Adé Carrena uses food to bring people together and bridge the gap between North Carolina and West Africa

On a map, North Carolina and the small, West African country of Benin appear very far apart.   The capital cities of Raleigh and Porto Novo are separated by about 8,800 miles as the crow flies.  Chef Adé Carrena is on a mission to help you realize that maybe the cultures aren’t so different, culinarily.   Carrena, the superstar behind Raleigh-based spice company iLéwa Foods and Dounou Foods, was recently crowned the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Chef of the Year, for helping to bridge the gap between southern cuisine and West African cuisine.  She blends the recipes she grew up…

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Got To Be NC takes on a new look and feel at the 2021 N.C. State Fair

The Got To Be NC tent at the N.C. State Fair is a sought after attraction each year. From delicious food products, like Bob’s Smokin’ Southern BBQ and Zulia’s Bakery, to other locally made products, like soap from Blinking Toad Workshop, the Got To Be NC area is a fair favorite to vendors and attendees alike. This year, vendors will take on a larger space in the Dorton Arena, aka the Got To Be NC Pavilion! Dorton Arena is the most iconic building on the N.C. State fairgrounds in Raleigh and sits proudly in the middle of all the action…

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NC products showcased for fairgoers

If you’re looking for a showcase of some of North Carolina’s very own products at the N.C. State Fair, you have to check out the “Got To Be NC” exhibit tent. This year’s tent will be packed with 34 vendors from 24 cities or towns across the state. Six of the vendors are new this year, while at least five returning vendors promise to have new or updated products in their booths. Many vendors will be in the exhibit tent for either the first or second half of the fair, but eight vendors will be there all 11 days. You’ll…

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Archetype Brewing wins State Fair beer competition

Cheers to this! Archetype Brewing has won Best in Show in the N.C. State Fair Beer Competition with their Belgian Strong Ale. The brewery bested 32 other gold medal-winning beers to secure the N.C. Brewers Cup trophy. With North Carolina being the home to more than 260 breweries and brewpubs, the 2018 NC Brewers Cup featured the stiffest competition yet in the event’s seven-year history, with 76 North Carolina breweries competing for medals over two days of judging. Twenty certified beer judges from across the Southeast traveled to the competition to select the finest examples of each beer style from…

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Get Ready for the Got to Be NC Festival

It’s a celebration of food and agriculture at the 11th annual Got to Be N.C. Festival.  Come enjoy a mix of food, fun, music, carnival rides, tractors and more. Gate admission is free. Highlights include: Homegrown Marketplace presented by Lowes Foods, in the Exposition Center. Nearly 100 North Carolina companies will be sampling and selling their products. Admission is $3 for ages 12 or older, but visitors will get a coupon for $2 off purchase (excluding alcohol) 10th Annual Masonic Carolina Pig Jig BBQ Cook-off will be Saturday beside the Exposition Center. Enjoy barbecue from 40 Masonic Lodges. Tickets are $15 for ages…

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Don’t just want to be NC, ‘Got to Be NC’

Locally produced cotton T-shirts, candles, muscadine juices, sweet potatoes, sauces, dry rubs. These are just a few of the products 30 vendors are showcasing in the Got to Be NC tent at the State Fair. Dozens of fairgoers gathered in the tent to sample and ultimately purchase some of North Carolina’s best. There was one that stuck out to me from all of the amazing vendors: Ms. Anne. As I’m taking photos of a woman sampling some maple butter, a smiling man approaches me and says, “That’s Anne.” I look up to see a stack of “Anne’s” products sitting neatly…

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Got To Be NC Tent to offer Carolina Kettle snacks, among other N.C. products

In addition to the plethora of food options available at the N.C. State Fair, fairgoers can also sample and discover food products from across North Carolina at the Got to Be NC Agriculture exhibit. Located outside the Kerr Scott Building, the tent will offer a variety of products representing the state’s diverse agricultural diversity. There will also be a NC Soybean Producers Association coloring wall that fairgoers can color in and use to learn more about products they can buy locally. Food will be available to taste and purchase from 25 North Carolina vendors throughout the fair, with some showing…

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3 Inspiring Blue-Ribbon Recipes for Thanksgiving

If you’re still searching for some great recipes to try this Thanksgiving, look no further than the award-winning dishes from the 2012 N.C. State Fair Special Cooking Contest. This year’s entries covered a variety of foods, from Peanut Butter Bacon Sliders to Chai Latte Pie. We recommend trying all the winning entries, but the following are our top picks for Thanksgiving Day. 1. Sweet Potato Salad Kathryn Jackson of Benson won a blue ribbon for her Sweet Potato Salad in the Anything But Ordinary! Sweet Potato Recipe Contest at the N.C. State Fair. The contest, sponsored by the N.C. SweetPotato…

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Twitter roundup: Eight enlightening State Fair exhibits

So far, we’ve brought you some of the highlights in State Fair food, rides and games. For our last social media series on the fair’s attractions, we’re bringing you some of the best exhibits that the fair has to offer (#8enlighteningexhibits). Though the carnival aspects of the fair sometimes get more attention, the exhibits preserve our state’s culture, promote North Carolina agricultural products and provide opportunities for people from across the state to connect in areas of shared passion. In this way, the exhibits are at the core of what the fair is all about. The Antique Farm Machinery exhibit…

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Weekend Update: July 1-4

The holiday weekend at the fairgrounds kicks off today with the start of the NCHJA Annual Hunter Jumper Show at the Hunt Horse Complex. Horses will compete for thousands of dollars in prize money, and the show will feature a variety of special events open to the public. Visitors will have the chance to pet ponies, watch a blacksmith at work and browse the offerings at a silent auction. Frank Cox Productions will host its second Gem & Jewelry Show of the summer Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Scott Building. The diverse offerings for show and sale will include…

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