Spotlight: Save room

Peter Taylor Photo

Peter Taylor Photo


by Jessie Ammons

Go ahead and begin working up an appetite now for the food and drink festival TerraVita, taking place October 8 – 10. Now in its sixth year, the event has grown from a celebration of the Triangle’s food artisans into a who’s who of the Southeast’s culinary scene.

Held in and around Chapel Hill, TerraVita spans three days and includes gourmet dinners, cocktail hours, a tasting event, and educational workshops. Called the Sustainable Classroom, the workshops comprise hour-and-fifteen-minute long sessions with themes like “Me, Myself, and Ribeye,” an exploration of home butchery, including input from Cheetie Kumar of Garland; and “North Carolina in Five Plates,” an interpretation of the South’s culinary history through five dishes ranging from sweet to savory, all prepared by cookbook authors. There’s also a cocoa class hosted by The News & Observer’s Andrea Weigl, where Jael Rattigan of French Broad Chocolates in Asheville and Daniel Benjamin of Lucettegrace will create bite-sized versions of cocoa dishes both sweet and salty. There’s also a hard cider class. And one on sour beers. And one on cooking with lard. And one on pairing wine and cheese according to region. The list goes on.

On the dinner front, there are a few options, but don’t miss Friday night’s barbecue-themed collaborative feast with chefs, pitmasters, and farmers. Among the night’s culinary team standouts are Ashley Christensen of AC Restaurants and Jason Stanhope of FIG in Charleston, the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef of the Southeast award-winners of the last two years.

The festival culminates Saturday afternoon, when a grand tasting tented event offers bites and sips from an impressive roster of chefs, distillers, brewers, coffee roasters, and other food artisans. All TerraVita events are zero-waste and emphasize sustainable and organically produced fare. It’s a lot to digest, which is why we’re giving you the heads-up now.  

Event prices vary and range from $45 to $110; an all-inclusive three-day pass is $475. Learn more at