Terra Vita in Chapel Hill... Who is going?
My DH and I bought tickets the second we saw the list of participating restaurants. I've posted in the past about what a disappointment Taste of Durham has turned out to be. I'm glad to see a food festival in the area that focuses on local farm-to-table fare. Hoping it will be a big success, and that it becomes an annual event.
I was excited by the website, and went to get tickets only to find that we can't bring Lulu along. Kind of odd to have a daytime event like this and ban kids. I wrote to them assuring them that she promised to stay away from the beer and wine, but I have a feeling they'll stick to their rules. Too bad!
I got a very nice and reasonable response back; they wish they could allow kids, but since the price includes free tastes of alcohol, there would be no way to keep people who look a bit closer to 21 than Lulu does from having tastes. They plan to have a family friendly event next year. I look forward to that one, and I do appreciate their really kind and thoughtful response.
We went. The wines were TERRIFIC and the weather was perfect. The food was really uneven. Fearrington House, which is not my favorite restaurant by a long shot, had some interesting bites out, and J Betski's had a nice pirogi. Watts St. Grocery had a tasty succotash on goat cheese custard. Neal's Deli had some house-made sausages and a beef tongue hash that were really good. But much of the food was forgettable or worse. Saxapahaw General Store was the biggest dissappointment. They had a biscuit with beef shortribs that was dry, heavy, and awful. And Zely & Ritz had sweet potato gnocci that were dense, flavorless and inedible. I enjoyed the event overall because it was such a beautiful day, the wine was wonderful, and there was some good food to be had, but many of the food vendors really need to take it up a notch. Some of them didn't seem to think about what kids of food would taste good after sitting outdoors on a table for 15 minutes. One place, for example, had a sort of savory bread pudding with mushrooms, smothered in a cream sauce, that I'm sure would have been fine served hot, but it was disgusting cold. This was the first year for this event, and I hope it will grow next year, and that the participating restaurants will take what they learned this year and step up their game in the future. The undeniable winner for the day: French Broad Chocolate Lounge from Asheville, with a wide assortment of house-made truffles and chocolates. Those chocolates alone were practically worth the $65 admission price.
General Store Cafe
39 West St, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Zely & Ritz
301 Glenwood Ave Ste 100, Raleigh, NC 27603
10 W Franklin St, Raleigh, NC 27604
100 E Main St Ste C, Carrboro, NC 27510
Fearrington House Restaurant
2000 Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, NC 27312
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Asheville, Asheville, NC
The Chocolates were outrageous. A couple other highlights include il Palio's sweet potato ravioli with pork ragu and Chef and the Farmer's unique take on a stuffed grape leaf, in this case substituting collard green leaves and stuffing them with sausage. Although there were some misses, the overall quality of food and drink was high and the event was sized and set up perfectly.
It was a pretty good event. My favorites were already mentioned. The beer selection was meager. They had lots of wine, but no local beer, which was too bad. There was a beer fest in Wilmington, so that may have drawn off some breweries. I was excited about Nana's dish, it was a smoked boar shoulder on a brioche, but it was tasted like roast beef and was really hard to eat. Beautiful day, though.
This event was exactly what I love about this area. A mix of an academic, serious approach to celebrating food created using local, sustainable practices along with great snacks and bevvies and plenty of bluegrass to wash it all down. Lots of opportunities for learning, lots of opportunities for supporting local charities through the silent auction, and lots of great things to eat and drink. We need more events like this in the area. TerraVITA and its brothers and sisters in the foodie event world make us educated, discerning foodies! Anyone on this board up to the task? Get on it!
2012 chef/restaurant lineup has been released for this year's event (November 1-3, 2012).
Frankly, it looks like a lot of top talent is sitting this one out:
Harvest Moon Grille
Chapel Hill Creamery
New Belgium Brewery
French Broad Chocolates
Carrboro Coffee Co.
On The Square
Knife & Fork
Joe Van Gogh
Rose’s Meat Mkt. & Sweet Sh.
Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen
De Maison Selections
Acme Food & Beverage
Little Hen Restaurant
SIP... A Wine Store
So I guess the Farm to Fork Picnic has become the area's premier tasting event, which is too bad given the pricing controversy we witnessed...
To compare, this tasting is costing $55 - more on par with this type of event than Farm to Fork.