Southern Gourmet in Chapel Hill: A Southern Season

North Carolina Party Basket from A Southern Season – Photo from http://www.southernseason.com

My sister has been raving about A Southern Season, a popular food specialty store, since she moved to Chapel Hill last year. She once sent me a photo of the store’s impressive cheese display which I kept as my phone wallpaper for months. When we visited Chapel Hill recently, my sister and her husband took us out for our first A Southern Season shopping experience at the University Mall in Chapel Hill. The shop occupies a former Belk’s department store, and could fit about 20 Dean and Deluca’s (my favorite gourmet market in Charlotte) in its expansive space.

We picked up sandwiches and prepared salads from the deli for a late lunch, then spent some quality time browsing the cheese section to pick out appetizers for the evening. From countless varieties of hot sauce to artistic chocolate creations, I could have spent hours browsing through the gourmet food, gifts and cookware. A Southern Season is most well-known outside of Chapel Hill for their gift baskets, which feature Southern specialities like Carolina Cheddar Cheese Straws, Moravian Spice Cookies and UNC Tar Heel-inspired treats. The 2nd floor is home to the cooking school, which offers a packed calendar of wine tastings (including casual tastings every Friday) and cooking classes such as “Taste of the Triangle: Crook’s Corner Celebrates Julia Child.”

Visitors can enjoy A Southern Season’s cuisine in an elegant atmosphere at The Weathervane, a full-service restaurant with year round outdoor patio and wine bar. The menu features ingredients from local providers such as Hillsborough Cheese Company, Southport Seafood, Eastern Carolina Organics. My sister raved about Weathervane’s brunch, so I checked out the menu and made a mental note to someday order the  house made banana bread with Nutella or fried green tomatoes with cheddar cheese eggs. Or both.

After visiting this mecca for Southern foodies, I admit to being a little envious of my sister’s proximity to A Southern Season’s only location in Chapel Hill. Since the store has been cultivating its roots in Chapel Hill since 1975, I’m sadly not holding out hope for an expansion to Charlotte. I am excited to visit A Southern Season again for a meal at The Weathervane, cooking class (the Summer Seafood Feast perhaps?) and wine tasting.

Plan a weekend stay at the beautiful Carolina Inn for a fabulous getaway to Chapel Hill, and discover your inner Paula Deen with a cooking workshop and shopping trip at A Southern Season.

Patio at Weathervane (photo from http://www.southernseason.com) – A Southern Season’s restaurant

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