Asheville, North Carolina has become a weekend getaway destination for foodies far and near, year-round. The mere mention of Asheville will easily become a food-centric conversation. The 2014 Asheville Wine and Food Festival is proof of that as the culmination of all good things to drink and eat in this charming Southern town come together for a three day celebration. The Asheville Wine and Food Festival will begin on Thursday night, August 21st, and end on Saturday at the Main Event.
Thursday: Elixir, the Cocktail Event of the Asheville Wine and Food Festival
Elixir is taking place Thursday night, August 21st, and has all the elements of a smashing event, including lots of liquor, mystery, intrigue and a competition. Local bartenders will be showing off their mixology talent, crafting cocktails with liquors from North Carolina distilleries. Live entertainment and hors d’oeuvres will engage the senses and the appetite, as the excitement builds and a winner is chosen. Just like Prohibition, drinking at a secret location enhances the desire to imbibe. The undisclosed Asheville location will be announced to you 48 hours before the event, once you purchase your ticket, along with directions and the secret knock.
If you would like a guided tour to Asheville’s favorite neighborhoods and landmarks, you can purchase an additional ticket for just $20 riding LAZOOM’S purple bus, which they promise is side-splitting fun.
Friday Night: Sweet, the Dessert Event of the Asheville Wine and Food Festival
Sweet is exactly that, a feature of sweets, pastries, and chocolate taking place on Friday Evening, August 22 from 8 to 10 PM at the Grove Arcade, downtown. Local bakers will be heating up their ovens all day to serve you confections, while wineries, brewers and distillers will further the evening’s pleasure. Is there anything better than red wine and chocolate, while you browse the local shops of the Grove Arcade, strolling to live music. Go home full of sugar and sass and dream about the next day’s Main Event at the Grand Tasting.
Sweet Tickets: $45
Saturday: The Grand Tasting, the Main Event of the Asheville Wine and Food Festival
The Grand Tasting is the main event on Saturday. We are so looking forward to the one event we know will make us close our eyes and sing a little as we taste our way through Asheville’s cuisine.
Notice the word wine comes before food in the Asheville Wine and Food Festival and for good reason. They are promising hundreds of wines from local and international wineries. This is reason enough to want to purchase a ticket. Accompanying wine, there will be local beer breweries, regional distillers, and then more food from the talented chefs, artisans and food producers than you can probably eat.
Located at the U.S. Cellular Center, amidst the food and drink, there will be cooking demonstrations, an amateur wine making competition, and the Asheville Scene Chef’s Challenge finale. For the past several weeks, chefs have competed at various locations, narrowing down the competition leading to the finale. The winner will be named Asheville’s Wine and Food Festival Best Chef, an honorable and proud achievement.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
VIP 1-5 PM $70
General Admission 2-5 PM $55
U.S. Cellular Center | 87 Haywood St., Asheville
Make the Most of the Weekend
The Asheville Wine and Food Festival is certainly enough reason to drive, fly or scoot over to Asheville for a long weekend. There are many local restaurants to get chummy with, including many charming outdoor cafes. You may want to make room to tour the legendary and magnificent Biltmore estate, as 8,000 acres play host to the Biltmore Mansion, Gardens, Winery, Hiking trails and so much more.
Celebrating the first night of this event, Elixir, I am bringing you a Blueberry Old Fashioned Cocktail made with blueberries which I hand picked, and spiced cherry bitters. You can choose to substitute with blackberries, or any mix of berries and use any bitters you like, but do use a good bourbon. I made these in a mini-version, celebrating a new way to sit at the bar and try sips, in the same way shared plates allow for bites. The blueberry old fashioned accompanied this most recent, blueberry cream cheese sweet corn taco.
- 2 oz Kentucky Bourbon
- 1½ tablespoons blackberry or blueberry simple syrup (see below)
- 8 blueberries
- a dash of the vanilla syrup
- a dash of spiced cherry bitters
- a teaspoon of sugar
- 4 -6 frozen blueberries
- a squeeze of lemon
- splash soda water
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Put everything in the shaker with some ice, give it a good shaking, then pour through a strainer to take out the berry pulp.
- Then added a few frozen blueberries to float on top, along with a strip of lemon peel.
- Pour ¾ of glass.
- Add splash soda water.
- Heat water, sugar, blueberries together to a boil. When water is at a boil, add diced strawberries, and simmer until the strawberries are very soft. Take through a sieve. Store in refrigerator.
Stay tuned for a recipe to celebrate Sweet.