May-June 2010 | DINING AL-FRESCO'S

Fresco's Owner and Executive Chef Pino TomaselloPortoVino's Eno Envoy Paul CullenDINING AL-FRESCO'SDINING AL-FRESCO'S



Fresco’s owner Pino Tomasello serves up a trio of flavorful Italian dishes to complement the smooth taste of Fuso Barbera — a crisp and clean red wine

Written By: | Photographer: Stephen Cherry

With over 50 years of combined culinary experience, it’s safe to say that the crew at Fresco’s in Ocean City knows a little something about successfully pairing wines with fabulous food. But, even this team of professionally trained experts will take liberty with traditions once in a while – if it means achieving memorable dining experiences.
While known for their tried and true menu of specialized dishes, Fresco’s also promises to offer something new every day. From their food to their ambiance, owners Pino and Karen Tomasello are always working to maintain their high standards and to offer their guests innovation. And now the crew at Fresco’s has embarked on new design plans in their lounge area – working to “bring Napa Valley to Ocean City,” as area designer Angie Gillis explains. “This very upscale wine bar look, complete with wine barrel décor, will be fresh, yet old in character and charm.” Again, the new twist on tradition seems to be a recurring theme at Fresco’s.
Wine connoisseur Paul Cullen joined forces with Chef Pino to offer us a new twist on the traditional wine pairing.
Paul brings us another sustainable wine – FUSO Barbera from Colli Tortonesi Vineyard. Classic cranberry and raspberry notes combined with a zippy lemon-acidity and no
tannins make this groovy wine easy for anyone to work with – and Paul and Chef Pino demonstrate the ease of this pairing by serving it along with a diverse grouping of classic headliners from the Fresco’s menu – tenderloin carpaccio, eggplant involtini and  lobster fra diavlo.
Because this wine is vinified in steel instead of oak, it is not full of tannins and doesn’t coat the mouth after tasting. Instead, it leaves the palette crisp and clean – allowing for the flavors of food to linger.
“Actually,” commented Paul, “you can drink it with anything – anytime or anywhere.”
But can a traditional pairing really be that easy? Pino tends to agree with Paul that this process doesn’t need to be an intimidating one. How do you know when you’ve achieved a successful wine pairing?
“When you taste the wine, and it is smooth on your palette, and it blends well with the flavors of the dish you are eating,” answers Pino. One traditional rule of thumb that he suggests is usually safe to follow is to pair heavier dishes with heavier wines and lighter dishes with lighter wines. However, don’t be afraid to get creative with this rule. “The bottom line is to ultimately go with what tastes good to your palette – there are no more rules… only suggestions,” encourages Pino. “The good news in the wine world is that there is always something new to try!”
Fresco’s, 410-524-8202

Paul Cullen, 302-228-9775

PortoVino Italiano
Groovy Italian Wines

Available at: Teller Wines
Lewes, 302-644-2566

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