It started out innocently enough, a group of five local foodies meeting over lunch at the newly opened Buku in Downtown Raleigh. For some this was our first time meeting, however the one thing we all had in common was a passion for food and a Twitter handle we all recognized.
#Trifoodietweetup came about during a conversation with @andreaweigl and myself over that lunch. We loved the idea of bringing together local area foodies who tweet about their food experiences and Fearrington Village was a perfect location to host it.
Thanks to @FearringtonNC, the Roost beer garden at Fearrington Village became the perfect backdrop for what became a gastronomic delight.
Although it has been several weeks since the event, I know many of us are still relishing the beautiful scenery and memories of the food served that beautiful day.
I didn’t post my blog entry right away because I was intrigued by the “Village” in its entirety, and wanted to learn more about its history.
Life as “Fearrington Village” began in 1974 when Jesse Fearrington sold the property to R.B and Jenny Fitch, two North Carolina natives. The name Fearrington Village was the Fitch’s way of honoring the Fearrington family who had farmed the land for nearly 200 years.
The Fitch’s vision was to create a planned housing development and village while maintaining and keeping the surrounding pastures and original buildings. R.B and Jenny “wanted to re-use these structures while carefully integrating new buildings designed to blend together and complement the architecture of the homestead.”
“I hope that guests feel very comfortable while they’re here – whether they’re at the Restaurant or the Inn – that there’s nothing ostentatious there, but a comfort there that makes them want to return,” Jenny said in a 1992 interview.
In 1976 the original homestead was leased to Bill and Moreton Neal who opened a restaurant named La Residence. In 1978 the acclaimed restaurant moved to Chapel Hill, where it remains today.
After the Neal’s left, the homestead was renovated and opened as The Fearrington House Restaurant.
The dedication, commitment and hard work of Jenny Fitch brought the restaurant its AAA Five Diamond status, an honor it has held every year since 1995.
In 1986 The Fearrington House Country Inn was constructed adjacent to the restaurant, and in 1988 was accepted as a member of Relais and Chateux. The ideals of Relais and Chateux are simple, yet set high standards for those wanting membership. “Focus on generosity, a sense of place, a celebration of the senses and personal harmony, ideals clearly upheld by the Fearrington House Inn and Restaurant to this day.
Today Fearrington Village is home to over 1800 residents, 3 restaurants and numerous unique shops. Including McIntyre’s Fine Books (Owned by R.B and Jenny Fitch’s eldest daughter Keebe), which when it opened, was North Carolina’s first “indie” bookstore to offer author readings.
NOW BACK TO THE #Trifoodietweetup:
Last month Fearrington Village opened ROOST, the beer garden that provided a perfect setting to host the first ever #trifoodietweetup (look for another, possibly this Fall).
The #trifoodietweetup was a huge success. Drawing approximately 120 people from all over the Triangle thanks to the coordination of Theresa Chiettini the General Manager of
Fearrington Inn @FearringtonNC, N&O Food Editor @AndreaWeigl, N&O Sunday Dinner columnist @DebbieMoose, Indy’s Food Editor Amber Bock @ambernim, @durhamfoodie (me) and N&O Weekend Gourmet columnist @FredThompsonNC (although Fred was unable to make it, we were fortunate to meet Belinda Ellis, Editor of Edible Piedmont).
You can check out @AndreaWeigl’s recap along with other links to pictures from twitter attendees here.
Several local foodie tweeters were in attendance, including: @RDUGonnaEat, @greeneatsblog,
@joekwon80, @tubafrenzy, @nutellaisevil, @thegourmez, @jeffreycohen, @topfermented, @fullsteam, @TheMasalaWala, @EnoRiverFM, @abbyladybug, @afatty……ok I could keep going but am starting to draw a blank. To be sure, there were many amazing people I’ve missed. It was such fun putting faces with the twitter handles and @FearringtonNC was brilliant to put out name tags that people could put their twitter handles on so we could all recognize one another.
The Roost beer garden was built from a cottage that once served as the corn crib for the original Fearrington Farm. The Roost courtyard sits beneath several majestic oak trees,
where tables, chairs and umbrellas are strewn about for guests enjoyment. The garden is graced with locally made art as part of their sculpture garden and a two-tiered water fountain offers additional seating. Either live or recorded music can be heard in the background while sipping any one of the several award-winning beers from Carolina Brewery showcased on tap.
“Roost also offers a selection of wines by the glass, bottled ales and water, and light fare ranging from salted Virginia peanuts in the shell to bread to simple dishes prepared by the Fearrington House Restaurant, including a cheese plate, charcuterie, and ploughman’s platter”.
General Manager Theresa Chiettini and Executive Chef Colin Bedford and their team truly outdid themselves. The atmosphere was beautiful and elegantly arranged, yet casual and relaxing
and all seemed to come together with the live music we were treated to. The food was beyond mouthwatering and executed so efficiently, no one would have guessed the staff had to travel 300 feet to feed our awe inspired palates.
Chef Colin came to Fearrington Village Country Inn and Restaurant in 2005 as Executive Sous Chef after earning his Diploma in Hospitality at Yeovil College in Somerset England. He then further honed his skills at The Castle Hotel in Taunton (UK) and the Prince of Wales Hotel in Ontario Canada.
In 2008 Chef Colin became Executive Chef of Fearrington House Restaurant and in 2009 added on to his responsibilities when he took over managing the The Old Granary Restaurant kitchen.
“Colin maintains the Fearrington House’s commitment to Farm to Table cuisine through partnerships with local farmers, using the finest ingredients from the region and our gardens. Chef Colin’s also writes regular blog entries in a column called “Notes From The Kitchen,”a favorite entitled “Every Chef Needs an Anne” is a must read.
The Menu as I remember it (though may be missing s few items) was this:
Crab cake with Sauce gribiche
Smoked Duck with pickled cabbage and rhubarb puree
Lobster Salad on Fennel Salad with Vanilla Creme Fraiche
Pea & Mint Shooters with yogurt and vanilla jelly
Tournado of Beef with truffle butter and shaved summer truffles
Asparagus wrapped in Melon and Prosciutto
Short Rib Sliders with blue cheese and applewood smoked bacon aioli
Shrimp Sausage on Steel Cut Grits with green tomato chutney
The “Arnold Palmer” – Lemont Posset with Earl Grey Tea Jelly
Lime Macaroons and Vanilla Macaroons
If you missed the #trifoodietweetup, you are sure to be crying now wishing you hadn’t.
The Roost is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon – 8pm and is the perfect outing for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
On a personal note and someone who is engaged, I would love to plan my wedding here. I would love the same set-up and food, knowing it would be perfect for what “that perfect day” should be. Hint Hint!!!
So there you go! It was the #trifoodietweetup and what I call, the perfect start to an amazing summer amongst friends.
One defining characteristic that I can’t end this blog entry without mentioning is the cows. And not just ordinary cows, we’re talking the rare breed of Scottish beef cattle called “Belties,” or what some people refer to as the “oreo cows”.
The Belted Galloway Cows were first introduced to the Untied States in 1946, and when the Fearrington herd was first established, it started with only one male and five females. Today you will find over 30 Belties grazing any one of the four Fearrington pastures that encircle the Village Center. “A breeding program managed by two of (Fearrington’s) farmers has resulted in nearly perfect belts – with the result that the Fearrington Beltie is regarded as one of the most prized in the country.
I am definitely looking forward to lunch or brunch at the Old Granary Restaurant where some of the indoor seating offers views of the Belties grazing in the surrounding pastures.
Now how’s that for cool!