July 19, 2017 – Twice she brought home small, hand pies from a nearby bakery. Blueberry and apple. The crust enclosing the fruit filling was as good as I’ve ever eaten. I preferred the apple filling but I would probably eat that crust with most anything enfolded in it. It’s that good. I had to visit Zia’s Italian Café & Gelato Bar.
Zia’s is a small, brilliant jewel. It is a coffee house that serves the finest coffee in beautiful presentations.
It’s a bakery where pastry chef Sergio Mendoza-Orta produces an assortment of sweets enclosed in that magnificent, perfect crust. And rows of other delectable delicacies.
If you want lunch, they offer a selection of excellent spuntini. Translated literally spuntini are “snacks.” Small plates.
It’s a little bit of Italy in California.
Owner Shari Coia Fulton stopped by my table to say hello. She opened Zia’s eight years ago in Placerville. After four and a half years, she moved the café a few miles down the road to El Dorado Hills. She oversees a staff that is friendly and helpful. A staff that makes it downright fun to be there.
Matteo Boger manages the front of the house. Desiray and Sean seemed pretty easy to manage from what I could see. Both showed up with the courses I had ordered at just the right time. Memorable service.
In the kitchen, Chef Sergio works his magic daily turning out one pastry after another. Desiray also spends time in the kitchen. The day I was there she had started early in the morning making scones. More magic.
I was hungry. I ordered the Roman Holiday. Bacon, eggs, tomato, shaved Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese nestled in a piadina. Piadina is a thin flatbread most often associated with the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. With Bologna as its capital, Emilia-Romagna is surrounded by the better known Tuscany, Lombardy, and Veneto. With Florence, Milan, and Venice as competition, Bologna gets little attention. The piadina, however, has been added to Italy’s list of traditional regional food products and attributed to the Emilia-Romagna region.
My piadina was excellent. It was very light, a quality that transferred nicely to the ingredients. Satisfying but not heavy. A perfect mid day spuntini.
I asked for a medium gelato. Peach melba. I got three scoops of Italy’s famous answer to ice cream. Gelato has less fat content than ice cream. Also less air. It has a smooth texture that just isn’t found in traditional American ice cream. Zia’s gelato is excellent.
Zia’s offers a lot of chocolate. And their chocolate comes from TCHO in San Francisco. I’ve visited TCHO. It’s all about chocolate. It’s a place for chocolate lovers. You can read about TCHO here. http://travelsthroughalife.com/?cat=5&paged=4
But after devouring my spuntini and gelato, I was content.
They were out of the blueberry hand pies that day. I had to settle for two apple pies to take home.
Guess I’ll have to go back for the blueberry.