A Taste of Della Fattoria in Petaluma
Everyone has wanted to taste some part of the homemade bread crafted at Della Fattoria in Petaluma, even including Martha Stewart.
It’s true. The domestic goddess visited the artisanal family run bakery for a lesson on dough shaping in 2003, arriving by helicopter.
No wonder — Della Fattoria owner Kathleen Weber crafts her breads with organic flours, Brittany sea salt, local extra virgin olive oils and, instead of commercial yeast, a natural starter featuring her family’s Petaluma ranch-grown grapes.
More than fine bread, however, Della is a café, too, with long lines snaking out the door for its breakfasts, lunches and, now, dinner, with that meal service added this summer.
A communal table is popular for sharing in the lively place, while the table or two outside on the sidewalk is quickly claimed for prime people watching. A visit should include a trip to the restrooms to see the fast-paced kitchen environment, since they’re accessed via the back kitchen and its bustling bakery.
The look: The historic building has housed various bakeries for more than 150 years, and still wins with that rustic chic charm.
It feels good in the small space where décor mixes weathered wood floors against ornate chandeliers, antique clocks, dried flowers and hand-illustrated photos of the wood-oven fired bakery.
To eat: Toast. The warm, crunchy edged bread is fabulous as thick slices smeared with butter, but even better topped with goodies like a puree of Rancho Gordo cannellini beans, chévre, roasted garlic, olives, and olive oil on rosemary-Meyer lemon loaf.
At breakfast, “toasties” include a must-order trio of a platter spread with one Rancho Gordo bean toast, one chunky egg salad decorated with radish sprout, and one smoked salmon with housemade cream cheese, cucumber, pickled onions, capers, and a shimmer of olive oil on honey-kissed pane integrale (dark whole wheat/rye grain, $9).
Brunch polenta and eggs are marvelous, as well. The creamy, griddle corn cake is smothered in melted Havarti, with a poached egg and breadcrumbs ($10), or lacy prosciutto, warm, juicy spinach, two eggs, and breadcrumbs ($13).
At lunch, a tuna melt piadina brings pizza dough baked pillowy and golden in a cast iron skillet, folded over a warm blend of tuna salad, cheddar, arugula, citronette, and tart pepperoncini ($14).
Now, Della is open for dinner on Fridays through Sundays. Menus change frequently, but a recent supper spoke of summer, in a salad of peaches, arugula, fennel, prosciutto, and ricotta salata moistened in sherry vinaigrette ($14). For an entrée, it was a silky slab of local salmon paired with roasted vegetables and a rich saffron aioli ($24).
To note: Knock yourself out with the pastry case, brimming with custards, tarts, cupcakes, pluot panna cotta, lemon cream parfait, and eclairs, cobblers, and mini German chocolate cakes.
To drink: Chai latte ($3.50), a passion fruit Prosecco mimosa ($10), or French, Italian, and wines from Sonoma County and Napa Valley.
Dessert: Anything from the dessert case, or toast with thick-spread Bellwether ricotta, sliced organic bananas, toasted pecans, honey, and a sprinkle of fleur de sel ($9).
Details: 141 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma