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I don’t know how long I have been following Kristin and The Barn in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Certainly a few years. This dreamy barn, up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where they have cooking classes, and fancy dinners, and culinary experiences. It has been on my “restaurants to try” list for a long time.

Our supper club has slowly been checking these restaurants off the list and when I mentioned The Barn, Laura, my friend (and now boss at The Runner Box), casually said “Oh, that’s my cousin.”

Her grandparents owned the barn, she spent many of her summers there, and even lived there for a while. Now her cousin has renovated it into a gorgeous cooking school where you can bring a group and enjoy amazing food, a beautiful atmosphere, and learn some cooking skills.

The hour and twenty minute drive takes you through the most winding roads, up and down mountains, and back and forth on steep switchbacks. The slow travel allows you to soak in the beautiful scenery and enjoy the tranquil journey through the mountains. Kristin is as charming as she seems online, and upon our arrival presented us with a winter sour (a play on a whiskey sour) and ushered us into the large kitchen to begin preparations for our meal!

Trying to encapsulate the southern cooking of Appalachia, we made homemade graham crackers and fluffy marshmallow cream for chocolate covered moon pies, jammy pickled eggs with trout caviar & creme fraiche, pickled shrimp topping a bright citrus salad, the flakiest buttermilk biscuits, and chicken & ricotta dumplings w winter veggies and shaved Parmesan cheese. Snacks were passed around while we cooked; salty boiled peanuts, creamy pimento cheese, crunchy pickled okra. Everything is as locally sourced as possible. Eggs from a farm up the mountain, trout caviar from a trout farm down the road, local things from the farmers markets in the area.

Not only was it a delicious and gorgeous farm to table meal, we learned a lot, tried new things, and got to be involved in the preparation. I loved the experience of helping to prepare the food I think its always so cool to cook with people. Preparing nourishing food for yourself and for others is an experience that brings you closer together and fills your

I soaked up the entire experience, and loved every minute of it. The beautiful atmosphere, breathtaking views, and quiet mountain vista, and the amazing company. I always fill out these things in my day planner and it asks “what makes you come alive” and I never know how to answer that question, but I am slowly learning about myself, things around food, and people you love, and the table. Those are things that make me come alive. It was truly a ‘fill me up’ experience, one I won’t soon forget.

Shauna Niequest from her book, Bread & Wine:

“What’s becoming clearer and clearer to me is that the most sacred moments, the ones in which I feel God’s presence most profoundly, when I feel the goodness of the world most arrestingly, take place at the table. The particular alchemy of celebration and food, of connecting people and serving what I’ve made with my own hands, comes together as more than the sum of their parts… My best moments have been spent in the kitchen, and many of the most deeply spiritual moments …have taken place at the table.”

*For more information about The Barn https://www.thebarnnc.com

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