The TerraVita Food & Drink Festival returns to Chapel Hill/Carrboro Oct. 18-21. Tickets are now on sale at terravitafest.com. Now in its eighth year, this festival is a favorite of chefs who participate as well as foodies from near and far. Here are eight reasons why you shouldn’t miss it this year – whether you’re attending with friends, for a date night or stealing a little “me” time. (And get tickets fast – many of the events will sell out and a few of the ticket prices will increase by $10 on Sept. 1!)
A special dinner on Friday, Oct. 20 called “Seasoned in the South: A Tribute to Bill” will honor the legacy of Bill Smith of Crook’s Corner. (If you are unfamiliar with this Chapel Hill legend, read CHM’s biographical piece on him immediately!) Like our town, Bill (a 50-year-resident) embodies both the traditions of the South – speaking often about the influence of his grandmothers’ and aunts’ cooking growing up in New Bern – and the open-mindedness of the area’s educated population, as he works outside of the kitchen to promote music, dance, literature and social justice. Cooking in his honor on this most special evening at The Barn of Chapel Hill will be: cookbook author Sheri Castle; Vivian Howard of A Chef’s Life and Chef & The Farmer in Kinston; Elizabeth Karmel of Girls at the Grill in New York City; Sam McGann of The Blue Point in Duck; Matthew Register of Southern Smoke BBQ in Garland; and Chris Stewart of The Glass Onion in Charleston, SC.
- You can feed your soul as well as your body.
“Feeding Your Soul: A Goodness Workshop” will take place on Thursday, Oct. 19 at The Parlour at Manns Chapel. Embark on this commitment to balance and refreshing your spirit during this daylong retreat. This intimate experience will involve yoga, meditation, inspirational insight from a couple of special guests and guidance on connecting with your inner voice. Plus – nutritional tips from the experts, healthy delicious snacks and a scrumptious lunch.
Laura McKowen will guide the group on how to add more balance in your life. Raleigh Chef Scott Crawford will share his story of redemption and his journey to finding life balance through life-changing choices and perseverance. And Chapel Hill native Breana Lai from EatingWell magazine will offer healthy guidelines when developing delicious recipes.
- It offers a good excuse to go play in the woods!
Foraging has become one of the hottest food trends – it’s hip, yet historic. The “forest to table” movement combines the childlike thrill of a scavenger hunt with the satisfaction of a good meal (and cocktails, in this case) at the end. At the Barn of Chapel Hill on Oct. 19, a small group (no more than two dozen) will head into the woods in search of wild edibles, led by experts from the Piedmont Picnic Project. Once you return, you will reap the benefits of your bounty with a wild cocktail class, led by our friends from Fair Game Beverage. Using previously foraged ingredients, chef Clark Barlowe will prepare a delicious lunch and give a little post-polish on his foraging techniques. It’s bound to be a wild time!
- You can learn while eating and drinking (if only high school chemistry class had been this delicious)!
Festival Founder Colleen Minton likes to incorporate “accidental education” into her events. In other words, it doesn’t feel like learning, but you will gain lots of culinary insights – in particular, the Sustainable Classroom on Friday, Oct. 20 (at two locations – Southern Season’s Cooking School and the Great Room at Top of the Hill) intermingles expertise with delicious food and drink samples. This year’s classroom topics (you choose up to four of eight classes) include: hand pies and coffee; food leaders as social justice warriors; the power of plant-based eating; Appalachian cuisine; soul food; the resurgence of the oyster industry in the Southeast; emerging wine regions; and elevating your at-home cocktails/mocktails.
Participants include Ronni Lundy, winner of two 2017 James Beard awards for Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes; Phoebe Lawless of Scratch and The Lakewood in Durham; Adrian Miller, author of The President’s Kitchen Cabinet; and Craig Rudewicz from Crude Bitters & Sodas in Raleigh.
- There will be foodie celebrity sightings!
Last year, Vivian Howard’s cookbook launched at TerraVita. This year – fresh off her International Association of Culinary Professionals win for Cookbook of the Year – she’ll honor one of her mentors, Bill Smith, at the aforementioned “Seasoned in the South” dinner on Oct. 20. Annie Pettry of Decca in Louisville will also participate in TerraVita for the first time – she’ll be at the Hill Fire: Coastal Roast on Oct. 19 and at the Sustainable Classroom on Oct. 20. You may recognize her from Top Chef: Charleston!
The festival brings together chefs from across the state – and beyond!
A good example of this is the Oct. 18 East Meets West dinner – an annual favorite that takes place at the Great Room at Top of the Hill. Where else can you enjoy a family-style meal prepared by Joe Kindred of Kindred in Davidson and Hello Sailor in Cornelius; Ashley Capps of Buxton Hall Barbecue in Asheville; Josh DeCarolis of Mothers & Sons in Durham; Kim Hunter of Kimbap in Raleigh; Bret Edlund of Crawford & Son in Raleigh; Rebeca Alvarado-Paredes of Manna in Wilmington; Colin Bedford of Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro; and Matt Butler of The Great Room in Chapel Hill?
In addition, the festival will feature chefs/authors/beverage providers from Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Colorado!
- If you didn’t get your fill of seafood this summer, extend seafood season with Hill Fire: Coastal Roast.
This Thursday night dinner takes place at the Carrboro Town Commons and celebrates men and women who love to play with fire. But this year, there’s a twist: Instead of barbecue and meats over spits and grills, the night will feature the bounty of our shores and farms with a seafood and veg-forward inspired menu prepared by chefs like Dean Neff of PinPoint in Wilmington; Gabe Barker of Pizzeria Mercato in Carrboro; Kevin Johnson of The Grocery in Charleston; Cheetie Kumar of Garland in Raleigh, and Ian Boden of The Shack in Staunton, Va.
- Eat, drink and be merry with a clean conscience.
As one of the country’s leading events focused on sustainable food and drink, TerraVita lives its mission by producing a zero waste event by employing intensive use of compostable goods and recycling nearly all of the waste. The festival partners with Orange County Waste to recycle or compost nearly all that isn’t consumed. Get this: The festival concludes with its largest event – the Grand Tasting on the Green in Southern Village on Oct. 21 – and although hundreds of ticket holders will attend, only one bag of trash will be disposed of at the end of it!