Introducing the Tommelier aka the Tomato Expert

We are nearing summer, our farmer's markets are soon to be full with bright colours and juicy fruits and vegtables, and with this comes the search for the perfect tomato for the illustrious Greek salad.
...and just as you are trying to pick out the perfect tomato, someone tells you that there are people who become specialists in this. Let us introduce you to the Tommeliers, a.k.a tomato experts!

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Today I read about the first tommelier in England. Could you repeat that please? After the sommelier, please welcome the tomato expert, the man who knows how to choose “the one”, the tommelier!

I can think of many specialist culinary professions that I wouldn't mind trying, but the tomato is not really my thing. A "cucumbier", perhaps, and a "chocolatier", definitely, and maybe even a "potatier", though tasting potatoes all day might be a bit dull.

Tomatoes are considered to be the ultimate Mediterranean food and are constantly becoming global rulers. This is not only because research has shown that they may help protect us from cancer, that they reduce cholesterol and that they keep our skin youthful, but also because they protect us from the harmful sun-rays. 

Paolo Battistel, age 48, is a tommelier who respects his job and has even started his own school (a 'Tomato Academy'?) near Lake Garda. He believes that it is time for us to understand that there are, in fact, 5000 different varieties of tomato internationally, with 500 in Italy alone!

Paolo was raised in a farm just outside Venice and he learned all there is to know about tomatoes from his grandmother Maria, who cultivated them as a hobby. Every year, her goal was to produce the first tomatoes in the village, as well as the largest ones.

At the age of 4, not only had he become her assistant, he was also the only member of the family allowed to call her by her first name. In this way, he learnt that a good tomato is not necessarily green, red, sweet, crunchy, juicy, soft or hard; it is far more complex an issue.


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