After a long work week Dar and I normally congregate back at the house Friday afternoon and have a quick pow-wow about our supper plans for the evening. Normally we are just relieved to be at the week’s end and just want to crash for the evening before tackling the shopping and rest of the household chores on Saturday.
Ordering out is a must, sometimes we opt for ribs or chicken but a great deal of the time our thoughts turn to that yummy wheel of crispy dough slathered in sauce, meat and ohh so sticky cheese. Of course I’m talking pizza, and one of our all time favorite pizza joints is just a five-minute drive from our home in the French enclave of St. Boniface.
Chez Sophie is a thriving bistro in the heart of the district sandwiched between a French university campus, residential housing, and the spiritual center of the district the . Chez Sophie is a bistro first serving a classic spread of impeccably prepared French classics such as Cathedral Steak sauce au poivre (Steak in Peppercorn sauce), Boeuf Bourguignon (Casserole of beef), and Moule et frites (Mussels and fries).
But when the current owners moved in they also discovered that they had a pizza oven at their disposal and began to take full advantage of that fact. Drawing on their French heritage they not only make one, if not the best, traditional red sauce pizzas in Winnipeg but also specialties from the Alsace region of France.
I’ll let them describe those pizzas themselves, “An Alsatian specialty similar to the famous Flammenküechen. Taste this wonderful pie and see another side of Pizza like you never had before!”. Although I have never actually tasted this pizza from reading the menu the traditional tomato sauce is replaced with a savory crème fraîche sauce on a paper-thin dough cooked at extreme high heat to blister and crisp the crust to perfection.
I must admit that I am a bit of a pizza traditionalist, I enjoy a nice thin crust, a hearty tomato sauce and a scattering of toppings and cheese as not to over weigh the crust and make it soggy. To my utter delight when Dar introduced me to the Chez Sophie pizza experience a few years ago my tongue and taste buds were treated to pizza Nirvana.
The first thing that hits you as you grab a square slice is the aroma, this pizza was created with love. Your mouth begins to water as the scent of fresh cheese and home-made sauce tempt you closer. Then as you bite into it, the rush of flavor hits you.
Fresh fresh fresh, the tomato base tastes like they are growing a vine right in the kitchen, full and chunky not over processed or canned. Tomato, garlic, sweet basil flavor dances on your tongue, the thinly sliced meats then add the baseline to this symphony everything tastes of artisanal quality. The cheese sourced from a nearby Trappist Monastery where actual monks still make cheeses in the traditional manner. The crisp almost cracker like thinness of the blistered crust snaps off in your mouth begging urging you on to take another bite.
This is not your bargain basement 3 for 1 pizza joint, but surprisingly it is extremely affordable. Most weekends they run buy one get one deal that simply cannot be beat. Two piping hot, screamingly fresh large pizzas normally only runs us in the neighborhood of $25.00 or so and with them located almost literally around the corner from us is an extra bonus as I get to pick it up myself and bask awhile among the diners in the tiny bistro as I try to brush up on my conversational French. Almost no one here, diners or staff speak English as a first language, but I the lone Anglo in the room am welcomed just the same.
For a nice night out dining on fine French cuisine or just picking up a delicious pizza for a night at home you can never go wrong with Chez Sophie, C’est si bon! (It’s so good!)
Author’s Note: Don’t just take my word for it check out these other fantastic reviews.