Lewes hosts a wine expo and a progressively delicious Italian feast

April 15, 2014

Positive feedback about Teller Wines’ sold-out Wine Expo at Lewes Yacht Club a couple of weeks ago continues to buzz around town. Teller co-owner and online wine columnist Catherine Hester tells me, “This community is awesome and has embraced us as their neighborhood wine shop. I think everyone who was food royalty was at the expo!” Of course, I was there. (Why else would I have printed her quote?)

The window-lined event room at Lewes Yacht Club overlooks the Delaware Bay, though on the day of the event, billowing fog added a note of intrigue to the goings-on. And so many things were going on! There was a Chinese auction of delights and experiences donated by local vendors, plus the ever-popular 50/50 raffle. Restaurants, wineries and wine purveyors lined the perimeter of the room, doling out tastes and sips for all to enjoy. There was so much wine to be tasted (111 different bottles, to be exact), that the wine booths overflowed into the center of the room.

The Buttery sent out the executive staff to man (and woman) a table laden with small bites and amuse-bouches. Patty’s of Georgetown was represented by none other than Patty Jacobs herself, assisted by the friendly Doug Roach. She and Doug supervised a huge platter of feta cheese, dolmades and all sorts of munchies and dips.

Essential Chef Gary Papp (opening chef of The Buttery many moons ago) brought pastry chef (and wife) Lorraine and their son Ty to keep the Thai beef salad and spicy smoked Scottish salmon flowing. Touch of Italy put together a huge antipasto and mounds of their signature Italian cookies, as Teller Wines’ next-door neighbor Annabella’s dished out four-cheese tortellini with an apricot demi and basil pesto bruschetta.

Chef Tim Hunter and Ellen Roland of The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware proudly ladled out butternut squash soup with grilled salmon drizzled with mango coulis over sweet potato hash, in contrast to Lewes Yacht Club’s melt-in-your-mouth ahi perched atop a crunchy wonton.

Moe’s Southwest Grill whipped up vegetarian and beef mini-burritos and chips. The obligatory pico de gallo was cool and fresh.

Teller Wines bosses Catherine and Kevin Hester wanted nothing less than to keep the wine expo tradition alive, and in doing so attracted a veritable who’s who of Rehoboth and Lewes notables. And through their generosity, The Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware and Coastal Concerts are in an even better position to teach food-service skills to vocational students and promote classical music through live concerts, outreach and educational activities.

“It looks like we will be able to give Chad Robinson [Milford Food Bank branch manager] and Chef Tim [Hunter] of the culinary school a check for $5,000 from the expo proceeds! I believe that is exactly the cost of tuition for one student,” says Catherine. One of those gigantic, camera-friendly checks will be presented around 1:30 p.m., Monday, April 21, at Teller Wines on Savannah Road in Lewes.

Speaking of Savannah Road in Lewes (well, I had to get here somehow…) the red carpet was rolled out across Second Street yet again for last Monday’s second annual Touch of Italy/Buttery Progressive Dinner. Sparkling Prosecco and an antipasto the size of an airport runway greeted us at Touch of Italy as Buttery Chef Aaron Berg and GM Lisa McDonald prepared for us to be escorted across the street for a focaccia panzanella salad, ricotta and spinach-stuffed ravioli with sage brown butter and hot Italian sausage. Chicken saltimbocca and roasted corvina topped off The Buttery experience before we were herded back across Second Street to feast on mountains of Italian cookies, cannoli and that wonderful homemade cheesecake.

Lewes is certainly stepping up to the plate when it comes to special dining events, and my calendar suggests that this is only the beginning. So stay tuned. You’ll be glad you did.

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at

    Masthead photo by Grant Gursky. Used with permission from Coastal Style Magazine.