Touch of Italy dishing up dolce for Taste

Touch of Italy Bake Shop took a brief hiatus the past few years from the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber’s Taste of Coastal Delaware, but this year owner Diane Bascio said she plans to return in full force, cannolis and all.
Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT: Touch of Italy will be showcasing some of their baked goods at the Taste of Coastal Delaware event this weekend.Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT:
Touch of Italy will be showcasing some of their baked goods at the Taste of Coastal Delaware event this weekend.

“Everything we make is from scratch,” said Bascio, whose Millville shop has been baking up dolce (Italian for “dessert”) for 15 years now. With a handful of family members to help run the business, each batch of baked goods is carefully tended to in order to bake the treats to perfection. “A lot of people don’t realize how much time goes into everything,” she said.

“We’ve got everything from muffins and pastries to Italian rum cake,” she said.

However, it’s the shop’s cookies that will me the main attraction for dessert lovers at Taste of Coastal Delaware on Sunday, June 3. This year, Touch of Italy will be the only bakery and pastry shop participating in event set, providing those in attendance with samples of their Italian-style cookies, from traditional macaroons and filled cannolis to flavorful, coffee-dunkable biscotti.

Bascio attributes the majority of the recipes to her mother-in-law, but her own joy for baking began years ago, at home.

“I used to bake a lot, and I started bringing cookies and pies to the office,” said Bascio, who worked as a cardiologist before turning her profession to baking. “After working in cardiology, I wanted to make a change,” she said. “I didn’t know about business when I started, but I’ve been fine ever since.”

While Taste of Coastal Delaware allows Bascio to reach out to the community, she has something else on her mind. “[Our goal is] to fatten everybody up in town,” she said with a laugh. “We love our customers,” she added. “A lot of them come in just to chat. It’s like a big family.”

Bascio is preparing to expand her demographic even farther, as this season marks the first that the bakery will ship their cookies nationwide.

“More and more people are asking us to mail them our cookies,” she said. She added that the postage pastries will help to keep her business stay in touch with many of the returning buyers. “We have customers who live here in the summer ask us to send them cookies to their home in Florida.”

More than a taste of Taste
Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT: If you like homemade cookies, Touch of Italy is for you.Coastal Point • RUSLANA LAMBERT:
If you like homemade cookies, Touch of Italy is for you.

The eighth annual Taste of Coastal Delaware, sponsored by NVHomes and Ryan Homes, will take place in the Millville Town Center on Sunday, June 3, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and will include offerings from some of the areas most acclaimed restaurants. Other sponsors include Giant Foods, The Den at Bear Trap Dunes, Great Scott Broadcasting, Mercantile Peninsula Bank, Coastal Point and Delaware Today.
This year, featured restaurants and purveyors include Banks Wines & Spirits, Bethany Blues, The Blue Crab, Chalkboard Tavern & Grille, Cottage Café, Fat Tuna Grill, Fenwick Crabhouse, Harpoon Hanna’s, Magnolia’s Seafood Bar & Grill, Matteo’s Salsa Loco, Mickey’s Family Crabhouse, NorthEast Seafood Kitchen, Patsy’s, Philly’s Finest Steaks & Hoagies, Steakhouse 26, Surf’s Edge Deli, Touch of Italy bakery, The Parkway, and Warren’s Station.

Live jazz music from the Pam Miller Band will soothe the crowd as they enjoy the event.

Ticket-holders will also have the opportunity to enjoy discounted prices at some of these participating restaurants on Friday, May 1. Specials available to ticket-holders on Friday include: 10 percent off their entire check at Chalkboard Tavern & Grille before 6 p.m.; half-price bottles of wine at Magnolia’s Seafood Bar & Grill; and a 20 percent discount off their dinner check at The Blue Crab. Patrons can also receive 10 percent off entire check on Friday, May 1, at The Parkway if they present or purchase their tickets there.

Tickets cost $30 and were still available as of Wednesday, at The Parkway on Garfield Parkway in Bethany Beach or at the Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber Visitor Center, located just south of the Fenwick Island State Park on Route 1 in Fenwick Island.

They can also be purchased over the phone through the Chamber by calling (302) 539-2100, or online by visiting the Web site at