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March 28, 2023

Up your culinary knowledge with StrEAT Smarts

We’re bringing more food programming to Charlotte SHOUT!

by Kristen Wile

Taking place on the final weekend of Charlotte SHOUT!, the Charlotte StrEATs Festival is the culmination of weeks of art, music, food, and celebration in Uptown. We took on the role of co-host of the event with Carben Events with a debut festival last year, creating a food festival that competes with those in other cities — and treats restaurants as partners. This year’s festival will build on that foundation with our StrEATs Tasting Tour on Saturday, April 15 and StrEATs Festival on April 16. In order to spread the love of Charlotte’s food scene throughout the rest of SHOUT!, however, we’ve decided to co-host a series of more intimate events focused on food knowledge in the weeks leading up the festival.

As an Unpretentious Palate reader, you know that one of our driving purposes is to spread knowledge about how our food and beverage scene functions and introduce you to the people who make Charlotte’s food scene what it is. That purpose touches everything we do, from our newsletter to our stories and our events.

Our StrEAT Smarts sessions were carefully curated with a mind to putting Charlotte food and beverage professionals in front of guests in a way that enables that spread of knowledge, whether it’s something for you to take home and use in your home kitchen or an experience that enables you to make better decisions about how you drink and dine.

Here’s what’s on the calendar! We hope to see you there. See the full schedule of Charlotte StrEATs Festival events here.

Zero-Proof Cocktail Class, Merchant & Trade
Sunday, April 2nd from 3:30-5:00 p.m.

Who says a craft cocktail needs to be boozy? Learn how to make non-alcoholic cocktails while enjoying beautiful skyline views at Uptown rooftop cocktail bar Merchant & Trade. Lead Bartender Tay Whitaker will demonstrate the art of making zero-proof cocktails at home, including everything from the evolution of these ‘cocktails’ to his favorite non-alcoholic spirit brands and their complementary ingredients. Tickets include tasting three different cocktails and light bites.

The Science of Fresh Pasta, Mano Bella
Monday, April 3rd from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Pasta lovers, this one’s for you! Head to The Market at 7th Street and learn how various types of flour are best used in past-making. Attendees will taste the difference between four distinct flours – semolina (extruded), ravioli (sheeted), rice flour pasta (gluten-free), and whole wheat (alla chitarra) — see what makes each one unique, and find out why some are better suited for certain sauces and applications.

The Art of Pairing Wine & Cheese, Assorted Table & Orrman’s
Monday, April 10th from 5-7 p.m.

Wine and cheese are a classic pairing, but how do you best pair them? This class at The Market at 7th Street will give you the knowledge to build a cheese board matched with wine — and give you the chance to taste through some fantastic offerings from its hosts.

Charlotte Wine Then and Now, Cichetti
Tuesday, April 11th from 6-8 p.m.

Charlotte’s wine palate has changed drastically over the years, as long-time wine professionals in the city can tell you. Cicchetti, sister concept to Uptown mainstay Aria, hosts a wine tasting that embodies that evolution, taking you on a wine journey from Charlotte’s Australia-obsessed days to the adventurous resurgence that’s happening now. Trevor Woods, Beverage Director for Cicchetti, will walk guests through three wine flights, tasting 12 wines, plus a Cicchetti plate alongside.

Grow Your Own Food, The Patio Farmer
Thursday, April 13th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Victoria Yards

The Patio Farmer heads to Uptown’s Victoria Yards! A 90-minute session will cover the basics of growing food at home courtesy of Erin Hostetler, who will also guide you through creating a planter you can take home to start your home gardening journey.

Tickets are also on sale for the Charlotte StrEATs Festival Tasting Tour on April 15, featuring a sampling of 20+ restaurants that help define the city’s neighborhoods! Check those out here.

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