Cuore Del Vesuvio Tomatoes
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Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are a medium to large varietal, widely ranging in size and shape, weighing anywhere from 150 grams to over 1 kilogram. The tomatoes are generally oblong to ovate with slightly flattened shoulders, and the dark green caps are slightly compressed with long, thin, and lanceolate-shaped forest green leaves. The slight compression around the cap creates distinct ridges and lines extending from the top of the tomato. Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes often bear distinct scarring, cracks, and raised striations across the skin. These markings are a signature of the traditional and natural way the variety was grown and are regarded as a mark of authenticity. The scarring ranges in color from gold to tan and may be surface level or extend deeper into the flesh, having hardened. The tomato's skin is thin, smooth, semi-taut, and glossy, showcasing vibrant red tones. Underneath the surface, the variety is known for its high percentage of flesh-to-seed content. The red flesh is dense, meaty, aqueous, and succulent, with a tender, full-bodied mouthfeel. The seed chambers are small, encasing a few tiny clusters of tan to green seeds enveloped in a gelatinous casing and only extend approximately two-thirds of the length of the tomato. Below the chambers is solid flesh, providing a higher density of flesh compared to other tomato varieties. Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes should feel heavy for their size and will have a slight give when gently held, an indicator of their dense flesh wrapped in thin skin. The variety has a mild, balanced, sweet, and lightly acidic taste with savory nuances.
Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are available in the summer, typically from May through September.
Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes, botanically classified as Lycopersicon esculentum, are a unique Italian variety belonging to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The large, dense, and fleshy tomatoes are a specialty type of bull's heart tomato grown on a single farm in Greco Del Torre, Italy. They are distributed through Natoora, an international produce company. Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes may be visually unusual in commercial markets as they contain natural scarring and striations, but this scarring is not a flaw but a mark of authentic cultivation practices and concentrated flavors. Cuore Del Vesuvio translates to mean the "Heart of Vesuvius" and is a descriptor for the location where the tomatoes are cultivated, at the base of Mt. Vesuvius in Italy. The variety has been planted for generations on the fertile slopes of the volcanic mountain and is subjected to a rigorous set of climatic conditions and growing practices to create its signature flavor and texture. Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are favored by chefs for their high flesh content, taste, and tender, succulent nature. The variety can be incorporated into an array of fresh and cooked preparations. It is a highly sought-after tomato for its unique appearance, natural cultivation methods, and transparency between the grower and distributor.
Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are a source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system, boost collagen production, and reduce inflammation, vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning, and some fiber to regulate the digestive tract. Like other tomatoes, the variety also provides potassium to balance fluid levels within the body, iron to develop the protein hemoglobin for oxygen transport through the bloodstream, and contains other nutrients, including magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin K, folic acid, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. One of the more notable compounds that tomatoes contain is lycopene. This compound gives the flesh it's signature red coloring and has antioxidant-like properties to protect the cells against free radical damage.
Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes have a dense, high flesh-to-seed ratio making them suitable for raw and cooked preparations. The tomatoes are popularly sliced and served fresh, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. They are also layered into sandwiches and paninis, chopped into salads, or used as the base for caprese. The fleshy nature of Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes lends well to panzanella recipes, gazpacho, or stirring into pasta. The tomatoes can also be incorporated into any recipe calling for meaty tomatoes or sliced and served with bagna cauda, an Italian vegetable dipping sauce traditionally served during the holidays. Beyond fresh preparations, Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes can be simmered into soups, curries, and stews, cooked into sauces, or lightly grilled to develop a smoky depth of flavor. The tomatoes can also be hollowed, stuffed, and baked, or roasted with herbs and spices and served with seafood or meats. Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes pair well with aromatics such as garlic, onions, and ginger, herbs including chervil, parsley, basil, oregano, and cilantro, Dijon mustard, balsamic, cheeses such as ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, mushrooms, broccoli, celery, or bell peppers. Whole, unwashed Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes should be immediately consumed for the best quality and flavor. The tomatoes can be kept at room temperature away from direct sunlight for a day or two or stored in the refrigerator for a few days. It is recommended to allow the tomato to come to room temperature after storing it in the fridge for better flavor in recipes.
Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are grown at the base of one of the most dangerous but legendary volcanos in the world, Mt. Vesuvius. This volcanic mountain is known for its explosive eruptions and is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted several times within the last hundred years. Despite its temperamental nature and infamous destruction of the cities Pompeii and Herculaneum, the volcano has provided a rich agricultural ecosystem famous for growing tomatoes. Legend has it that the molten lava of Mt. Vesuvius gives tomatoes grown on its slopes a vibrant red coloring, and the cultivation of the plants has remained largely unchanged throughout history to maintain authenticity and tradition. Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are minimally watered, just enough to keep the plant alive but not enough to dilute the flesh. This ancient practice of limiting water encourages the plants to send roots into the volcanic soil, absorbing the vital nutrients found deep within the earth and concentrating sugars in the flesh. The water also contains high salinity, the air is salty, hot, and dry, and the ample sunshine provides a balanced ecosystem to create the tomato's dense flesh and sweet and savory nature. This specific growing environment stresses the variety, sometimes causing the thin skin to crack under the weight of the thick flesh. This cracking indicates natural cultivation and the skillful growing practices implemented to develop a flavorful, rich tomato.
Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are grown on a family-owned and operated farm in Torre del Greco, a commune a part of the city of Naples in the Campania region of Italy. The variety is grown by a farmer named Raffaele, and the tomatoes are planted in the fertile, volcanic soil along the sloping base of Mt. Vesuvius. Torre del Greco is also situated between the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius National Park, creating a unique microclimate with ample sunshine, mild winters, and low rainfall. Raffaele comes from a long line of tomato growers that have been saving seeds for generations. Only the seeds considered valuable to the grower are saved, creating a completely unique crop each season. Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are grown from seeds that are two generations old, and the tomatoes are allowed to fully ripen on the vine before they are harvested. This practice develops the tomato's full, concentrated flavoring and provides consumers with ripe and ready-to-eat tomatoes. Natoora has partnered with Raffaele to sell the tomatoes commercially and has been working with the Italian grower since 2014. Today Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes are available through Natoora locations in London. The Cuore Del Vesuvio tomatoes featured in the photograph above were sourced from Eataly in London, England.