Terroir, that French word for land that describes the literal taste of a place, has applications beyond wine and coffee. It is also crucial for describing oysters, according to Bernie Herman, professor of American studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Join Herman and Jay Murrie, wine director at 3CUPS (227 S. Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, www.3cups.net, 968-8993), for the Grand Oyster-Wine Taste-Off between 3 and 5 p.m. on Dec. 5 at 3CUPS.
For the past four years, Herman has worked to restore native oyster populations on Virginia's eastern shore. For this event he will bring three types of bivalve oysters culled earlier that week from that area: Westerhouse Creeks, Nassawadox Salts and Hog Island Bays. Even though each of those varieties is grown within seven miles of one another, Herman says their individual microenvironments produce entirely different flavors. For example, the Hog Island Bays, which are grown seaside, are inherently salty, he explains, while the Nassawadox Salts are "well-balanced" and still reveal the flavor of the oyster itself.
Buy tickets to the Taste-Off—$30 in advance and $35 at the door—at the 3CUPS website. The tasting includes 12 oysters prepared by Austin Genke and Samantha Genke of Boxcarr Farms, plus samples of 12 wines.
Oysters are also on the menu for the next Southern Foodways Alliance event on the Fearrington House Garden Terrace (100 Village Way, Pittsboro, 542-2121) on Dec. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. The village bookstore, McIntyre's, is hosting an oyster roast and fried chicken dinner to mark the publication of The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook, which features contributions from local chefs. Tickets to the event are $25; $45 includes a copy of the cookbook. For more information, go to sfaatmcintyres.eventbrite.com.
And on Dec. 4 at 4 p.m., Sip ... A Wine Store (1059 Darrington Drive, Cary, 467-7880) will kick off a collection of work by artists under the age of 18. The shop will share samples of organic, biodynamic, sustainable and carbon-neutral wines, as well as floats made with Zubber Fizz Root Beer, Zubber Fizz Vanilla Cream and Sweetwater Maple soda, and Henry's Gelato. Deadline for art submissions is Nov. 28. Get entry forms at www.sipawinestore.com.
Admission to the event is $1 or one canned food item. Both will benefit the Interfaith Food Shuttle. Proceeds from the sale of the artists' work will support the John Avery Boys and Girls Club of Durham.
Speaking of wine, there is an ownership change at Wine Authorities (2501 University Drive, Durham, 489-2884, wineauthorities.com). Seth Gross has sold his interest in the shop to his business partner, Craig Heffley. It's a friendly parting, as Gross has decided to focus on his new venture, Bull City Burger and Brewery (107 E. Parrish St., 680-2333, www.bullcityburgerandbrewery.com), which is scheduled to open in February.
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