For Mom: Southern Season (Classes, Tastings, Prepared Meals)
To be totally blunt - if you haven't been to A Southern Season yet you are really missing out. This huge gourmet food mecca anchors one end of University Mall. In a space that used to be a department store, A Southern Season has a lot to offer for everyone. And now that it is the North Carolina Food & Wine Festival, it is a great time to focus some blog-love on them! As a mom I particularly love: the prepared foods section, the cooking classes, and the wine tastings (think GNO or a datenight for this one).
At A Southern Season, the prepared foods section has lot of different options for you. You can get cheeses, deli meats, or hit the salad bar. You can also get hot prepared sandwiches for a picnic lunch. But they even offer full entrees to bring home for your family to eat tonight. The selections can vary day to day. And while not the cheapest takeout fare on the block, it is usually a hit and something different than I might make at home (I know it doesn't hurt to branch away from mac n cheese).
One of the fun activities out there for mom and friends is the cooking class. A Southern Season offers a variety of types of classes (which are going to range in price depending on the cook). In their state of the art, very large classroom, you can see professional chefs demonstrate and discuss their techniques. Or you can attend a class that is hands-on. There are also local chefs delivering the recipes that make Chapel Hill one of the most popular destinations for foodies. Check out the schedule and details online (website below).
Another offering at A Southern Season that DH and I love as a datenight is the Fridays Uncorked. Every Friday night starting at 5 pm and ending at 8 pm, in the same gourmet kitchen classroom, they pop open five wines as well as provide cheeses to match. You get to taste each wine and you are given a pamphlet describing each bottle. This is as educational as you want it to be; the more questions you ask of the pourers, the more information you get. Or you can go it relaxed. Each Friday is a different theme. You can show up at any time in the window and leave whenever you like. Prices vary depending on what is being opened, but anywhere from $12 - $18 per person. These don't generally sell out so you can probably just walk up last minute to get in. Although keep an eye out for the chocolate and wine tasting event. Very fun (but popular, so get your tickets in advance on this one). The wines for tasting the night you go will be up for sale by the bottle at a reasonable discount.
Whatever you are looking for in the food and fun department, this Chapel Hill institution has it. As a mom, I am appreciating it even more these days.
A Southern Season
15/501 at Estes