Weigl: A list of must-do food events

aweigl@newsobserver.comJanuary 1, 2013 

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SLOWFOOD14.LI.052207.RTW--Chapel Hill, N.C.--The "Farm to Fork" picnic offered fresh local produce and meats prepared by Triangle chefs during a picnic at the Chapel Hill Creamery on Tuesday May 22, 2007. Staff photo by Robert Willett/The News & Observer

2007 NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO - ROBERT WILLETT — rwillett@newsobserver.com

In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I’ve compiled a dozen annual food events across the Triangle that I consider must-do-at-least-once experiences. Some I have attended. Others I have yet to get my lazy behind out the door to do.

But 2013 is the year I resolve to pack up the toddler and get out to eat.

Below is my list. Let me know about any food events that you must attend each year, and I’ll share readers’ suggestions at a later date.

• The 20th annual Triangle Wine Experience is a three-day affair offering wine dinners at various Triangle restaurants, often with the winemaker in attendance. It culminates with a Saturday night gala featuring wine tastings, food and a live and silent auction. The event is a fundraiser for the Frankie Lemmon School, a nonprofit that offers tuition-free instruction to special-needs children ages 3 to 6. The event will be Feb. 7-9. Tickets are on sale at trianglewineexperience.org.

• The seventh annual Empty Bowls fundraiser is a family-friendly food event at the Durham Armory that benefits the community café run by Urban Ministries of Durham. Local chefs make the soup. Local potters provide handcrafted bowls to serve the soup and offer them for sale. The event usually happens in early March. For information, go to umdurham.org.

• Durham-based All About Beer magazine puts on the World Beer Festivals in Raleigh and Durham. The festivals are a chance for true beer connoisseurs to taste brews that otherwise are rarely available. With two tastings, true beer geeks know to go to the earlier tasting to make sure nothing has run out yet. The Raleigh event is April 13. No date is set yet for the Durham festival. For information, go to allaboutbeer.com.

• The annual Triangle farm tours planned by Carolina Farm Stewardship Association are wonderful family-friendly events that allow the public to visit local working, sustainable farms all over the region. The Piedmont Farm Tour, which happens in the spring, includes farms in Alamance, Chatham, Durham, Orange and Person counties. The Eastern Triangle Farm Tour, held in the fall, covers Wake, Durham, Granville, Franklin and Chatham counties. For information, go to carolinafarmstewards.org.

• The Farm to Fork Picnic is unlike any other culinary event in the area. It pairs chefs with farmers. Farmers provide the ingredients and chefs craft the dishes. Together they serve the food at an afternoon picnic on an Orange County farm. The event raises money for farmer training programs. It is set for June 9. Tickets will go on sale later this year at farmtoforknc.com.

• Watermelon Day at the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh is in early August. See melons that tip the scales at 200 pounds or more and enjoy samples. For details on this special day and many others promoting North Carolina-grown produce, go to goo.gl/lOijj.

• This will be the 32nd year for the Greek Festival held for three days each September at the N.C. fairgrounds. The women of Raleigh’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church work for months preparing the Mediterranean treats. If you like Greek food, it is not to be missed. For information, go to holytrinityraleigh.org/GreekFestival/.

• The Pittsboro Pepper Festival is a feast of peppers prepared by local chefs benefiting the Abundance Foundation, a nonprofit that educates the public about sustainability issues. The 6th annual event is usually in mid-October. For information, go to theabundancefoundation.org.

• At the N.C. State Fair, there are almost too many food traditions to name: N.C. State University ice cream, the House-Autry hush puppies, the Mt. Olive pickles, the mini-donuts, Al’s fries. Then there are the new deep-fried treats that debut each year. This year’s fair will be Oct. 17-27. For information, go to ncstatefair.org.

• Terra Vita Food & Wine Event is a sustainable food event held every fall in Chapel Hill that has expanded from one day to three days. It brings in chefs, artisan food producers and wine, coffee and beer producers from all over the state to serve up their wares for an afternoon of eating and drinking on the lawn at Southern Village. For information, go to terravitaevent.com.

• Each Saturday in November, Century Farm Orchards, a nursery that specializes in old Southern apple trees, has an open house at its Reidsville farm. You can taste a number of apples and apple baked goods, walk through the orchards and order trees for your own yard. For information, go to centuryfarmorchards.com.

• Slow Food Triangle’s traditional Southern New Year’s Day feast of Hoppin’ John, collards and cornbread. Organizers took a break this year but the event returns in 2014. For information, check slowfoodtriangle.org closer to the end of the year.

Weigl: 919-829-4848 or aweigl@newsobserver.com

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