I’ve had a couple of questions from followers asking where they might find the NC “secret” ingredients used in the Competition Dining Series Fire in the Triangle. I know I was excited to learn there was an NC based manufacturer of noodles (First Noodle Co. in Charlotte). As it turns out, that particular product is not available via a retail outlet at this point. According to the Competition Dining organizers, they are working on putting together a list of Triangle restaurants that use First Noodle Co. products (I’ll be sure to update this post when that information is available) – Stay tuned!
Lusty Monk mustard from Asheville was the featured ingredient in the battle between Il Palio and Jujube, during which the ingredient was very creatively incorporated in a dessert course flan by Chef Josh DeCarolis of Jujube. As indicated on the Lusty Monk website, their mustards can be found in the dairy cases at all three Weaver Street Market locations, as well as Reliable Cheese in Durham.
Battle Country Ham, between Weathervane and Fork & Barrel, featured products from Johnston County Hams in Smithfield. I found the information about their curing process an interesting read. It takes a lot of time and technique to cure the perfect cut of ham. Country hams, prosciutto and other pork products can be purchased online, or if you’re up for a short “road trip” to Johnston County, you can visit the Johnston County Hams retail shop at 204 N Brightleaf Blvd., open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.
The NC seasonal produce featured in the preliminary rounds (blueberries and cantaloupe) can be found in your local farmers’ market of course, as well as eggs. Did you know that NC shrimp are seasonally available too? Fortunately, we are in the midst of peak shrimp season now. I really enjoyed the Pamlico Sound shrimp I ordered through Dock to Door. When I picked up my order at Sip… a wine store in Cary, I learned everyone that picks up their order at Sip is presented with a discount card to use on the purchase of a bottle of wine in the shop (pretty sweet deal). Dock to Door also has pick up locations in Chapel Hill at 3 Cups and at Fullsteam in Durham and if you follow the LoMo Market truck around the Triangle area, you’ll find seafood items from Dock to Door on the truck too (see the Dock to Door website for complete order process details and schedule). In Wake County, residents will find NC seafood available via Locals Seafood at many Triangle farmers’ markets on various dates and they frequently update their Facebook page with the available seafood at each location.
It may seem like a bit more effort is necessary to find and purchase NC seafood products. Personally, I don’t mind. I stopped purchasing imported shrimp quite a while ago. Stories like this one illustrate that there’s always a price to pay for “cheap” seafood, one I choose not to support. I’m more than happy to lend my support to NC fishermen and the organizations that practice sustainable methods.