Asheville Wine and Food Festival, August 23-25, showcases all that makes Asheville a culinary hotspot

Looking for a fun and delicious way to spend a Saturday afternoon? Head to the 4th annual Asheville Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting on August 25, featuring a smorgasbord of more than 300 regional, national and international wines, creations prepared by Asheville’s celebrated chefs, samples of local artisan food products, plus live entertainment, cooking demonstrations and more. Come prepared to stroll, sip, savor and shop at what promises to be the largest culinary gathering Asheville has seen under one roof.

 

Named one of the best festivals of its kind in the country by the New York Post, this highly anticipated event has moved to downtown Asheville, inside the newly renovated U.S. Cellular Center. The event is 12 noon to 5 p.m. for VIP passes ($65); 1:30 to 5 p.m. for general admission ticketholders ($45). VIP tickets, available only in limited quantities, provide exclusive entry to the VIP Lounge where full pours of wine and delicious food samplings will be served in high style.

 

As if drinking wine all afternoon, noshing on local delicacies, and enjoying live entertainment weren’t enough, the festival also features a mixologist contest (who’s the best bartender in the area?), an amateur wine competition, countless opportunities to meet, greet, and learn from culinary experts, and plenty of tasty products to purchase and take home. (You can even get a jump on holiday gift-buying at the Blue Ridge Food Ventures Marketplace, featuring locally crafted specialty foods.)

 

And be sure to stop by the Slow Food Asheville booth and discover all about F.E.A.S.T. (a hands-on group cooking experience using fresh seasonal local ingredients with a focus on childhood and family nutrition) and The Appalachian Food Storybank, a program of Slow Food Asheville that seeks to acknowledge, honor, and archive Appalachian heritage foods and foodways in order to promote the preservation of diverse local knowledge, natural resources, and food biodiversity.

 

A new feature of the festival is The Fashion and Food Runway: Under the Appalachian Moon. Beginning at 3 p.m., local chefs and fashion designers present inspirations for evening wear and culinary regalia. Sandra Harvey Designs, featured in numerous fashion-related style sections of The Los Angeles Times and in magazines that include Detour, Revolt in Style, Manic, and Flaunt, will be showcased in this up-close-and-personal fashion show along with designer Mary Lou of Spiritex organics and milliner Simone Bernhard.

 

Not a wine drinker? Come anyway – there’s something for every taste. Sample craft brews that have earned Asheville its status as Beer City USA. Or discover spirits from the region’s newest distilleries (this ain’t your grandpa’s moonshine).

 

Limo and taxi services will be close at hand. For information and tickets, visit www.ashevillewineandfood.com.

 

Delicious decadence: Let’s get this party started!

Why wait until Saturday to enjoy the area’s best wine and food? The Asheville Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting will be preceded on Friday, August 24 by SWEET, an after-dinner fete featuring sips and samples of luscious desserts, sparkling wines and specialty cocktails, held 7:30 to 10 p.m. at the Grove Arcade downtown. Tickets are only $35 per person for an evening of delicious decadence.

 

Tickets are also available to the WNC Chefs Challenge, revealing the best chef in the region. From an original slate of 14 of the region’s most talented culinary leaders, four remain. Semi-finals are Aug. 14 and 16, followed on Aug. 23 by the finale, all taking place at The Century Room on the Park, located above Pack’s Tavern in downtown Asheville, beginning at 6:30 p.m. each evening. Tickets to the semi-finals are $49 per person; the finale is $99. These events sell out quickly, so early purchase is recommended at www.ashevillewineandfood.com.