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At Il Fornaio Del Mar, you will discover authentic Italian food and caring hospitality. Left to right, Server Mattia Cimolin, Executive Chef Roberto Gerbino, Night Manager Walter Scotto and General Manager Vittorio Homberger. Photos by Frank Mangio
ColumnsTaste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Il Fornaio – authentic Italian hospitality

Il Fornaio in Del Mar has been presenting authentic Italian food, creating an Italian experience, since 1989. Perched up on Del Mar Plaza, it has a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean. The Del Mar location is one of 22 that start the day with rustic, crisp baked bread, fresh from the oven. The delicious bread provides an opening treat for lunch or dinner accenting the flavorful sauces that simmer with meats, fish and vegetables.

Il Fornaio featured Branzino Intrecciato and Sartori Valpolicella wine from Verona, in Veneto Italy.

It’s been this way since 1972 when Il Fornaio was founded in Barlassina, Lombardia Italy. That led to a retail bakery in Milan, Italy, in 1975.

The U.S. had Il Fornaio bakeries until their present-day high quality Italian restaurants took their place in 1989.

Il Fornaio demonstrates recipes and preparations that Italians have mastered over centuries of producing great Mediterranean style food. Each month, the restaurant presents Festa Regionale, an exclusive exploration of the food and wine of the different regions of Italy with a passport program of gifts and rewards for guests who dine on those menus that celebrate such areas as Sicilia, Friuli, Piemonte and the next special menu, the food and wine from Campania, Aug. 7 to Aug. 27.

On the occasion of my visit to the Del Mar location and a reunion with my friend, General Manager Vittorio Homberger, it was a salute to the Veneto region.

The most attractive menu item was the braided Brenzino, a Mediterranean seabass baked in white wine and served with Yukon Gold potatoes and sautéed vegetables. For the wine, the Sartori Valpolicella 2013 Estate Collection from Verona did well in bringing out the Adriatic flavor of the seabass. Wines to try from Veneto also include: Soave, Prosecco, Amarone, the Belllini cocktail, Rondinella and Corvina. Find out more on the August Campania menu, which includes Naples, at, or call (858) 755-8876.

One too many at the last tasting? Read on.

My friends at the worldwide wine publication, Wine Spectator, occasionally publish an article on wine and health. In the latest edition, they speak to the “common hangover” that comes with too much to drink. So, what to do “to combat the headache, nausea, fatigue and shakiness that may afflict you the following day.”

Certainly there has been a lot of goofiness and fairy tales about how to get out from under the distress of this mournful condition, with little scientific research on what to do. Even though we don’t really know the causes, what we do know is that water “is at the top of the list.”

Water, especially with a lot of electrolytes, can help the issue of “dehydration and make us feel better.”

Hangovers seem to develop inflammatory conditions, according to Wine Spectator. Aspirin and ibuprofen can lessen this condition. It is also recommended that individuals could “sweat it out” with exercise. “Sweating excretes toxins, even a leisurely walk could help if you’re not feeling well,” the magazine stated.   We are not going to see any miracle cures. Wine Spectator concluded that “as long as you stay hydrated and listen to your body … the pain should only last a few hours anyway.”


Wine Bytes

  • La Costa Wine in Carlsbad presents a German Wine Tasting from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 11 and Aug. 12. Cost is $20 for the crisp, refreshing lineup of German wines. Call (760) 431-8455.
  • Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas will have the Wines of the Southern Hemisphere from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 11. Up to six wines for $30 per person, $20 for club members. Check it and other events at
  • PAON Wine Lounge is offering memorable and rare wine events with the “Blue Chips of the World part 2” at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20. Includes Chateau Lafite, Ornellaia, Screaming Eagle and Harlan, plus more! Cost is $300 each. Secure your spot now by calling Gino Campbell at (760) 729-7377 or email [email protected].
  • The Barrel Room in Rancho Bernardo is planning a five-course Pinot and Pork wine dinner at 6 p.m. Aug. 23. Cost is $75 per guest. Enjoy entrees like Porchetta Marsala and Pork Bolognese with an all-pinot wine list. Go to


Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. He is one of the leading commentators on the web. View his columns at Go to menu then column. Reach him at [email protected].