Giancarlo DiTullio feature at Il Fornaio, Burlingame Wine Dinner

Last week, Andrea and I attended a special wine dinner at Il Fornaio in Burlingame.

The featured winery was Napa Valley’s Round Pond Estate.

Upon arrival, guests received a glass of Round Pond Estate 2017 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc, which had notes of ripe tropical fruits like guava and pineapple with a level of acidity producing a smooth, silky balance.

The Chef’s Appetizers soon followed.

Chicken skewer with mango sauce.

Eggplant roll with goat cheese.

Oyster with mignonette.

The appetizers were exquisite and each paired well with the wine as the acidity of the wine cut nicely through the richness of the dishes and complemented the acidity in the sauce of the oyster plate.

Executive Chef Michele Godina was hands on and helped with the service throughout the evening.

Chef Michele had been the executive chef at the Il Fornaio restaurant in Palo Alto the past four years prior to assuming the same position at the Burlingame location since November. In fact, quite a number of regulars from the Palo Alto restaurant attended the dinner.

Manager Giancarlo DiTullio welcomed guests and let us know, among other tidbits, that we could look forward to a variety of special events every month or so throughout the year. Giancarlo also previously worked at the Palo Alto location.

The dinner shined a spotlight on local non-profit organization Burlingame Community for Education. Jeff DeMartini from the organization was in attendance to talk more about the organization and its mission to help support the K-8 students of the Burlingame School District.

Andrew Iacopelli of Round Pond Estates provided an excellent introduction to the winery as well as a brief, informative primer on what to look for in the wines and the dishes coming forth, namely the interplay between the tannin in the wines and the featured fat in the paired dish.

From among Il Fornaio’s own staff, John Adams provided excellent accompaniment with live music throughout the dinner.

The next wine from Round Pond Estate was their 2015 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon.

Earthy, oaky, mineral notes from the wine paired magnificently with the main appetizer:

Beef tartare with bell peppers, onions and parsley with quail eggs.

I witnessed a guest say, “I can die now,” after enjoying the dish. I knew exactly what she meant.

The Round Pond Estate Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc made another appearance for the pasta course.

Vegetable lasagna with béchamel and genova pesto, which was another astounding dish. Again, the acidity of the wine cut perfectly through the delicious richness of the pasta dish.

Then it was time for the first of two breaks for raffles. Prizes consisted of wines and olive oil from Round Pond Estates as well as wines from Il Fornaio, with all the proceeds going to Burlingame Community for Education.

Giancarlo and Andrew.

The Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc also paired well with the fish course:

Fresh Alaskan halibut over a caponata in cherry tomatoes coulis sauce.

Those opting for meat instead of fish enjoyed a glass of Round Pond 2016 Kith & Kin Cabernet Sauvignon.

Paired with lamb shank braised in red wine and root vegetable served over a polenta fondue. The Kith & Kin is a well-balanced cabernet that matched well with the lamb dish.

Finally, the sublime Round Pond 2015 Reserve Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon made its appearance. It’s a memorably flavorful and smooth wine.

Paired with lava cake over a reserve wine reduction served with vanilla gelato.

The bold red cab was a fine companion for the chocolaty dessert.

In fact, several guests commented how they appreciated that the dessert was not accompanied by a sweet wine, as dessert courses in pairing dinners can easily get too sweet.

The dinner was a very special event, a truly indulgent evening filled with amazing wine, masterful dishes, attentive service and a warm and festive vibe in a beautiful space.

A definite culinary highlight for us. We are so grateful.

Salute! Cheers! Prost! Gunbae!



Scenes from Il Fornaio Burlingame Wine Dinner Featuring Round Pond Estates