Where do you go for nice tomatoes?

Nice tomatoes, for salads that is, not for cooking.

It's commonly said that modern tomatoes are nasty, water filled, tasteless etc. not like in my granny's day...

We always found Auchan's five on the vine to be pretty decent (though I suspect the smell they have if you give them a good sniff is sprayed on). But, anyway, we thought we really ought to give market tomatoes 'à la ancienne', bio etc a go. Sadly so far they've all been somewhat insipid. Is it us? Are these new modern tasteless tomatoes 'à la fausse ancienne' not like real ancienne ones or what?

(We do grow cerise tomatoes in summer which are often great!)

Hi Steve,

I happened to go to the bank in Lalinde just before lunch on Saturday and found that there were a few veg stalls in the colonade there. So, after my visit to the bank I popped over to take a look, rather than speed off the local Intermarche.

Bought a very nice (firm & tasty) punnet of mixed yellow an red cherry tomatoes - the yellow ones were strangely pointed, really delicious...

However, the real find was a punnet of smallish fresh figs with delicate thin skins,terribly morish....scrumptious, have just polished off the last of these, the nicest I have ever eaten anywhere....fab. Must get some more, before the season finishes....

Well I am here in Catalan ...and they spread the juice and flesh of the tomato

on toasted bread[garlic and chilli often included] great as healthy and tasty.

Dinner party palat cleaner.....tomato and basil sorbet.

my greenhouse

Or you could support local producers and go to the GAEC de Franchemont on the Le Fleix road just at the entrance to Bergerac - they are very good value and their fruit & vegetables are excellent (but open only on Tuesdays and Fridays from 5 to 7 pm because the rest of the time they sell their produce on markets all over the area).

All three shops do well and the one in the city centre, behind the station is perfect for the city dwellers.

Just think, a bit of imagination could have seen the likes of Grand Frais and others being established near the Bergerac airport ! All that land to the south looks perfect what with the good access to all points etc.

You are lucky having three....we have one I Bergerac.

I am meeting friends at the airport there.

Poor unwanted Bergerac airport!
Lets see how full the flight is.


Good tomatoes need sunshine to be tasty. Just being labelled bio doesnt make them good as my neighbour at the market discovered when she couldnt give away the bio tomatoes she had bought in. She gave some to me and they were awful. At the market if you find the growers who grow their tomatoes in soil in the open air, ie not a tunnel they will generally have more flavour. The more regular the shape in my experience the less interesting they are. The yellow ones are often sweet as are the pinkier colour ones. If you are comfortable with your french ask your market trader, who with any luck is the grower, which are the ones that are more sweet, or better for cooking , or better for salads they will be delighted you are interested and will sell you something good generally as they want you to come back. Check their hands to see if they are hands that work in the soil then you will know for certain that they know what they are talking about.

During the winter I buy my tomatoes from lidl tending towards the cherry style or the muti coloured packs they sell at certain times of year. So far I have been lucky.

Sorry this has turned out rather long winded but I have a family of tomato lovers. We cannot grow them as we get a lot of tomato blight. I have only learned to like tomatoes since we have lived in France but still cannot face eating the standard supermarket tomato.

Grand Frais is excellent Barbara but unfortunately their shops are a pretty fair way away for many of us. However, I will be in Limoges on monday so a visit to one of the three Grand Frais shops is obligatory.

Tomatoes are great.

Grand frais is an excellent shop....will be there in the morning for goodies.

I've been following the saga of tomatoes à la fausse ancienne for about a year now. Famous old varieties, principally Coeur de Boeuf, Noire de Crimée, Ananas, Green Zebra and Lemon Boy, found themselves fashionable and suddenly commanded high prices. But they weren't amenable to high volume production as required by the grands surfaces. Therefore fast and furious research went into the production of look-alikes. These can often be detected by the regularity of shape, size and ripeness of a display of (hothouse) fruit. The real ones, grown slowly out of doors, are knobbly and lumpy, often split and liable to green patches from sun scorch. There was a wave of protest led by certain chefs, incensed by the deceptive labelling of anonymous hothouse tomatoes under heritage names.

Of the 26 varieties I've grown this year, 18 are personal favourites and 8 are new. Favourites come and go but the five heritage varieties above have been on my list for years. Among the cherry tomatoes: Sungold and Nectar plus one of the new ones, Cookie.

To name an absolute favourite is like asking what is your favourite child. If you can't grow your own, find a local producers' stall at a market, or visit a vide grenier in tomato season. They may well only have one heap of tomatoes for sale, and the stallholder may not be able to tell you what variety they are, because he or she saves the seeds from one year to the next. I can virtually guarantee these will be good.

That said, I saw a handsome display of Noire de Crimée at Terre y Fruits in Descartes today. If those were fausse someone has done a good job.

If you don't grow your own, the only shop worth buying fruit and veg is Grand Frais.

Wish I had the time, some of us have to work....

I quite like the Roma tomatoes found in the local supermarket, quite tasty andare ok in the pan or in a salad.

Grow your own its so easy

Not only, the long pointy 'Peru' tomatoes are really good. They are simply an original type (tomatoes are like potatoes, maize, peppers, chilis and umpteen other things we take for granted from the Andes), in the mountains there are no such things as round tomatoes and that variety does well on poor soil with minimal muck to have a distinct and good flavour. I bought some from a bio but mass producer but they tasted nothing like my own this year. But yes, unforced coeur de boeuf are superb and try keeping the seeds from vine or cherry tomatoes, grow two generations of them and discover the real flavour! My daughters eat them like actual cherries.

The vast majority of commercially available tomato plants (and seeds) are hybrids which have been cross-bred through the years to improve resistance to fruit apical rot, storage, and blight, etc, which has also resulted in changes to their organoleptic characteristics.

grow your own, or find a local market. IMHO the most tasty toms are the old varieties such as coeur de boeuf, noire de crimée, marmande, etc. They are easily found here in the Ariége. Once you've tasted an unforced outdoor grown coeur de boeuf, you won't want anything else, except perhaps the other trad varieties grown in the same way. The caveat is that the growing conditions have to be good.

I just read this and had to chuckle. Just 10 mins ago my elderly French neighbour brought me two large carrier bags( probably 10kg!)of beautifully mis-shapen, sweet garden tomatoes. I shall be asking for recipes next? But my point is,perhaps your neighbours grow them too or you could plan to grow your own next year.
P.S. In winter I always buy Morrocan tomatoes as they (especially the cherries which Auchan sells around 3€ a kilo) are usually very sweet.

If you're near Sète you should have no problem buying tomatoes from the roadside farmers, or indeed any of the local markets. Find the farmers' stalls rather than the wholesalers (the ones with every kind of fruit and veg possible). It may be that we are past the tomato season down here in the Languedoc. Unlike the supermarkets, the locals only sell what is in season. I find the ancient varieties the best.

Do you want me to do it?