Green and orange, red and yellow, pink and purple. The hues of the tomato are as diverse as its culinary possibilities. We like ours thickly sliced and sprinkled generously with sea salt, or slowly baked inside quiches and pies. With little embellishment, to really let the tomatoes do the talking.
Our friends at Natoora supply us with exquisite heritage tomatoes. Their sourcing adjusts weekly to capture the flavour peaks of the season, redefining ripeness and exceeding expectations of what a heritage tomato should, and can, be.
We are proud to partner with Natoora, a supplier renowned for sourcing radically seasonal produce that highlights the true cost of farming and protects the land from soil depletion. Favouring sustainable, nutritionally dense crops with revolutionary flavour. Together, we celebrate the remarkable benefits of heritage tomatoes, which carry a rich legacy and an unrivalled flavour.
The difference between heritage tomatoes and regular tomatoes lies in their lineage and cultivation. The heritage tomato, also known as an heirloom tomato, is cultivated from seeds that have been passed down through generations, preserving their unique characteristics and flavours. These tomatoes are grown for quality and complexity, prioritising taste over yield, resistance and uniformity. The meticulous care involved in heritage tomato planting results in exquisitely complex taste profiles that are unmatched.
With vibrant colours, rich flavours and diverse shapes, a heritage tomato can elevate any dish. The GAIL’s bakery and Natoora partnership ensures that we have access to the finest heritage tomatoes, to make your lunch that little bit more extraordinary.
HERITAGE TOMATO VARIETIES
From the bold and smoky Black Krim to the sweet and tangy Green Zebra, each variety of heritage tomato carries a unique story and a distinct taste. Cultivated from seeds that have stood the test of time, they offer a connection to the past and a celebration of biodiversity.
These are just some of our favourite tomatoes sourced by Natoora:
Bull’s Heart Tomatoes
Bull’s Heart Tomatoes, known as Cuore Del Vesuvio in Italy, are a remarkable variety with a rich history and distinctive characteristics. Grown near the majestic Vesuvius volcano in Torre del Greco, Campania, these tomatoes thrive in the mineral-rich volcanic soil, abundant sunshine and dry sea air. With scarred skin and complex flesh, Cuore Del Vesuvios defy the uniformity sought by commercial-scale farmers. The surface scarring on these tomatoes is a testament to the stress they endure during growth, resulting in an incredible depth of flavour.
Raffaele, a dedicated grower living in the shadow of Vesuvius, cultivates these prized tomatoes with great care, using family seeds passed down through generations. He allows the tomatoes to fully ripen on the plant, contributing to their beautiful complexity and unmatched taste. They have a remarkable flesh-to-seed ratio; the lower third of the tomato is purely meat.
You’ll find this incredible variety of heirloom tomato adorning our Heritage Tomato Bagel.
Cherry Vine Tomatoes
Natoora’s Sicilian Cherry Vine Tomatoes stand out in a market flooded with aggressively grown options. While many Sicilian tomatoes rely on hydroponics and hormones, Natoora takes a different approach. Bee-pollinated and nurtured in the mineral-rich volcanic soil, their tomatoes embody a natural and authentic growing process. Their dedicated partnership with grower Francesco has allowed them to carefully select this specific variety for its exceptional flavour. The result is a tomato with an irresistible intensity and concentrated sweetness.
Sun-Dried San Marzano Tomatoes
Carlo, in the picturesque region of Campania, is the master behind Natoora’s exquisite Sun-Dried San Marzano Tomatoes. He upholds a proud family tradition, cultivating these tomatoes from a cherished San Marzano seed that has been passed down through generations. Harvested at the peak of their ripeness, when they hang heavy on the vine with deep red hues and minimal water content, Carlo ensures that only the finest fruits make it into the drying process.
In a dedicated tunnel, these tomatoes undergo careful drying for a week, after which they are skillfully salted and finished in a specialised drying oven. This traditional method, prevalent throughout southern Italy, preserves the essence of the tomatoes, resulting in deliciously rich flavours.
DON’T JUDGE A TOMATO BY ITS SKIN
Natoora are on a mission to reshape several important conversations surrounding this remarkable fruit, including:
Franco Fubini, Natoora’s founder, grew up eating Camone Tomatoes – a triumph of Sardinian agriculture and gastronomy in the 80s and 90s. These tomatoes boasted a thick, crunchy skin, balanced acidity from the seeds and a uniquely sweet and umami-rich flesh. These characteristics were achieved through intentional stress. Planted in autumn near the sea in sandy soil, the tomatoes endured the cold months and saline conditions, pushed to their limits and developing slowly. While most tomatoes thrive in the summer, the Camone variety could only achieve its full potential during the winter season.
Natoora introduced the concept of “Winter Tomatoes” over a decade ago, challenging the conventional belief that tomatoes are only at their peak in the summer. They are shining a light on varieties of tomatoes that develop unique and valuable characteristics in the colder months, defying the expectation that tomatoes thrive exclusively in warm weather. These tomatoes ripen slowly, capturing a flavour profile characterised by brightly acidic seeds and a distinct umami sweetness in their crisp flesh.
Through their dedication to showcasing the extraordinary flavours of winter tomatoes, Natoora is reshaping the narrative and encouraging customers to embrace seasonal alternatives, fostering resilience in the food system.
The mark of complex flavour
Natoora believes that heritage tomato scars tell a story of complexity and taste. While commercial varieties are engineered to eliminate scars, considering them as defects, Natoora sees them as a testament to exceptional flavour and genuine variety. They actively seek out surface scarring as an indication of outstanding taste and authenticity. Take the Ragno Kaki heirloom tomato, which holds intricate lines resembling spider webs on its skin – a promise of molten, incredibly sweet flesh.
RIPE AND READY
Join us as we spotlight tomatoes at their peak across our summer menu:
1. Heritage Tomato Bagel
Adorned with Cuore del Vesuvio tomatoes – meaty Bull’s Hearts with incredible flavour that are a prized local variety in Campania.
2. Tomato and Artichoke Quiche
Italian sundried tomatoes, artichokes, creamy ricotta and spicy Ezme paste delicately encased in buttery shortcrust pastry.
3. Tomato and Courgette Slice
Crustless pie bursting with sweet cherry vine tomatoes, Westcombe cheddar and Kalamata olives.