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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