Tuesday, November 3, 2015


I wanted to share a few follow up thoughts after attending TERRAVITA for the first time this month.
I love going to these types of events where you are not only tasting great food and drink, and enjoying the company of other like-minded people, but you are also learning. Since I am not a cook or even really consider myself a foodie, I am fascinated by the more I learn about our local NC food + drink industry.

While at TerraVita, I attended a few of the Sustainable Classroom events. The session led by Chef Scott Crawford of Standard Foods in Raleigh and Chef Jason Stanhope of FIG in Charleston, SC and Betsy Andrews, Organic Life Editor, was called Waste Not: Scraps, Bits & Bites. The session was about using every bit of the food and letting nothing go to waste. Two great quotes from these chefs:
"Every molecule of the animal gets used. That's the goal." - Chef Scott Crawford

"Between cooking and compost is the conscious part." - Chef Jason Stanhope

Both these chefs had some inspiring "food for thought". How to waste less, use more of the complete food item or animal. They had some great stories to tell and offered up good advice and some things to think about when purchasing and preparing food. I am trying to shop more consciously now, taking note of what my family eats or doesn't eat. I make more frequent smaller trips to the store, versus trying to buy for the whole week. I am circling the outer ring of the store where the fresh food lives versus the processed middle aisles. I am trying to come up with more healthy/fresh snacks versus taking the easy way out with processed snack food. I want to learn/know more about where my eggs, meat, poultry, fish or pork come from. I'm getting to be okay with spending a bit more and buying less.  I am now learning to be more conscious of what is thrown away and how those bits of tomato ends or carrot tops or fennel leaves can be used for broths or soups versus tossing them into compost or garbage.

Along with some great info, I enjoyed hearing more from these chefs about their restaurants and what they are passionate about! I loved tasting their food and getting to know a little more about them.  Thank you chefs!

SOUR ALES. (and breaking out of my beer comfort zone)
I attended a sustainable classroom about Sour Ales. My husband loves them and has acquired a taste for them in recent months but I've been quick to dismiss them, especially since my palate lies on the bitter end of the beer spectrum. (I rarely have met an IPA I didn't like).  I was impressed with this panel that included Margo Knight Metzger, NC Craft Brewer’s Guild (moderator); Cameron Read, Edmund’s Oast; Ben Woodward, Haw River Farmhouse Ales; Isaiah Allen, The Eddy Pub; Todd Boera, Fonta Flora. Fondly called the Sour Power Hour, we sampled several different types of sours.

There is quite a range within sours themselves and the trend is currently modernizing and creating American styles of sour ales (which date way back originally from Belgium). They take time and patience, and are hard to replicate and there are some amazing flavors coming from several NC breweries like Wicked Weed, Fonta Flora and Haw River and Edmund's Oast in Charleston, SC, just to name a few. I really enjoyed the passion these guys all share and how excited they are about working the creative process of making these beers. They were fun to listen to and I recommend giving one of their sours a try before ruling them out!


This sustainable classroom event appealed to my desire to learn more NC history and since I'm not a native North Carolinian, I enjoyed learning (and of course tasting!) about certain NC drinks such as Sweet Tea and Cheerwine, Apple Brandy, NC wine and of course NC beer (featuring Durham's FullSteam Brewery).  The panel included Robert Moss, author (moderator); Sean Lilly Wilson, Fullsteam; Elizabeth Cooper, Southern Season; Joy Ritchie, Cheerwine; and Sheri Castle, cookbook author. 

Apple Brandy was really the start for NC, and beer was very challenging to make back in the day in NC. I tasted my first Cheerwine and did not realize that Cheerwine has been around for nearly 100 years! In 2017 there will be a huge state wide celebration in NC. The prohibition era brought forward a lot of our popular sodas and many were named after the alcoholic beverage that they resembled, hence the name Cheerwine!

Lastly, from the Kick off panel event, through the sustainable classrooms, to the final Grand Tasting on the Green, it was amazing to see all these chefs, farmers, distillers, wine producers, bartenders, coffee roasters, retailers, importers, distributors and VOLUNTEERS, come together to share their passion for food, drink, North Carolina, sustainability, people and their communities. I was really impressed with and glad to learn about what these well known local restaurateurs and chefs, are doing for their communities. They are often found spending much of their efforts on fostering a positive change right here in our own schools, churches, restaurants and neighborhoods, serving the greater good.

My heartfelt thanks to all the folks who participated, especially to Colleen Minton for her dedication and hard work and amazing team to make it all happen. This year, TABLE NC was the recipient for donation to help them accomplish their mission to supply good nourishment for as many hungry children as possible in the community.

Previous TerraVita Food + Drink Festival post

Saturday, September 26, 2015

| E V E N T | TerraVita Food + Drink Festival Oct 8-10

This year, TERRAVITA Food + Drink Festival celebrates its sixth event (started in 2010) bringing together the area's top chefs, food artisans, sommeliers, baristas, brewers, educators, distillers, cookbook authors and other celebrated food + drink experts to not only celebrate food and drink but to learn and educate and share common passions about food and the many impacts on our local NC communities. It's also a chance to educate and learn about food sustainability, appreciate culinary diversity, expertise, and celebrate all things pertaining to food and drink.

