Food – Asheville Blog http://ashevilleblog.com Your Source for all things Asheville Fri, 20 Jul 2018 18:36:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.15 Looking Glass and Sugar & Snow Collaborate in the name of Great Gelato http://ashevilleblog.com/looking-glass-sugar-snow-gelato/ http://ashevilleblog.com/looking-glass-sugar-snow-gelato/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:48:50 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11503 Two Asheville Area businesses, Looking Glass Creamery and Sugar & Snow Gelato are teaming up in the name of delicious gelato. Sugar & Snow Gelato is a local company that has always made their popular line of gelato from scratch. They use simple whole ingredients in their proprietary gelato recipes, versus a commercially prepared base from unknown origins that is the more typical starting point of many ice cream and gelato makers. Local sourcing and top-quality ingredients have always been important to Amy Pickett, founder of Sugar & Snow. She has used creamline milk and heavy cream from North Carolina farms from day one. When it came time to find another dairy provider to keep up with demand, she saw an opportunity to bring her sourcing even closer to home. She decided to reach out to Jennifer Perkins of Looking Glass Creamery to see if there was a possibility of using the milk from the company’s herd of pasture based dairy cows.

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Two Asheville Area businesses, Looking Glass Creamery and Sugar & Snow Gelato are teaming up in the name of delicious gelato. Sugar & Snow Gelato is a local company that has always made their popular line of gelato from scratch. They use simple whole ingredients in their proprietary gelato recipes, versus a commercially prepared base from unknown origins that is the more typical starting point of many ice cream and gelato makers.

Local sourcing and top-quality ingredients have always been important to Amy Pickett, founder of Sugar & Snow. She has used creamline milk and heavy cream from North Carolina farms from day one. When it came time to find another dairy provider to keep up with demand, she saw an opportunity to bring her sourcing even closer to home. She decided to reach out to Jennifer Perkins of Looking Glass Creamery to see if there was a possibility of using the milk from the company’s herd of pasture based dairy cows.  

The two met and discussed different options and a field trip to the dairy was scheduled very early one morning for Amy to see the farm, the cows, and the process of picking up fresh milk to transport it back to Looking Glass Creamery for production. On that day, a test batch of Amy’s proprietary gelato base was made to test the process and evaluate the resulting gelato from the new, single source, pasture-based milk of the Looking Glass Creamery herd. The resulting gelato base is the blank slate used to create many of Sugar & Snows signature flavors like RAD Mint, Double Shot Espresso, and Brown Sugar Pralines. “The first batch was excellent! It’s exciting to not only know what specific farm our milk is coming from but to have been there, seen the beautiful rolling pastures, know the farmer, and know that our milk is as fresh and local as it can possibly be.” says Amy Pickett. The cooperative endeavor will also help Sugar and Snow boost production and expand their distribution into wholesale markets. Having Looking Glass Creamery make the Sugar and Snow gelato base in their licensed dairy manufacturing facility allows Amy to focus more on sales and expanding distribution to restaurants and grocery stores. Sugar & Snow’s staff will continue to churn the gelato base in their batch freezer, bake cookies for mix-ins, and cook their other gelato base recipes at their commercial kitchen.

For Looking Glass Creamery, this type of cooperative arrangement is just what the company is looking for as they undertake an expansion and build a new creamery on their recently acquired dairy farm. “We are looking to grow our cheesemaking business but also find new opportunities that our expanded location on the farm will allow us to undertake such as making custom dairy products like Gelato base for Sugar and Snow or private label for destination companies that would like to offer a signature cheese to their guests and visitors.” says Jennifer Perkins.

Looking Glass Creamery is also excited to offer Sugar and Snow Gelato for sale in their soon to be expanded retail shop in Fairview and eventually down on the dairy farm in Columbus, NC. “We are looking forward to not only selling Sugar and Snow Gelato that will be made from our milk, but we hope we can twist Amy’s arm into making a special variety just for us featuring our dulce de leche Carmoolita with a hint of sea salt.”, says Looking Glass Retail Manager Sean Stanley.  

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Sanctuary Brewing Company to Host Third Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff http://ashevilleblog.com/3rd-annual-vegan-chili-cookoff/ http://ashevilleblog.com/3rd-annual-vegan-chili-cookoff/#respond Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:44:25 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11501 Come Sunday, chili lovers from all over will be digging into bowls of deliciousness at Sanctuary Brewing Company, 147 1st Ave East in Hendersonville, NC. The popular brewery is hosting its Third Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff on Sunday, February 25th from 2 to 5 p.m., with music by the brotherly harmonic duo, Brother Bluebird.

