Sweet Pea’s Baking Company is not just another small town bakery – it’s much more. Owners Rafael and Katjia Pita met as young students in Paris. There, on their first date, they shared their mutual dream of one day opening a bakery. Their journey brought them to Francisco, Paris, and Brazil, New York, and finally to Old Greenwich, Connecticut, where they decided to settle down with their 4 young children and finally pursue their dream.
Their storefront shop initially offered only artisanal breads, pastries and a few other select items along with their own in-house roasted coffee. In the year since they opened, they’ve transitioned from a small bake-shop to a café with an impressive offering of both prepared and made to order breakfast and lunch items. Katjia describes herself as the baker – loving the precision and exactness of it all, and refers to her husband, Rafael, as the creative one. Together their science and art created a winning combination.
Whether you want a small treat and a cup of their wonderful coffee, or something a little more substantial you’re guaranteed to find something that fits your mood.
Stop by in the morning and start off the day with something light and delightfully Parisian, enjoy a Tartine Your Way – and choose from a toasted baguette, sourdough or brioche served with butter and jam - the perfect accompaniment to your morning. Pair it with one of the bakery’s own home-brewed coffees.
Prepared in small batches, Sweet Pea’s offers coffee as coffee should taste – full in flavor, just the right acidity with none of the jarring bitterness that is often found in coffees that are roasted in mass quantity. Their fair trade coffees are ground to order and brewed in a French press. They offer a Daily Roast, which is a popular, everyday choice. The Costa Rican Tarrazu Don Roberto is rich and nutty. The Organic Ethiopian Washed Sidamo has a hint of citrus and berry. The Organic Mexican Onix is a dark roast with a long aftertaste and hint of chocolate. The Brazillian Sweet Blue is well balanced with notes of chocolate and caramel, and the Columbian Supremo Excelso Decaf is well rounded. For those wanting to enjoy this coffee at home, Sweet Pea’s has several roasts for purchase.
When visiting Sweet Pea’s I would suggest indulging just a little. Why not try a Croissant Madame? A croissant served with two poached eggs, pancetta, and a salad of spinach and pine nuts, or something more Unique – two poached eggs on a toasted brioche with Swiss cheese, bacon, and tomato and served with a cream sauce and asparagus. You could also try the Omelet with Scallions, Tomatoes and Mushrooms, or Triple Stack Pancakes (also available in Gluten free). The Sweet Pea’s Concote is a delightful dish consisting of a poached egg served in a light and tender roll with an herbed cream sauce and button mushrooms served with a mesclun salad and tomatoes. I had the privilege of sampling this first-hand. The egg was poached to perfection. The cream sauce was complementary, light and flavorful. It did not at all overwhelm or weigh down the egg or the salad. The peeled tomatoes and mesclun greens were lightly dressed in Rafael’s signature vinaigrette. This Parisian inspired dish may not be on most American’s radars, but I would urge anyone who loves a good poached egg to give this a try. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
For those wanting something other than breakfast food, Sweet Pea’s offers several hearty salads and sandwiches. Their Country Salad consists of two poached eggs, crispy bacon, red onions, parsley and homemade croutons. The Grand Palais Salad, is made with a delicious citrus and teriyaki marinated chicken served with a green salad, shaved fennel, sweet corn, red peppers, asparagus, garbanzo beans and toasted bread. One can never go wrong with the traditional tried and true Niҫoise Salad, served with tuna, hard boiled eggs, red peppers, potatoes, haricots vert, tomatoes, olives and white anchovies.
Rafael was eager for me to try two of his more creative selections, the Chez l’Amerique and Aunt Clara’s Choice. I was more than happy to oblige.
Aunt Clara’s Choice consists of three Brazilian cheese breads called Pao de Queijo, which on their own are out of this world. They are served with a slow cooked (to perfection) shredded pork loin, and topped with tomatoes, onions and parsley. The meat is hearty, yet delicate and tender, salty with just a hint of sweetness which when sandwiched between the tender cheesy Pao de Quiejo creates a sandwich experience I have never had before. This sandwich with its South American influence will satisfy those with hearty appetites. The bread is hearty enough to withstand the warm, slowly cooked meat, yet light and airy enough that it doesn’t leave you feeling weighted down.
Chez l’Amerique is a big sandwich, with big flavor and perfect for those with a big appetite. On a homemade brioche bun sits a generous pile of tender roast beef which is topped with Rafael’s own house-made bacon jam, sour cream and arugula. The bacon jam offers a unique sweet and savory flavor with its blend of caramelized onions and salty bacon. The sour cream and arugula offer the perfect balance. The layers of flavors and textures play well together and yet still manage to stand out on their own.
For those looking to grab and go, you’ll find several premade sandwiches on the bakery’s own house-made baguettes: Roast beef with onion confit, arugula, and peppercorn mayo; Grilled, marinated sage; and garlic chicken with lettuce and tomato; The classically French Jambon Beurre and Grilled Vegetables; Egg salad on white pain de mie; and Almond curry chicken salad on whole wheat pain de mie round up the selection.
A bakery isn’t a bakery without a wonderful assortment of baked goods. Mouthwatering tarts and cakes are available whole and by the slice. There are muffins, croissants, scones, brownies cookies, pain au chocolat, almond chocolate chip croissants, Brigaderos (incredible Brazillian fudge), the Pao de Queijo that I mentioned earlier and a wide assortment of cookies - Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Nutella, Everything, Snickerdoodle, Gluten-Free Maple Chocolate Chip. Artisanal breads include: Baguette, Whole Wheat Baguette, Multi Grain Baguette, Sourdough, Italian, Classic French Brioche, Rolls (white and whole wheat), Pain de Mie (white and whole wheat), Zucchini with Seeds (available Thursday and Saturdays), Chocolate Chip Milk Bread (available Fridays and Saturdays), Challah (available Fridays), Rye (available Saturday).
The bakery is currently closed on Sundays so that Rafael and Katjia can spend some time with their young children. It is their hope to find someone with their dedication and passion to help out with the bakery so that they can remain open 7 days a week.
This sweet café, bristling with young and old alike, offers other artisanal items that Katjia and Rafael have enjoyed over the course of their travels. You’ll find select jams, olive oils, teas, aprons and other items including Sweet Pea’s own coffee mugs that come all the way from Serra de Capivara, a national park in Brazil.
This little local café with an international flair has something for everyone. Whether you’re local or not, this special little place should be on your radar.
For more information visit their website... http://sweetpeasct.com/
Sweet Pea’s Bakery
212 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, CT