TerraVITA: Food and wine unite for epic festival in Chapel Hill
Posted October 14, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — For three days, foodies from across the area gathered in Chapel Hill for the annual TerraVITA Food and Wine Event, a celebration of local food, artisan cuisine and sustainable products. The festival featured events ranging from tastings and special dinners to industry information sessions and food and beverage pairing classes.
Friday featured a day of classroom tastings and workshops at The Sustainable Classroom. Speakers were industry experts, restaurant owners and chefs, and they covered a wide range of topics.
One aspect of the food industry that was brought up again and again is the relationship of food and culture. Panelists said that every culture has its own food history and with the resurgence of local efforts with roots in historical production methods, that important part of life can be protected.
Panelists also pointed to more interested and involved consumers, as well as increased collaboration between farmers and producers, that are helping to protect local food culture in an age of industrialized food production.
A very popular class was Sweet & Savory, which provided demonstrations and tips on how to pair different flavors and create delicious hors d'oeuvres and drinks for a party or get-together.
French Broad Chocolates from Asheville was the "sweet" part of the class, and they taught attendees how to make delicious ganache for a variety of things, including truffles and sipping chocolate.
To make ganache, you just need some yummy chocolate and heavy whipping cream. Chop up the chocolate, heat the cream, and pour onto the chocolate. Aim for a one-to-one ratio by weight. As the cream cools, the chocolate will melt, and then you can begin to stir the mixture. By adding hot milk to the completed ganache, you get a rich, creamy sipping chocolate perfect for cold winter evenings. Another idea is to pour the ganache out flat, let cool and cut into pieces for homemade truffles. You can add toppings such as chopped nuts, sprinkles or flavored powder to the truffles.
Next up was chef Chad McIntyre of The Market for the "savory" addition. He stressed the importance of balancing flavors in your dish, as well as paying attention to preparation and plating. McIntyre also suggested picking two or three "signature" dishes to perfect and be able to quickly whip together for an event.
He created two appetizers for us to sample – a smoked salmon mousse on a cucumber slice and a bacon bleu cheese "cheesecake." Both looked like they were plated with finesse and patience, even on our paper tasting plate! The dishes were savory but had light elements that kept them from being too heavy.
Then we got to Gary Crunkleton of The Crunkleton, who was going to create some yummy cocktails. He urged everyone to not be afraid of mixing drinks, and to just dive right in. Taste everything as you go along, and add in opposing flavors to create a balanced drink.
dab of tumeric
dab of nutmeg
Brandy & Benedictine
Uncouth Vermouth: Eucalyptus & Beet
Mist of lemon water
fresh squeezed lemons
Creme de cassis
Uncouth Vermouth: Eucalyptus & Beet
Crunkleton garnished the drinks with elements already in the mix, like lemon rinds or a beet slice. They were delicious and a good mix of sweet, tart, and bitter.
TerraVITA came to a close on Saturday afternoon with the Grand Tasting on the Green event at The Green at Southern Village in Chapel Hill. Local restaurants, breweries and wineries were on hand to showcase their cuisine. Some highlights included a nice array of goodies from the North Carolina Chef's Academy, Kipos Greek Taverna of Chapel Hill and Mandolin in Raleigh. TerraVITA's Grand Tasting on the Green
TOPO offered two cocktails made with their spirits. The first was a blend of watermelon, gin and a dash of jalapeno.The second drink contained cucumber and vodka.
Fullsteam and Mystery Brewing were among the breweries on tap.