Of pies, chocolate and heirloom seed banks.
Petaluma is one of those towns that not many people would think of as a tourist destination. But on the road back to San Francisco it was a great overnight foodie stop at the end of the Sonoma Cheese Trail.
We were a little sick of cheese by the time we got there, so the many Zagat and Michelin recommended restaurants serving pies, chocolate, sandwiches, soups and pastas were a welcome relief. The Petaluma Pie Company decorates the walls with cut out pie tins, and do sweet and savoury pies in every flavour you can think of. Viva Cocolate have chocolate to take away, eat in, and they also offer chocolate classes.
On the way into town, we saw this little guy watching us from afar. As we got closer, we realised he had one brown and one blue eye. He was so calm, a little sad, and all alone. I am sure his owner was near, but I wanted to bundle him up in my jacket and take him home.
We headed straight to Della Fattoria, named by Bon Appétit as one of the ‘Top Ten Best Bread Bakeries in America’. The food was hearty and rustic. The name means ‘of the farm’, and their motto is:
good food, slow food, food that honors “place” and the culture and culinary bounty that surrounds us.
The bread was pretty spectacular, loose crumb, chewy, with a crust you had to gnaw on. Accompanying toasty warm Carrot and Ginger soup topped with crème fraîche, and a bowl of raspberry latte, we sunk back into the window box seats and spent the afternoon people watching. We loved it so much, in fact, we went back the next morning for a Prosciutto, Poached Egg and Polenta breakfast (and a caramel croissant pudding…)
After a day of eating, we head back to the hotel groaning that we never wanted to eat again. A few hours later, Mum and I decided to go out for some nice, healthy grilled fish and shrimp. I ended up with English-style battered fish and garlic fries. And an Oreo thickshake. I ate it all. I don’t regret it. I had heard Fourth and Sea was good, and I am glad we didn’t let the melamine diner in the middle of a parking lot exterior deter us. It was seriously good.
What I was most excited about however, was the Petaluma Seed Bank. I have just finished a unit at University called ‘From Hunter-Gatherers to the Blue Revolution’, and we spent weeks discussing crop biodiversity, seed banks, and the Green Revolution. I was thrilled to find a gorgeous old actual bank from the 1920’s converted into a seed bank, preserving heirloom varieties and ensuring the regions biodiversity.