Over the course of these three days there are several unique opportunities to sample food and drink through different types of events that include expert panels, lively dinners, after parties as well as sustainable classrooms with a grand finale tasting event on the Village Green at Southern Village.

Perhaps one of the most interesting events that will be happening is the opening day to kick off the TerraVita events is a panel discussion taking place at the Varsity Theatre on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill at 3-5:30pm, Thursday October 8. The theme of this year’s opening event is Culinary Capital & Building Community.  This event will include a stellar list of speakers who will be speaking about their passions and sharing more detail about their own causes and how they are doing good in the community.

This prestigious panel event for Thursday will feature Jeff Polish from The Monti as the moderator and guest speakers include:
  • Ashley Christensen, Chef & Owner, AC Restaurants
  • Margaret Gifford, Food Advocate
  • Henry Hargreaves, Photographer
  • Kat Kinsman, Editor, Tasting Table
  • Virginia Willis, Chef & Author
  • Mike Moore, Chef & Owner, The Blind Pig

Using a combination of TedX style and the visually stimulating format of Pecha Kucha the discussion will be a unique opportunity not to be missed. Half of the proceeds from this event will be divided among causes highlighted by each panelist. This panel discussion is an opportunity to hear unique perspectives presented in a very creative way about how food connects us to our local community, our health, our families and our friendships.

There are a number of events happening over the three day event and several of the sessions are almost completely full. Don't miss an unforgettable opportunity to learn and experience some fantastic sessions in the Sustainable Classroom and the After Hours parties! And the grand finale tasting event will finish the festival off with an amazing afternoon of food + drink!

TICKET SPECIAL! Click here to purchase your tickets to TerraVita. This weekend you can take 10% off the ticket price by using this PROMO CODE: BESTOFTVFCHL15 (not case sensitive).

I'm SUPER excited to attend this event for the first time this year! I LOVE learning and I'm in awe of the speakers, presenters and folks that are involved (and organizing) this event, especially since its all for a great cause. I'm excited to learn about sour beers, food sustainability, craft cocktails and much more! I can't wait to be inspired by industry luminaries and I love supporting local! The more I can learn the more I can share! I hope that you can join me!

+Chana Lynn

Thursday, September 10, 2015

| E V E N T | SPARKconX Celebrates 10 Years in Downtown Raleigh

This year's SPARKcon festival hits downtown Raleigh September 17-20th and they are celebrating BIG! This year marks ten years of the festival known to showcase the Triangle as the “Creative Hub of the Southeast.”Visual Arts Exchange (VAE) produces SPARKcon to celebrate and highlight diverse creative efforts in the Triangle and is a part of the VAE mission to support and provide opportunities for artists and connect the community to the arts. SPARKcon was founded in 2006 by Aly and Beth Khalifa of Designbox.

SPARKcon is a four day festival that features fashion, dance, film, music, design, theater, circus and more in a wide variety of open events and exhibits in downtown Raleigh.

Quote: “We do it because we love the Triangle, we love creativity and we love sharing that love with everyone else,” says Mary Kay Kennedy, a SPARKcon organizer. “This year, we are even more excited to celebrate the 10th SPARKcon with at least 60,000 participants, including 55,000 attendees.”

Over the festival's four days, there are many events being held in many different city venues and locations. You can view a complete schedule of events by clicking here.

Some of this year's big events include:
danceSPARK: Glow Zumba, Sept 18 at 10pm City Plaza
“Wear What You Are” Fashion Show, Sept 19 at 8pm City Plaza
WIT! Improv Game Show,Sept 20 at 2pm City of Raleigh Museum

Community Favorites and easy to walk and enjoy include:
artSPARK: 700 street painters incl 500 WCPSS students on Fayetteville St
65 concerts in various venues throughout downtown
bazaarSPARK: 45 local vendors and artisans all located on Fayetteville Street.

The festival has specific creative themes running simultaneously including art, circus, dance, comedy, design, fashion, geek, ideas, music, poetry, food, theater and more! 

N E W !!
BANDALOOP a pioneer in vertical dancing will be performing off the side of the new Aloft Raleigh (2100 Hillsborough Street, across from the NC State Bell Tower) on Saturday, September 19th following brief performances by local musical guests.

5:30-6:15PM /  Peter Lamb and the Wolves
6:15-6:35PM / Triangle Taiko
6:35-6:50PM / Tom Koch playing NC State Memorial Belltower Carillon
6:50-7:00PM / BANDALOOP encore showing
This will be a MUST SEE!!

There will also be Improv Comedy Night featuring Raleigh Mayor McFarlane part of the comedySPARK improv show, Friday September 18 from 5-7 pm at Kings!

There's SO many different things to chose from! Just find what you are interested in and get involved, help out, participate or simply enjoy the art and the performances. One of our favorite things to do is to go downtown on Saturday and watch groups of people, art students, school kids, etc drawing their chalk squares and catch the street performances. The chalk squares are stunning. You can catch the CircusSPARK folks
performing on Fayetteville Street.

This is a fun family-friendly event and a great way to spend the day in downtown Raleigh!