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Come Sunday, chili lovers from all over will be digging into bowls of deliciousness at Sanctuary Brewing Company, 147 1st Ave East in Hendersonville, NC. The popular brewery is hosting its Third Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff on Sunday, February 25th from 2 to 5 p.m., with music by the brotherly harmonic duo, Brother Bluebird.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to enter the mouthwatering contest for a fee of $15. All entries must be completely free from animal products, but otherwise, anything goes! Each entrant needs to bring one full-sized crockpot of their scrumptious creation. Winners will receive a certificate and cast iron skillet, the perfect tool for the home chef. If you’re more of a foodie and less of a cook, you can taste all the chili you want for a fee of $15 for adults, $10 for kids (free under three).

“Our chili cookoff is one of my favorite events of the year,” says Sanctuary co-founder Lisa McDonald. “You’d be blown away by some of the incredible chefs we have in the area and the amazing chili they make – all animal free! Seriously, it’s not-to-be-missed for and anyone who loves great chili.”

Attendees can watch their chili selections down with a whole host of craft beer options from the signature, flavorful Hop Pig IPA to the refreshing Bobby Beer Jr. Kolsch. Sanctuary has 20 rotating taps featuring freshly brewed creations from light to malty to hoppy, plus a new wine menu and cider and non-alcoholic options.

The proceeds from the cookoff will benefit Sweet Bear Rescue Farm, the new 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by Sanctuary owners McDonald and Joe Dinan. The farm is home to 19 animals including best friends Ollie the pot-bellied pig and Charlotte the chicken; Maggie and Shadow, two newly adopted goats; George and Paul, turkeys rescued by Farm Sanctuary and who recently joined the fold, and numerous other furry/feathered inhabitants.

Sanctuary Brewing has raised thousands of dollars for charitable causes since its opening in 2015, offers free Sunday meals for anyone in need, and has a Kindness Wall outside the main entrance that’s always stocked with essentials for the local homeless population. Recently featured in Thrive and Our State magazines, Sanctuary has even garnered the attention of big names like comedian Ricky Gervais, ARCA racecar driver Leilani Munter, and filmmaker Kip Anderson (Cowspiracy, What the Health).

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Biltmore Village Oyster Bar Shucks Franchise http://ashevilleblog.com/biltmore-village-oyster-bar-shucks-franchise/ http://ashevilleblog.com/biltmore-village-oyster-bar-shucks-franchise/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 15:19:39 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11470 A popular Asheville restaurant is shucking its franchise shell.

Formerly Virgola, local owners Steve and Nan Klein have parted ways with their franchise affiliation to become The Wine & Oyster, an independently-owned restaurant in Asheville’s flourishing culinary community.

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A popular Asheville restaurant is shucking its franchise shell.

Formerly Virgola, local owners Steve and Nan Klein have parted ways with their franchise affiliation to become The Wine & Oyster, an independently-owned restaurant in Asheville’s flourishing culinary community.

“We are locals and it is now a locally run, independent restaurant,” Steve said, who originally opened Virgola at 2 Hendersonville Road in Biltmore Station under the franchise in June of 2017.

Their new name, The Wine and Oyster, represents a new beginning for the location, the menu and for the Kleins.

“There is a lot of value in the change for us, and we hope in the community,” Steve said. “We have a lot of loyal customers and we want to continue to make this a warm cozy place for everyone to enjoy. We are maintaining our foundation, but building our own identity.”

To celebrate their grand re-opening, The Wine & Oyster is throwing a re-branding bash Wednesday, Feb. 14 with an evening of local music by Asheville’s own Jesse Barry, fine wines and of course, a feast of fresh raw oysters.

“We hope everyone can come out and celebrate with us,” said Steve. “The Village has been so supportive to us during this time and we are excited to have this opportunity
and look forward to our new beginnings.”

The decision to “unchain” Steve says, came because of the desire to create a restaurant more aligned with the independent spirit of the Asheville community.

“We wanted to be able to get more creative with our menu and offer more items that our customers request,” Steve said. “It gives us the flexibility to be able to adapt to the Asheville market, and make changes to wine and food menu that will be more attractive to customers.”

The current space, a 1,400-square foot eatery and bar, will for the most part remain the same.

However, The Wine & Oyster will expand on their menu, adding fresh ingredients and new items like flatbreads, olive and charcuterie plates and fresh salads. They also plan
to apply for a full liquor license and intend to feature whiskey from local distilleries and craft cocktails to compliment their extensive wine list.

As for the star of the sea, The Wine & Oyster will keep up to eight varieties of cold water oysters on their menu on any given day – in addition to a rotating menu of funky seasonal specials like Va Va Voom and Sex on the Beach oysters, a Valentine’s Day special.

“We wanted the ability to be more creative in the kitchen and this gives us that,” Steve said. “The food scene in Asheville is incredible and we want to be able to offer a menu
that matches that.”

For the locals and weekday visitors, they will begin weekly events and daily happy hour featuring $1 oyster of the day, shrimp cocktail for $9 (reg. $15) and your choice of three items from their charcuterie for only $15 (reg. $21).

