Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bertolli and Classico Reviewed: Tomato & Basil Spaghetti Sauce Compared

It was odd to eat a spaghetti sauce right out of the jar, since I usually make homemade sauce, or at least 'doody up' jarred sauce with mushrooms and onion or ground beef.  But, I couldn't resist seeing what you could buy for less than three bucks, right off the shelf.  Maybe I would find that I could replace hours of chopping and simmering with a quick trip to the grocery store. 

Bertolli vs. Classico
First, some details.  The 24 ounce jar of Bertolli cost $2.88 at Ingle's; the same size jar of Classico cost $2.98.  Next, I would just like to mention that both entrants have very attractive labelling, although I give Bertolli the edge on this count for its sharp and appealing depiction of tomatoes and basil, along with other label stylization, and a nice jar with 'hips'.  Additionally, the Bertolli sauce itself appeared slightly more appetizing due to it's larger tomato chunks.  From here, things go downhill for Bertolli.  A half cup serving of Bertolli sauce contains 80 calories (20 from fat), 9g of sugars, and 520mg of salt.  This compares unfavorably with Classico's 50 calories per serving (10 from fat), 5g of sugars, and 380mg of salt.

Bertolli - This sauce's additional calories come from a higher olive oil and sugar content.  The added sugar makes itself known in the taste of this sauce, as it is a sweeter sauce than its competitor.  I did not like the sweetness.  The chunkier tomato texture is appealing, but not meaningfully more so than Classico. 

Classico -  This sauce had a finer texture and more classic Italian flavor. It was notably less sweet and more tart, probably because of the citric acid inclusion.  Of the four people who compared the two sauces for this review, this sauce was picked by three as the best. 

So there you are.  Classico was the clearcut winner in this comparison.  While the Bertolli sauce was an acceptable sauce and had prettier packaging, the reviewers felt that the sweetness and lack of tartness handicapped this sauce compared to Classico.  Classico had a classic and balanced flavor that was head and shoulders above Bertolli.

P.S.  If I have time to make my own sauce, I will still do that rather than buy either of these.  (Where is the oregano??)


  1. Personally, having used both quite a bit (classico until I tryed the bertolli), I like the added olive oil content in the bertolli, as I've added classico to a hot pan and actually had it char up in the pan. I also used to have fairly bad acid reflux after eating dishes made with the classico, but don't have that problem at all with the bertolli, maybe because it's more sweet that tart. For most pastas I made where I'm not using my own homemade sauce, I tend to like using the Bertolli Tomato and Basil and adding garlic and oregano to the sauce.

  2. I used to love the Bertolli Tomato and Basil, but now that they've added "Even More Basil" it tastes terrible. Not very fresh and tomato-y tasting at all.


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