near Salerno, where it was first cultivated. In just a few years, the ‘San Marzano’ had become the major variety used for canned whole tomatoes.”
The delectable San Marzano was quick to reach preeminence in Campania near Naples after getting a boost from the Brits. It’s fun tidbit about the tomato that many deem to be the best for making tomato sauces for pasta, for meals well removed from breakfast.