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NC delicacies nab Good Food Awards for the best in craft beer, cheese, pork and chocolate

Artisanal chocolate bars and truffles are just a few of the sweet delights served up at Escazu Artisan Chocolates in Raleigh. Escazu was among six Triangle companies taking home Good Food Awards over the weekend.
Artisanal chocolate bars and truffles are just a few of the sweet delights served up at Escazu Artisan Chocolates in Raleigh. Escazu was among six Triangle companies taking home Good Food Awards over the weekend. jleonard@newsobserver.com

North Carolina beer, pork, cheese and chocolate snagged eight Good Food Awards, given annually to the best artisan goods in the country.

All eight awards will come home to the Triangle, spread between six local companies. Fullsteam Brewery, Chapel Hill Creamery, Boxcarr Cheese, Escazu Artisan Chocolates each won an award with Videri Chocolate and Lady Edison earning two apiece.

All of have won Good Food Awards in the past.

The Good Food Awards honor artisan products deemed exceptionally tasty, but also made through sustainable practices and local sourcing. They are announced at an annual ceremony in San Francisco. The 2019 awards were announced Jan. 11.

Historically, North Carolina’s makers have fared well in the awards, with more than a dozen Good Food Awards given out last year. While the count is fewer this year, all winners are from the Triangle and recognize the great delicacies of the earth: beer, cheese, chocolate and so forth. 

Fullsteam Brewery won for its Southern Basil beer in the beer category. Last year the Durham brewery took home awards for three of its beers, all from the farm-focused Farm’s Edge series, which were brewed as collaborations with local farmers.

“Southern Basil is the first beer we brewed on our professional system,” Fullsteam owner Sean Lilly Wilson said in an interview. “It’s nice that a broader beer gets this kind of recognition, rather than a specialty that’s a super small release. It’s gratifying because it feels like a continuity of mission...It’s not a niche offering, it’s something that defines us a brewery.”

Since the Good Food Awards were first given out in 2011, Fullsteam remains the only North Carolina brewery to win, sharing an honor that over the years that has gone to larger breweries like Firestone Walker Brewing Co. and Allagash Brewing. 

Wilson expects to have local company soon.

”We love the uniqueness of being the only North Carolina brewery to receive this recognition, but candidly, we want more of our peers to involve themselves with the Good Food Foundation,” Wilson said in a statement.

It was a big year for Raleigh’s two chocolatiers. Escazu Artisan Chocolates won for its Rosemary-Lemon Ganache while Videri won for its 70 percent dark chocolate and its lavender-black pepper caramel.

In cheese, awards went to Chapel Hill Creamery for its funky farmhouse cheese Danziger. Boxcarr Handmade Cheese won for Robiola, a soft cheese.

Chapel Hill’s Lady Edison Pork won two awards for its cured meats —  one for its hot sopressata, made with North Carolina’s San Giuseppe Salami Co., and one for its pork loin pastrami.

Fullsteam is hosting a Good Food Awards showcase with samples on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 2 to 6 p.m. featuring North Carolina winners, from this year and previous years. The brewery is at 726 Rigsbee Ave., Durham.

Related stories from Durham Herald Sun

Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.
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