"Durham is having beverage moment," Andrea Griffith Cash said as she greeted guests at the Grand Taste Experience Thursday evening at the Durham Armory.
If Taste is any indication, Durham is also having a tapas moment, a ceviche moment and an artisan desserts moment. All were on offer at the event, presented by Griffith Cash's Durham Magazine & Chapel Hill Magazine.
Hundreds bought the $95 tickets which allowed for unlimited sampling of wares presented by dozens of Durham's hottest eateries – including three 2015 James Beard Award nominees – and were accompanied by drinks ranging from Carrboro Coffee Roasters coffee to Krupnikas Spiced Honey Liqueur by Brothers Vilgalys Spirits.
"We were going for elegant, upscale, innovative," said Griffith Cash, the vice president of content for Durham Magazine & Chapel Hill Magazine.
"We write about food all the time, so this is the chance for us to collaborate with our buddies and bring that to life."
Restaurateurs, chefs and creators mingled with foodies as they circled the room, comparing notes to the sound of a live jazz band.
Crawford Leavoy, general manager of Piedmont Restaurant, was in his second year at the festival. As guests sampled deviled eggs with bacon jam, he said the Grand Taste Experience "is an opportunity for people from all over the southeast to see that Durham is a real foodie town."