Tasting a mozzarella so fresh, we got to shake the hand of the chef who made it.
Sampling a spoonful of caviar straight from the belly of a sturgeon.
Eating Shake Shack cheeseburgers and drinking sparkling wine with jubilant Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen and her crew of giddy supporters a few hours after she won her James Beard award as best chef in the Southeast.
Sampling hot Brunswick stew from a dish balanced on the hood of a car while we talked to a father and son whose experience with the Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church Barbecue in Charlotte, held every year since 1927, goes back generations.
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Sometimes this is what it’s like to be a food writer in North Carolina. Great food experiences practically dangle from the trees, a movable feast that encompasses a whole state.
Before we end 2014, we combed through the recipes we’ve run to pick a few of our favorites.
They’re ones that taught us something new or that made us look at cooking in a new way, like Crook’s Corner chef Bill Smith’s take on Atlantic Beach Pie in a crispy, crumbly cracker crust.
They fit into our lives on a daily basis, like the super-simple Morning Chicken that makes a weeknight meal so much easier.
They’re the dishes we are craving right now as the temperatures turn colder, like Chicken Stew and Wild Mushroom Ragout with Marscapone Polenta.
To us, the most successful recipes aren’t the ones that are the most impressive or the hardest to do. They’re the ones that are irresistible, that fit into our lives on a daily basis, the ones we want to make long after the story has been written. Kathleen Purvis, Andrea Weigl