This is T and I’m here in hopes of adequately putting into words our wonderful experience at Old North State Winery. We believe it is now our favorite excursion we’ve done as a couple! The entire time, we were looking at one another, saying “Oh my gosh, this is so good,” and “wow” and expressing how much fun we were having.
A little back story. I was a paralegal for one law firm for 27 years. I worked for the senior partner whose son, Chris Wishart, went on to become a world-renowned Chef, and I reconnected with him on Facebook just a few years ago. He would share photographs of the dishes he was creating at Old North State Winery (ONS) and it was art, the clear definition of fine dining. It was so beautiful that I knew one day I had to go to ONS, see him work, and taste the food he was creating! Then a few weeks ago, we learned about the Chef’s Table experience at ONS and decided we would do that for our one year anniversary. B called and reserved our seats and we were both so excited!
We expected ONS to be your typical outdoor setting with a view and vineyards, and we were so wrong. The owners, Ben and Ellie Webb, did start ONS in eastern NC on family land but decided they wanted to support the economy of Mt. Airy (a/ka/ Mayberry USA) and opened ONS in the heart of downtown. ONS sits just down the street from the famous Snappy Lunch and other wonderful shops and eateries. We would call it an urban winery, the restaurant having that beautiful old downtown feel, being in a renovated old hardware store, wine displays throughout, and the winery process itself based downstairs underneath the restaurant.
When we arrived, the table in front of where Chef Chris would be preparing the food was set for two people – we realized it was just us! And there were four forks, three knives, a spoon, and four styles of wine glasses. Can we say out of our element? And we loved every minute of it! What made it even better was that Chris’ best friend from high school, Ed Padgett, is the Sommelier at ONS, and he is a big part of the experience. We learned so much about the wines, like we did the food, and Ed and Chris together make the experience so worthwhile!
Ed started us off with a glass of champagne for our anniversary, and while neither B nor I have ever liked champagne, we’d never had this champagne. It was delicious and a wonderful way to start our meal.
We went on to have an appetizer course, which Chef called Amuse, and then three courses consisting of all kinds of amazing foods, many things we’ve never had, many things we’d never heard of, and every – single – bite being delicious. Over the top delicious. With each course, Ed would introduce a new wine to us from different parts of the world, and each was particularly paired with the food we were about to have. He explained the wine is chosen by him after Chef Chris designs the menu for us (it is not a repeat menu) so that he can choose wine that is complimentary to that particular dish without overpowering it. Chef Chris would then describe in detail what each food item was he’d placed in front of us, where it came from (almost all from NC which we loved), how it was cooked, etc… then he’d leave us to enjoy it.
A few last notes on this experience before I share the pictures and descriptions of our courses.
1) We went into this prepared to try anything they prepared for us. B eats almost anything so he was all good, but for me, this was huge because I am a very weird eater. But I made up my mind that if we were going to do this, I was going to experience it all. I am so glad I didn’t let my mind convince me not to try everything because every bite was out of this world!
2) We decided on the drive there that we wanted to soak all this in without worrying about cameras. We did get pictures of each course below, which don’t do the food justice, but were so fascinated with watching Chris create the food and plate it, we were like kids watching an artist paint. I am sad we don’t have more to show you but not sad that we had such a beautiful time together and I know you would too if you ever decide to do this. It is definitely something we will never forget.
Thank you, Chef Chris and Ed and Old North State, for such a great memory for our one year anniversary! We can’t wait to come back!