Costoluto Genovese: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2007

Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2007

Costoluto Genovese TomatoI have come to think of this as the pool boy of my tomato garden. The only reason it is there is because it improves the visible landscape. Handsome and exotic looking, even it’s name, Custoluto Genovese, brings to mind tall, well formed, shirtless men with burning and only slightly vapid eyes. And much like a pool boy, chances are it serves very little purpose elsewhere and the husband doesn’t like it. *sigh* At least it looks nice.

I saw this for the first time on You Grow Girl when Gayla posted a picture of a group of tomatoes and there was a few Costoluto Genovese in the group. I had to have it but I am now a bit worried about my rash, lust driven decision. Joey Ballgaggio left a comment declaring that these had literally made him vomit. Hmm… I just want to point out what risks I take in bringing you guys these Tomato Tastings.

The description from the company I bought it from reads:

Italian heirloom tomatoes. Large, deep-red, juicy tomatoes are deeply ribbed but fully flavored and absolutely delicious. This variety is hearty and does well in hot weather, but continues to produce even when the weather turns cool. Indeterminate, 78 days.

The Beauty Pageant:

Size: Smallish. It is smaller than the palm area of my hand but not by too much.

Shape: Broad shoulders, chiseled lobes… um… pool boy… Anyway, flattish as well. The tomato has two distinct sides and is cinched where the two sides meet in the middle.

The inside: As mentioned, there seems to be two sides. It is almost like a Siamese twin. Each side has a chamber with each chamber having its own core. The gel is loose and the seeds are small.

Texture: It is a soft mealy. It not so much grainy like most mealy tomato but still a bumpy feeling.

Costoluto Genovese Tomato SlicedTasting:

Off the Vine Tasting: Okay, barf bag is still empty. This is a strongly flavored tomato. Like smack you in the face tomato flavor. There is nothing sweet about it. Not terrible off the vine but not really good either.

Sliced and Salted Tasting: From a raw stand point, salt does not do this tomato any favors. The already overly strong flavor is just cranked up even more.

Cooking Thoughts: You can’t slice this well and the strong flavor is a bit too much already. Your best bet is to sauce these. The nice thing is that these puppies will stretch a whole lot further than normal tomatoes. These can take watering down and will stand up well to whatever flavoring you like in your tomato.

Growing Notes:
This plant is a pretty good size. Not too bushy though. The problem I have with it is that the fruit are just not ripening. Despite the fact that these tomatoes were among the first tomatoes to bear fruit, I have only harvested two to his date. The plant is full of very green tomatoes. I am guessing that because this is a hot weather tomato and this has been a somewhat cool summer, the tomatoes just are not liking this climate.

Will Hanna grow this one again:
No. The nice thing about pool boys is that they are a dime a dozen. Great for a summer fling but when you are looking for long term tomato love, you need to find something with a little more substance.

21 thoughts on “Costoluto Genovese: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2007
  1. This garden description is my favorite by far! Well done. Too bad the tomato didn’t–ahem–perform as well as you would have wanted.


  2. Not sure how I got here, but I found your flower quiz. Love the tomato pool boy analogy and serious bummer that its flavor doesnt live up!


  3. Hanna,

    Do you eat anything besides tomatoes?!?!?! Whatever will you do next year? Zucchini tastings? I can only imagine how your friends would run at that project!

    –Robin (Bumblebee)


  4. Ahh. typical pool boy. all flash, no cash.
    but he certainly is beautiful.


  5. hannamyluv on

    Holly – Sigh, the pretty ones always seem to disappoint. 😉

    bug_girl – I saw that one! Very weird.

    Callipygia – Thanks for leaving a comment!

    Robin (Bumblebee) – I (HEART) Tomatoes!

    jen – LOL


  6. Heh-you described a teacher aide who worked at our school a few years ago. Very good looking, with slightly vapid green eyes, and we knew he’d look good without a shirt. Nice guy, we all liked him, but knew he was just a pretty boy. Just like that monstrous tomato.


  7. div on

    Other than the cherry tomatoes, this was the most prolific in both my DC rooftop garden and my dad’s suburban garden. It was very heat resistant and totally pretty. Too bad it tasted like a store-bought tomato in February. Ick.


  8. Joey Baulnutzio on

    This tomato tastes a lot like toe cheese. I must agree with the previuos comments by Billy Ballsaccio…this tomato will cleanse your colon quicker than an enema. I didn’t hurl but I spent most of the day sprinting for “the throne”.


  9. Tina Naubgobler on

    How do you know what toe cheese tastes like?
    I think you have a serious acid condition. You need to see a Doctor.
    This tomato is LOADED with acid and certainly could cause you to rip some big smelly farts but “sprinting for the throne most of the day”???
    Give me a break.


