Thursday, March 19th – Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
The Taste of the Beach is fast approaching, and it’s one event that locals view as the kick off to approaching warm weather. This annual event reinforces that Outer Bank’s celebrations are a bit unconventional, yet are undeniably original and entertaining. It all starts with a kickoff party on the evening of Wednesday, 3/18, with the main festivities falling into place the following four days. The festival includes multi-course menu presentations, progressive dinners, tapas crawls, cook-offs, cooking classes, wine tastings, brewery tours and more!
It’s as much a tour of the northern Outer Banks as it is a showcase of our local chef’s creative talents. A variety of activities are scheduled from Corolla to Manteo and onto Currituck mainland. Although the primary focus is on food, this four day celebration also highlights the unique history and culture of eastern North Carolina. The best way to fully embrace the Taste of the Beach experience is to travel throughout the Outer Banks sampling the bounty of local land and sea.
A wonderful place to start is at Sanctuary Vineyard, next to the Cotton Gin in the town of Jarvisburg, on Currituck Mainland. Much of their wine is made from grapes grown in the vineyards next to the tasting room. The wines have been steadily improving since the first plantings 13 years ago, and previous Taste of Beach wine tastings have been great fun, as well as offering an education on local wine production.
This year, Sanctuary Vineyards is hosting “A Blind Tasting Battle Royale,” pitting North Carolina wines against other regional and worldwide varieties. Two tastings will be held on Friday, March 20th, and this event rises to the top of the list of what not to miss!
February is the middle of North Carolina’s prime oyster season, so foodies should take note of “Oysters at the Creek.” Held at Sugar Creek Seafood Restaurant, on the Causeway in Nags Head, attendees will enjoy 6 oysters Rockefeller with a twist, 6 Buffalo fried oysters tossed with their special sauce and your choice of 6 raw or steamed oysters. Sugar Creek overlooks the Roanoke Sound, so the unique waterfront setting and our savory local oysters combine to create magic!
One highlight of Outer Banks food and beverage entrepreneurship is The Outer Banks Craft Beer & Distilling Tour. Friday, March 20th, from 11am until 2pm, attendees can join a tour of beer and rum making that includes the Outer Bank’s only distillery— Outer Banks Distilling—located in Manteo. Park at the Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills and board a trolley heading to Manteo to sample Kill Devil Rum. Next, it’s on to Paul Charron’s Full Moon Café to partake in his refreshing English-style beer creations. The last stop is at the Outer Banks Brewing Station where you will sample their award-winning brews served with light fair.
If you’re looking to go “all in” on eastern N.C. cuisine, don’t bypass Kelly’s Outer Banks Tavern on Friday evening for a Celebration of Northeast North Carolina. Located in Nags Head, all five courses arriving from their kitchen are regional specialties, from the White Bean and Country Ham Chowder to the Sweet Potato Crème Brule.
A personal favorite, not to be missed, is the Outer Banks Annual Chowder Cookoff, held on Saturday at the Southern Shores Crossing Shopping Center in Southern Shores. Sponsored by Coastal Provisions, this has become one of the signature events of the four day festival.
The most expensive event held is the Blue Point 25th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, on the schedule for Friday evening at their soundfront restaurant in the town of Duck. Their commentary, “. . . Our chefs will dazzle you with a six course tour de force tasting menu that will comprise the best of our region’s farm to table philosophy.” Each course is paired with wine, and the seating is limited to 22. If this special evening sounds appealing, you’ll want to move quickly to reserve!
For a full schedule of events and pricing, visit their site at: http://obxtasteofthebeach.com/