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    Safeway Corporate Brand is Tops in Tortellini in San Fran

    Trader Joe's, Andronico's, and Draeger's were other private label pastas judged in a taste test by The San Francisco Chronicle.

    Safeway's Safeway Select private label tortellini beat out eight other brands - including other private label grocery offerings and an import from Italy - in a taste test held yesterday by The San Francisco Chronicle.

    A panel of food experts sampled fresh tortellini with a variety of fillings picked up at local grocers. The nine brands were boiled according to package directions, and were tasted with "just a splash of olive oil without sauce," the Chronicle reported.

    Only a few products earned respectable scores, according to the story, and those were primarily more widely available, mass-produced brands.

    Safeway Select ($3.79/9 ounce package) took first place, with the judges noting its generous filling and uniform pieces.

    In second place was Buitoni ($3.50/9 ounce package) - which is also available at Safeway - was noted for its thin tender pasta and "good ratio of flavorful filling."

    Gourmet Italian import Antica Pasteria ($4.69/8.8 ounce package purchased at Andronico's) took the third-place spot, also for its pasta and generous filling.

    There was a significant drop in scoring for the remaining brands, which included
    fourth-place Trader Joe's Italian line Trader Giotto's ($1.99/10-ounce package) and Monterey Pasta Company ($6.29/9-ounce package bought at Mollie Stones), which took fifth place.

    The remaining pasta were:
    6th place: Andronico's (private label)
    7th place: Draeger's (private label)
    8th place: The Pasta Shop
    9th place: Bertagni

    Panelists were Linda Anusasananan, food writer and consultant; John Carroll, cookbook author; Emily Luchetti, pastry chef, Farallon, San Francisco; Shelley Handler, consultant; and Roland Passot, chef-owner, La Folie and five Left Banks. All products were tasted blind

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