  10. I had the same experience with Costoluto Genovese two years ago, tasted like @#$%! and they took forever to ripen. Good looking tomato, but clearly, looks aren’t everything! I’m (sort of) running my own tomato trials this year too: Green Zebra,Super Sioux, Garden Peach, Peacevine and Brandywine. Brandywine and Green Zebra are repeats, I really like them and had extra seeds left over from last year. I had extra Costoluto Genovese left over too but he didn’t make the cut. I look forward to checking on your progress.


  11. jim b on

    This review hit the nail right on the head. It’s a pretty tomato, I don’t hate it but it’s small, late and not very productive. I wouldn’t use the space on it again.


  12. Massimo Zucchini on

    Ciao — I am a importer of Italian wines, and I fell in love with these tomatoes on one of my many wine buying journeys to Italia, having had them in a caprese salad sliced with basil and super fresh burrata mozzarella. A drizzle of olive oil, salt, and a grind of pepper and I was in heaven. I am partial to Italian varietals for tomatoes (san marzano, principe borghese, costoluto genovese, etc), and have grown these beautiful fruits several times. My experiences have not been like anything I’ve read here, other than the late ripening. Most I have grown have been a generous handful in size, not the small ones I’m hearing about here. They do love lots of heat and sun, so if you’re in the northern half of the US you probably won’t get enough of these ripened on the vine to be happy. The taste is wonderful, more of a real tomato than so many others. I don’t care much for low acid, “sweet” toms, but those tend to be favs of the American sweet palate. No problem with that, to each his/her own, but many toms cultivated in Europe tend to be higher acid with intense tomato flavors, perfect for slicing for caprese, cooking into sauce, or drying in the sun.

    One place I have reliably found good Italian seeds is Seeds from Italy ( I have no affiliation with the folks there, just happy that they are able to bring over the Franchi seeds that I love. What fantastic varieties of all verdure italiane. They don’t always have Costoluto Genovese seeds, but I have found some here: . I don’t know these folks, but they look reputable.

    Best of luck growing this one, and don’t give up on the pool boy! 😉



  13. wr eppler on

    I don’t know what planet some folks raised this delicious tomato on, but in Northern MI I had the best tasting fruit ever. Good for cooking canning and salads. WE have a very short growing season with long warm days and cool nights which may be a factor. Seeds were started under grow lights,transplanted when soil temp was right with an outstanding tasting tomato finished product. It’s our favorite.


  14. I garden in eastern nebraska. and I have to say that this tomato is one of my favorites. I have grown close to 50 varieties, and I always make sure to save room for 2 or 3 costolutos every year. I use them strictly for sauce. They are rather watery for sauce, but the taste of the finished product is phenomenal.


  15. RGM2 on

    I live in phoenix and plan to grow these tomatoes. They are supposed to taste MUCH better in the dry heat here. We will see.


  16. Beth on

    I’m growing this for the first time this year and after doing a lot of online “research” I choose to grow the C.G. and San Marzano both for their SAUCE making qualities. Nothing I’ve read praised the C.G. for it’s fresh-eating appeal, but said the tart acidic flavor was perfect for use in sauce or anything that was to be cooked/processed. I suppose, just like wine grapes, the long hot days and cool nights would increase the acid in the fruit, making it perhaps unpleasant to eat fresh. Unless of course it is paired with some fat (i.e. the olive oil and cheese). I think it’s unfair to write off this variety simply because you’ve done a raw tasting – you should have different categories…..something like best of the sandwhich tomatoes(tastes good with bread and mayo, etc), best of the sauce making tomatoes, etc…. Having tried sauce made with C.G.s I’d much prefer it over sauce made from a Brandywine. I’d slice a big fat slab of a brandywine in a sandwich long before I’d do that with a C.G.(w/the reported tart acidity and frequent toilet trips). The end use determines the reason for each type I grow…..who knows I may not like it, but that sauce was amazing.

    P.S. Maybe the pool boy looks good and his summer job is to do that, but who knows…he may be a bio-chemistry pre-med student putting himself through college and come winter, he turns out to be something entirely different.


  17. Steven Creber on

    I grow this tomato in Melbourne, Australia, a climate I guess you’d call warm to hot but cool winters.It produces good quantities of really tasty fruit, higher in acid than commercial tomatoes but what I’m looking for in an heirloom. Bad experiences may be related to the growing climate. It responds really welll to sulphate of potash in my experience.


  18. I wouldn’t call Costaloto Genevese the “Poolboy” of tomatos, I would call them the “Granny Smith” of tomatos. Nice to look at and really great for cooking.

    On the other hand, you wouldn’t grab one and start munching on it. Both are tart with great flavor for sauces etc.


  19. Valerie on

    I use half CGs and half sweet tomatoes (Brandywine or whatever is around) and make killer oven-roasted tomato sauce. Mmmmmm….


  20. noahj on

    I really like this tomato. Here, on the cool grey shores of San Francisco Bay (Berkeley) where summetime high temperatures are in the mid-sixties, it produces while other tomatoes keel over and die. Decent salad tomato, exceptional sauce tomato, the only downside is a fairly thick skin, which is what makes them so bulletproof.


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