SARASOTA, FLORIDA – February marked the third anniversary of the retail operation of Peperonata Pasta & Empanadas by Stef, located in the plaza behind Chili’s at 4141 S. Tamiami Trail, #13, in Sarasota. The store sells a variety of fresh pasta and complementing sauces, as well as empanadas.
Owners Adrian and Marina Fochi moved to the United States from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he was a systems engineer and she was a home economics teacher. They brought with them a family tradition of making pasta, opening their first pasta business in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in 2002. They moved to Sarasota in 2006.
While Adrian and Marina spend their time perfecting recipes in their pasta factory on Ashton Road in Sarasota, Marina’s mother, Paula Piccaluga, runs the store. “It’s a family affair and we just love to cook,” said Paula, who is originally from Milan, Italy.
The Argentine-style empanadas are made by daughter Stefania Fochi, who has a Culinary Arts degree from Keiser University and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship degree from the University of Phoenix.
The decision to open a retail store was based on increasing customer demand. “We started small, selling mostly wholesale and at the Sarasota Farmers Market,” said Marina. “When more and more customers started coming to the factory, we knew it was time to open a retail location.”
Peperonata Pasta is available at Whole Foods stores statewide, three local Detwilers locations, and every Saturday at the Sarasota Farmers Market in downtown Sarasota. For more information, please call (941) 870-2729 or visit http://www.peperonatapasta.com.
Adrian, Nicholas, Marina and Stefania Fochi