Long Live Terra Vita

We interrupt this program to bring to you a special announcement….

Today I will blog on the best weekend I enjoyed in Chapel Hill thanks to a brilliant mind and beautiful soul named Colleen Minton, organizer extraordinaire of Terra Vita.  If you don’t know about Terra Vita, read about it in all of its glory at www.terravitaevent.com.

Stephen and I ventured up to the Hill (the only place I would live in North Carolina besides Tarboro) to take part in one component of the event known as the Sustainable Classroom.

I partnered up with the extremely knowledgeable Alexander Kast, the fromagier at Southern Seasons and the extremely beautiful and knowledgeable Breana Lai, cooking class director at Southern Seasons, to facilitate a session on wine paired with cheese in its pure form and wine paired with cheese once incorporated in a dish.

The hour and fifteen minute class took place in the Greenbridge Development Building on Rosemary Street with a magnificent view of my most favorite university town.

The three of us enjoyed a fun crowd, and the basic rundown of the class was the following:

  • Rag Apple Lassie Viognier from the Yadkin Valley paired with Goat Lady Dairy Smoky Mountain Round Ravioli
  • Ravines Riesling from the Fingerlakes of New York with Meadow Creek Dairy “Grayson”
  • Le Tel Quel from the Loire Valley of France with a Montgomery Cheddar Grilled Cheese & Butternut Squash Soup
  • Saddle Rock Old Vines Tawny Port paired with Rogue River Blue

It was an educational adventure for me, and I fell even more deeply in love with cheese by the end of the class.

No time to dilly dally, however, because our next stop was to attend the Carolina Table:  East Meets West Dinner featuring Adam Rose of Il Palio in Chapel Hill, Vivian Howard of Chef and the Farmer in Kinston and Cassie Parsons of Harvest Moon Grille in Charlotte.

What an amazing dinner!  Not only did we get to sit beside Sean Lilley from Full Steam Brewery as well as his wife and beautiful daughter, but we enjoyed unbelievably delicious dishes ranging from Collard Risotto to Spinach Canneloni with local mushrooms.

The dinner was an absolute blast, and Stephen and I were completely pumped up for the following day when the Grand Tasting on the Green would take place.

Saturday morning came quickly, and we trucked our wares to Southern Village where the event was held.  Because Terra Vita supports local, sustainable food, Stephen decided to make a rendition of the Classic PB&J with bacon.  He made boiled peanut butter using peanuts from Dew’s and Scuppernong Jam, adding Bacon sourced from Heritage Farms in Goldsboro.  Because we buy eggs from Jensen Farms and Bee Blessed Bee Honey, he made Truffled Egg Salad Crostini as well.

It was great hearing people’s reactions and tasting all of the other amazing restaurants’ dishes filled we talent and flavor.  Of course, my heart sang when I saw my sister Kate and her husband Tommy in the crowd.  They had made the trip to support On the Square, and when you have family with you by your side, it is a truly wonderful thing.

I should also go on record as saying two different couples who frequent On the Square came to support our restaurant as well.  What a beautiful and special treat to have them with us away from Tarboro.

The day ended with a special dinner among friend’s at Mateo’s in Durham.  Ten of us gathered around a long table and enjoyed family style Spanish food with plenty of Cava and cocktails.  All of us had spent a wonderful day serving others food we believed to be indicative of the area where we live.  The night ended with us getting served some of the best food I have ever eaten with so much laughter, my sides hurt.

My longtime friend Hailey, a fellow southerner who worked with me at Windows on the World, sat across from me as we stuffed our faces and talked incessantly.  She said, and I agree, “This is the most fun I’ve had since 2001.”

Cheers to a wonderful life!



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