The History of the Tomato
After the Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Spanish distributed the tomato throughout their colonies in the Caribbean. They also took it to the Philippines, where it spread southeast and then throughout the entire Asian continent. The Spanish also brought the tomato to Europe. It grew easily in the Mediterranean climate, and cultivation began in the 1540s. It was probably eaten shortly after it was introduced, and was certainly being used as food by the early 1600s in Spain. The earliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples in 1692, though the author had apparently obtained these recipes from Spanish sources. However, in certain areas of Italy, such as Florence, the fruit was used solely as tabletop decoration before it was incorporated into the local cuisine in the late 17th or early 18th century.