I love new. Places, people, experiences…new has a mystical hold over me. While this trait comes in handy when, say, writing a food blog a worrying amount of people (some serious, some not, some half) have accused me of being addicted to new. Whelp, my cowboy boots I’ve had since I was sixteen (nine years) and a ten year relationship with my now husband show otherwise. When something new really sings, when it digs in and grasps something deeper, I’m hooked.
Sophia’s Greek Pantry in
Watertown Belmont is a recent example. It’s an open secret that Sophia’s Greek yogurt is a key ingredient of breakfast items from Sofra to 3 Little Figs. Her yogurt is like nothing you’ve ever tasted: rich with a deep, sour cream-like taste and a smooth, almost fluffy texture. Rumor has it that this magical flavor and consistency is due to a blend of goat and cow’s milk. And then there’s the freshness…
I’ve been addicted for awhile now. Sofra’s Moroccan spice donuts, farmer’s market tarts, and spinach lamejun with mint oil have all but lost their appeal in comparison to the (simply named) yogurt parfait. It started when I ordered thirty of them for a big meeting at work. Exhausted from seeing to everyone else’s needs, I hid away at my cavern-like desk, snapped off the to-go cup top, and plunged my plastic-ware spoon down through the layers of yogurt, grano, and fruit compote. Cue the sunshine, hearts, and blue birds. I blinked and gave the parfait a second look- what the hell was this stuff? There was the thick yogurt (a perfect balance between sour and richness) buoying firm, honey kissed and perfectly al dente grano, which was washed in sweet, citrus-tinged fruit.
Needless to say, I’ve bought it whenever I’ve had the chance. At $7 a pop, though, I might as well take up smoking. So it was with a rare frugal streak that I went straight to the source to stock up and figure out how to recreate my luxurious addiction at home.
Sophia’s possesses a charm its plain exterior doesn’t hint at. There’s a warmth and energy that can only be generated by a family-run place. Sophia herself greeted me right away then proceeded to command a group of muscular, attractive young guys to go “get more feta, check on the grape leaves, make call backs against Easter lamb delivery…" She is infused in the place like herbs in oil.
It is clean, tidy, and no-nonsense- which lets the quality and uniqueness shine through. Intimidated by labels in a language I could not read, I moved along the prepared foods to grab a bottle of red wine vinegar and a tub of the freshest looking olives I’ve ever seen. Next I spotted the blocks of fresh feta and request a bit of the domestic. Sofia wrapped my little chunk perfectly in wax paper (with a little extra to store). Next I gravitated to the refrigerator case by the register, which holds the regular Greek yogurt and a new frozen variety. I request the largest container they sell and her husband hand packs it for me.
Red wine vinegar, feta, olives, and a quart of Greek yogurt- $20. A new find that renews your love for this place you live and makes you giddy with anticipation? Priceless.
Sophia’s Greek Pantry is located at 265 Belmont Street in Belmont. The website is down but hours are 8 AM- 7PM Monday through Saturday. Stay tuned for my recipe for recreating Sofra’s yogurt parfait at home- in mason jars (figuring if I go in to typical food blog territory I might as well GO BIG).