The Annual TerraVita Food and Drink Festival is Worth the N.C Road Trip for Foodies

One of the best food and drink festivals in the Triangle area is TerraVita, an annual culinary experience in N.C. that gathers foodies together for education and tasting. It's more than just a food festival in the south. It's like visiting family every fall season and then learning something on each visit. 2018 marks the 9th consecutive year for this popular food festival in N.C. 

The final event of the jam-packed festival, called the Fall Fete, showcases North Carolina's commitment to the agricultural industry. TerraVita's Fall Fete is a 3-hour tasting from North Carolina's local farms to the culinary table with more than 40 chefs participating. From a local Raleigh resident's perspective, TerraVita is one of the few food festivals in the Triangle that brings in chefs from different parts of the state together under the umbrella of food, education, and fellowship. One of the highlight events that sell out quickly is the East Meets West Dinner. This dinner puts the spotlight on the finest producers in North Carolina where a multi-course meal is served family style by chefs in great restaurants throughout North Carolina. 

TerraVITA began in 2010 out of a foodie's desire to produce a top-quality event for the Southeast, showcasing the very best in food and wine. The founder, Colleen Minton, wanted sustainability to be a key part of the event, but not be surpassed by the importance of superior quality and continued culinary education in addition to giving back to the local community. Since 2010, TerraVita has raised more than $50,000 for local charities. 

The sustainable classroom portion of the TerraVita event in Chapel Hill is a highlight of the entire festival. The experiences are when foodies learn from the best in the culinary industry. Usually, the topics are very timely and are on topic with food trends.  In 2018, one of the classroom topics will be on the Instant Pot. You may not own an Instant Pot yet, but the fast-cooking pressure cooking is all over Pinterest with Instant-Pot recipes. 

Sheri Castle, a North Carolina-based culinary educator and cookbook author of the Instant Pot cookbook called Instantly Southern says there is power in the pot and it can do way more than soups, rice, and grains. The Instant Pot is a great machine that can cook an entire meal from appetizers to desserts in very little time. 

TerraVita pushes foodies to celebrate food, its history and the culture surrounding food.  This year, the festival is spotlighting the memory of Edna Lewis, author of A Taste of Country Cooking, originally published in 1976 and is currently in its 30th Anniversary printing. 

Chefs will gather at the Fearrington Village in Pittsboro to host.the special dinner The Legacy of Ms. Lewis: A Tribute to Edna, who was an early pioneer in the farm-to-table movement.  

At this familial dinner, chefs who consider Miss Lewis a mentor and a hero will honor her by preparing tribute dishes. A moving panel discussion, led by James Beard award-winning author Toni Tipton-Martin, will accompany the food, unearthing more stories about this trailblazing chef’s remarkable impact. Colin Bedford of The Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro will be the host chef. In addition to Hall, guest chefs will include Walter Royal of Angus Barn in Raleigh; and Sean Fowler of Mandolin in Raleigh. 

Food Personality and Cookbook author Carla Hall will also be cooking at this dinner.  She will be at the festival a week before the launch of her new cookbook "Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration" that brings soul food to mainstream kitchens. 

Hall has a recipe for Caribbean Smothered Chicken Thighs with Coconut, Lime and Chiles spotlighted in the Washington Post and I want to try it. 

Whether you do the whole TERRAVita Shebang or just one event, this is an annual event that will make a North Carolina road trip for foodies worth it. 

The TerraVita Festival in Chapel Hill, NC is the perfect road trip destination for foodies. #Southerntravel #southernfood #Southernfoodfestivals

Above Text Updated in October 2018. Photos below are from TerraVita 2015. I do have some foodie eating advice for you on the Fall Fete. Walk around first and treat the tasting like a sport. Start with a favorite restaurant then go for something out of the box. Make a list and tackle your list. Get a drink in between, but don't go down the line in a circle like I did the first year.  By the time, you reach the end, you may be too full to try something that you really wanted to try. It's best to have an eating strategy. 
Chefs 105 cuisine

FullSteam Brewery

French Broad Chocolates of Asheville, NC

Escazu Chocolate, Raleigh, NC

Slingshot Coffee Company

We had so much fun!

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