Raleigh makes Southern Living's top tastiest towns; readers can vote for the culinary champ | Food

Raleigh makes Southern Living's top tastiest towns; readers can vote for the culinary champ

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Southern Living has selected Raleigh as one of the Top 10 “Tastiest Towns in the South,” according to a press release issued by the magazine today.

And now readers can cast their vote for the culinary champ—think of it as a Best in Show—from Dec. 23 through Jan. 31 at southernliving.com/tasty. One vote per day is counted toward the final tally.

Each finalist will be profiled in the April 2012 issue, when the winner will also be announced.

The other cities in the Top 10 are listed in the January edition of Southern Living. According to a magazine press release, here is the rest of the list:

· Baltimore, Md.—Restaurants with a fierce sense of place;
· Birmingham, Ala.—Includes local chef Frank Stitt, who changed the Southern culinary landscape;
· Charleston, S.C.—Iconic Lowcountry dishes and a thriving cocktail culture;
· Charlottesville, Va.—Farm-to-table freshness in everything from tapas to spirits;
· Decatur, Ga.—An emerging mecca for foodies who relish local farmers markets;
· Houston, Texas—A diverse ethnic food scene with a new generation of tastemakers;
· Lafayette, La.—A new breed of hometown chefs diving into the region’s culinary roots;
· Louisville, Ky.—Surprising food, bourbon bars and buzzy new neighborhoods; and,
· New Orleans, La.—Famed oyster bars. Gulf seafood and classic cocktails.

The magazine reports that Raleigh’s “fantastic farmers markets and chefs devoted to their culinary heritage” earned it a spot in the top 10.

Southern Living editors chose the finalists based on the following criteria:

· Food as a cultural identity—The unique food or ethnicity that defines a particular Southern region;
· Growth of a culinary-minded community—The influence that the culinary industry has on the local community and tourism;
· Diverse cuisine at a variety of price points—Accessibility to hearty, flavorful meals at any budget;
· Local, sustainable food practices—The focus on sourcing products from local purveyors to geographically define where each meal comes from;
· Hot chefs on the rise—The influence of the area’s culinary talent in the media and pop culture; and,
· Abundance of buzz-worthy food events— the number of festivals in the area that celebrate all things food and drink.

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