The Colourful and
of the Tomato
The Colourful and Flavourful History of the Tomato: From Mesoamerica to your Plate.
The tomato, that vibrant and versatile fruit that adds freshness and flavour to myriad dishes across the globe, has a fascinating history that spans thousands of years. From its origin in Mesoamerica to its current global presence, the tomato has been on an epic journey that has influenced not only gastronomy, but also culture and economics on a global scale. In this blog, we will explore the rich history of the tomato and its role in the contemporary world.
Its Origins in Mesoamerica:
Although the tomato is most commonly associated with Italian cuisine, its history began long ago in the Mesoamerican regions of what is now known as Mexico. The ancient Aztecs and Mayans cultivated and consumed tomatoes of various varieties. However, these did not look like the red, juicy tomatoes we know so well today. In their original form, they were small, yellow and, in some cases, even shades of green.
The Encounter with Europe:
The arrival of Christopher Columbus in America in the 15th century ushered in the spread of the tomato throughout the world. Columbus brought tomato seeds back with him to Europe, where they were initially grown as botanical curiosities rather than food. Europeans were hesitant because the tomato was similar in appearance to poisonous plants of the nightshade family.
The Culinary Revolution:
Over time, preconceptions about the tomato waned, and Italian cooks in particular began experimenting with the fruit in their dishes. By the end of the 18th century, the tomato had become a key ingredient in Italian cuisine, with tomato sauce being one of Italy’s greatest culinary gifts to the world.
The Tomato Today:
The tomato has transcended borders and been adapted to myriad cuisines and cultures. Besides its presence in the kitchen, the tomato has also influenced the global economy. Cultivation and exportation of tomatoes are large-scale industries in several countries, creating employment and generating substantial revenues. In addition, tomatoes have become the subject of research in genetic improvement and agricultural biotechnology, in pursuit of more resilient and flavourful varieties.
For example, the Monterosa tomato emerged in June 2012 in Cabrera de Mar on the Maresme coast (Catalonia). Its mother was a pear tomato from Girona and its paternal grandfather was a Costoluto Genovese heirloom tomato. This mixture of Catalan and Italian heritage gives it its Mediterranean appearance.
It was born out of a passion for enjoying the Mediterranean diet and a commitment to ressurecting the tomatoes of yesteryear. Each tomato is exceptional, with an explosion of colour and flavour.
Don’t miss out on this experience!