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AIR’s Taste of Asheville: Small Bites and Street Beats


Tasty. Fresh. Original. Local. That’s what makes Asheville’s culinary community so special, according to magazines such as Bon AppetitSouthern LivingThe Local Palate and Garden & Gun. Locals and visitors know that behind these accolades are Ashville’s independent restaurant owners, the men and women who put Asheville on the map as a nationally-recognized culinary destination.

Once a year these entrepreneurs and flavor masters put their best small bites forward in November at The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association’s (AIR) Taste of Asheville. This year’s Taste of Asheville, presented by Mission Health, will be held on November 17 at The Venue, 21 N. Market Street in downtown Asheville. VIP tickets (early admission at 6:00pm) are $100; general admission tickets (admission at 7:00pm) are $75; event goes until 9pm. All tickets can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-taste-of-asheville-taste-tunes-tickets-28689010603.

What can you expect? Around forty of Asheville’s independent restaurants! So, there’s always plenty of food, with something to suit every palate. Choose from delicate pastries, smoky barbeque, melt-in-your-mouth organic chocolates, Southern comfort food, French favorites, colorful Indian curries, ice cream like you’ve never tasted it, local craft beers, hard cider, wines and more.

New this year is entertainment provided by the Asheville Busker Collective. “We’re calling this year’s event Taste & Tunes. Of course, we’re not talking about any old food or any old music. We’re talking about Asheville’s celebrated mouth-watering cuisine and music that gets your feet tapping,” says Jane Anderson, executive director of AIR.  Local performers featured throughout the event will be The Fly By Night Rounders—featuring Abby the Spoon Lady; The Silver Girl human statue and The All Arounders.

Since it first started in 2008, AIR’s Taste has grown to become the city’s premier sampling and sipping event. Today it includes brewers, vintners and cider makers. “One of AIR’s most distinguishing features is the collaboration between local chefs, vintners, distillers and brewers,” Anderson says. “You see this on display at the Taste in the selection of local foods that pair well with local spirits.”

The Taste is also an opportunity to talk to meet the people behind the flavors you love. “We like to say that AIR is food in Asheville. The Taste gives us a chance for fans and chefs to get together and for us to showcase new AIR-member restaurants,” says Anderson.

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