Sfoglia Italian Bakery & Café
No green beer on St. Paddy’s yesterday for me. Instead I took a turn through the south end of Sebastopol to check out the three-month new Sfoglia that I first read about on Fiesta Market’s website.
Patrick Lum, Fiesta’s Chefs from the Hood
Owner/chef Lum is also the pastry chef at Sassafras, and his resume includes other Michael Hirschberg ventures as well as Downtown Bakery in Healdsburg.
Michele Anna Jordan, Press Democrat, on Sfoglia
The no-name bakery sign posted by the roadway for so generic-sounding “espresso, pastries, panini” offers no inkling of the southern Italian gems to be found here. Tucked into the nook at the entrance of the Sebastopol Antique Society collective, Sfoglia has the spot formerly occupied by La Dolce V chocolatier. While still intimate, the cozy space has taken on an airier and sunnier southern personality. Lum’s sister and niece were helping out, and attention from family members made the experience even more warm and welcoming.
Image of sfogliatelle and cannolo
Stepping up to the counter, the multi-layered, golden brown sfogliatelle displayed on the pedestal drew my immediate attention. But then I saw the glass canister filled with cannoli shells ($3 each) and ordered one for immediate consumption. Filled to order with barely sweetened ricotta dotted with orange zest, the bubbly-surfaced cannolo shattered with crackly freshness with each bite. When another customer marveled that non-Sicilians could make such great cannoli, I overheard Lum’s sister joke with him that they’re just like fried won tons!
I also had the hot chocolate ($2.55), 16 ounces served in a wide café au lait cup. Made with my choice of whole milk, the Belgian chocolate had a pleasing tone but this was more like faint chocolate milk. However, the near butter-like whipped cream squiggled on top was heavenly.
One of the sfogliatelle ($2.50 each) went home with me. It ended up as a post-midnight snack. The very thin, hand-pulled layers had that distinctive brittle crispness around the corners of the pastry horn, but had started to dull towards the middle, likely due to the holding time. The sfogliatella filling was about the same as the cannoli’s but with an eggy richness and baked texture. Still quite good, I’m sure it would have been better earlier in the day. Can’t wait to stop by some morning for a fresh batch of this Neopolitan specialty.
Heather Irwin, PD’s BiteClub, on Sfoglia
Sfoglia Italian Bakery & Cafe
@ Sebstopol Antique Society
2661 Gravenstein Hwy., Suite H
Open daily, 10 to 5
Sfoglia has closed. The owner, Patrick Lum, also owns Village Bakery in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa. I called the Sebastopol branch just now to find out if it was baking sfogliatelle or the other Italian pastries. The woman said that the products had not moved over as of yet, and she added that she's had many, many requests from Sfoglia customers.
1445 Town and Country Dr, Santa Rosa, CA
7225 Healdsburg Ave, Sebastopol, CA
I stopped into Sfoglia over the weekend and it may have changed a bit since last year. The main non-pastry items on the menu boards were panini and small pizzas. They didn't have the sausage tart the Press Democrat article raved about (the woman said it was something they had last year). I had one of their small pizzas, a sausage/pesto one, and thought it was very good. I'm the person who always leaves the edges of the pizza crust uneaten, but not with this one. I also had one of their flourless chocolate tarts and it was also quite good, though maybe not up to the standard of Flour Chyld in Novato. Check this good place out again and see what you think of its current selection.
On another Sebastopol note, La Dolce V chocolatier, which used to be in this space and moved to downtown Sebastopol, is gone. So much for the best hot chocolate I've ever had.
re: Melanie Wong
Thanks SO much for pointing this place out ... I never would have spotted it otherwise. I'll post more tommorrow after enjoying the cookies with coffee for breakfast ... however two words ... savory tarts.
You were SO dead on with your description of the sfogliatelle ..
" ... distinctive brittle crispness around the corners ... but ... dull towards the middle ... with an eggy richness and baked texture. Still quite good,"
Those first few shattering bites were incredible. Probably the best I've ever had. But not as crispy in the center. The problem, I think ... if this can be a problem ... was the filling has too much cheese and butter. The richness and thick center, I think, is what throws it slightly off. It also needs a litle more orange zest distributed in the cheese. It was perfectly balanced on those first few crunches, then nothing ... except butter & cheese taste ... in that order.
Very on target in the OP with the wonderful staff and if I wasn't so weary would have loved to chat more about the breads with them.
Didn't get the canoli, but that chocolate doesn't seem like too much when I looked at it ... they are little chocolate pieces. The photo made it look like heftier chips.
I'll start a separate thread tommorrow to highlight the Easter breads available next week. Too beat ... disposed of my deceased cat's stuff at the flea market ... hopefully left any fleas, if any, there.
Thanks for checking it out. Can't believe 'hounds haven't jumped all over a more than decent sfogliatella, something almost completely unknown on the left coast.
When I was there, the chef's mom was entertaining a family group. She came over to introduce herself, we chatted a while, and she invited me to come to her house for dinner any time. Nice folks.
re: Melanie Wong
Part of it might be that Sebastopol is a little out of the way for most people.
I obviously had it high on my list for when in the area. Well, worth a stop for anyone living in the area or visiting up that way.
Next time I have the little marscapone cheesecake targeted ... and the panini ... and absolutely another one of those savory tarts.