• Lanie Wish

Fresh Ingredients & Supporting Local

Image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

How much do you really know about your favorite restaurants prepare your food? It's pretty reasonable to ascertain that most national chain restaurants will use specific sauces and items in order to ensure consistent quality across the board. Because their recipes have to taste the same everywhere, they are not always able to use fresh or local ingredients.

One of the bonuses of not being a chain restaurant, like Sofia Ristorante, is that we can guarantee to our patrons that we use 100% fresh and local ingredients. Ever since mid-March, we were closed until May 4, when we re-opened with our Curbside Pickup menu, with our extended hours of 12 pm -8 pm Monday through Saturday. Upon re-opening under a different platform, owner Emma Parente and Chef Abby were dedicated to bringing local patrons the freshest and highest quality ingredients for every menu item. It is not always the most cost-effective strategy, but the quality of food is one aspect of Sofia Ristorante that cannot and will not change.

While it has been challenging to extend our usual level of dining service to Curbside Pickup, our food has maintained standards that would change the integrity of our menu. When our Executive Chef, Abby, revised our Curbside menu, she wanted to translate the Sofia Ristorante experience for people at home, since we've all been forced to "stay home" until further notice. At the heart of Sofia Ristorante lies our Tuscan-inspired Italian-American cuisine. Our patrons expect a certain level of quality of ingredients that go into each menu item at Sofia Ristorante.

Whenever possible, our produce is purchased locally. We feature grass-fed ground beef supplied by Kalon Farm in Lancaster, MA. There are several health benefits to buying naturally-raised beef, first and foremost, the beef is unprocessed. Other benefits are:

  1. Unprocessed meats are leaner and have a lower fat content.

  2. They are lower in saturated fats and higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is a type of fat that may reduce the risk of cancer.

  3. They typically contain fewer unnatural chemicals and/or steroids that can be used in processed meats.

For more information about Kalon Farms please visit www.kalonfarm.com.

We now use Fennel Pollen imported from Arezzo, which is in the Eastern part of Tuscany, Italy, to garnish all of our Parmesan and lasagna dishes. While we do not make the pastas onsite, all of the pastas that we use are all imported from Italy. All of the bread served with our entrees are all made on premises. Chef Abby bakes the rolls and the hoagie rolls in the morning.

Every sauce that accompanies each of our entrees are all made fresh in our kitchen. Chef Abby and owner Emma Parente believe the best food comes the freshest ingredients, which is how cooking is done in Tuscany.

Chicken and Eggplant are prepared and breaded in our kitchen, using a homemade breadcrumb mixture. Lasagna is homemade, prepared by Chef Abby on the premises. Our meatballs are made by hand. Anna Parente, the mother of owner Emma Parente, learned how to make them in Italy, a recipe that was handed down from her grandmother and mother.

For our desserts, our Tiramisu is homemade. Chef Abby makes the marscapone cheese by hand. For her homemade vanilla extract, she uses vanilla beans imported from Indonesia, which she then infuses with bourbon. The homemade vanilla extract is used for all of the desserts we serve.

Prior to the COVID-19 closings, we regularly featured homemade gelato that was made fresh daily.

Sofia Ristorante has prided itself on two major themes: fresh Tuscan-inspired recipes and a unique dining experience in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

So until Massachusetts allows dine-in service (theoretically Phase 2), our clientele is going to have to be satisfied with myself and Kate running out for Curbside Pickup. We are eager to serve in the dining room, so we may officially bring Joe back to complete our trio for dine-in service.

Rest assured that whether you order Curbside Pickup, or you wait until you can eat in our dining room, all the food prepared at Sofia Ristorante is made with fresh and local ingredients to bring you the freshest and most flavorful Tuscan-inspired Italian cuisine.


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