As local business owners, they want to give back to the community. During the past few months, they have held fundraisers and donated to Habitat for Humanity, Manna Food Bank, and Caring for Children. Events are already scheduled this year to donate a percentage of sales to The Asheville Humane Society, Friends of the Smokies, the Jewish Secular Community of Asheville (JSCA) and other local charities.

“We want to give back,” Nan said. “It is something we are both very passionate about and we look forward to more opportunities to partner with many more organizations throughout our community.”

The Wine & Oyster is open daily from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Mon – Thurs.; and 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening. For more information visit www.thewineandoyster.com or call 828-676-2700.

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Asheville Restaurant Week Jan 15-26 2018 http://ashevilleblog.com/asheville-restaurant-week-jan-15-26-2018/ http://ashevilleblog.com/asheville-restaurant-week-jan-15-26-2018/#respond Thu, 28 Dec 2017 16:38:58 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11357 In its sixth year, Asheville Restaurant Week will take place over the course of 10 days during January 15-26, 2018 and kick-off with a reception at New Belgium Brewing on January 11 2018

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Asheville celebrates culinary scene with Asheville Restaurant Week, January 15-26, 2018

–Kick-off reception January 11–

In its sixth year, Asheville Restaurant Week will take place over the course of 10 days during January 15-26, 2018 and kick-off with a reception at New Belgium Brewing on January 11th.

The concept of Restaurant Week offers locals and tourists alike the opportunity to experience dining in a new or favorite restaurant. It offers the restaurants a promotion to offer patrons during an often shoulder-season timeframe, post-holiday. This year, participating restaurants have individually tailored their menus and prices for Asheville Restaurant Week to best fit their unique offerings and offer patrons a great Asheville Restaurant Week experience. With a variety of restaurants represented, Asheville Restaurant Week offers something for everyone.

The kick-off reception will feature great-tasting menu samples provided by featured Asheville Restaurant Week restaurants along with beer from New Belgium Brewing. Information will be provided on all participating Asheville Restaurant Week restaurants. Tickets are available online.

Participating restaurants include: Ambrozia Bar & Bistro, The Bull and Beggar, Cantina at Biltmore, Chestnut, Copper Crown, Corner Kitchen, Curate, Golden Fleece Slow Earth Kitchen, Hemingway’s Cuba, Isa’s Bistro, Karen Donatelli Bakery & Café, Laughing Seed Café, The Marketplace Restaurant, Nightbell, Pillar Kitchen, Posana, Red Stag Grill, Rezaz Pan Mediterranean, Roux, Ruth’s Chris Steak House Biltmore, Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro, Strada Italiano, Table, Twisted Laurel, Virgola Biltmore, White Labs Kitchen & tap, Wicked Weed Brewing and Woodfire Bar & Grille.

For updated information on participating restaurants, menu features and to make reservations, please visit www.AshevilleRestaurantWeek.com.

Asheville Restaurant Week is presented by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Western Carolina University and PSNC Energy, and sponsored by New Belgium Brewing, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville Radio Group, Allegra Asheville, Asheville Citizen-Times, iHeart Media, WLOS and WNC Magazine.

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member organization with more than 1,700 members. Chamber members collaborate with area organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Chamber is home to the Asheville Visitor Center which welcomes over 200,000 visitors per year.

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A Future Without Chocolate? Terrifying! http://ashevilleblog.com/a-future-without-chocolate-terrifying/ http://ashevilleblog.com/a-future-without-chocolate-terrifying/#comments Sun, 15 Oct 2017 16:19:53 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11263 Just in time for Halloween, “A Future Without Chocolate? Terrifying!” includes chocolate tastings, discussions with a climate scientist, and film clips from an upcoming documentary on chocolate.

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The Collider addresses climate change and chocolate at Oct. 24 movie night presented by Oskar Blues

Just in time for Halloween, “A Future Without Chocolate? Terrifying!” includes chocolate tastings, discussions with a climate scientist, and film clips from an upcoming documentary on chocolate

The Collider’s monthly movie night, presented by Oskar Blues Brewery and featuring films related to climate and the environment, takes on a different flavor in October with a special presentation on chocolate.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, in a pre-Halloween program titled, “A Future Without Chocolate? Terrifying!” the nonprofit innovation center focused on climate solutions will screen clips from the documentary, “Setting The Bar: A Craft Chocolate Origin Story.

The film follows a group of craft-chocolate makers, including Asheville’s French Broad Chocolates, as they venture into the Peruvian jungle to strengthen direct relationships with farmer communities and identify new kinds of cacao to bring to market.

Attendees will have the opportunity to sample single-origin chocolates while a local climate scientist and representatives of French Broad Chocolates discuss the natural environment the chocolates are produced in, to include climate, soil and topography.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the program begins at 7. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $10 per person or $20 per family. Popcorn and a selection of Oskar Blues craft beers will also be provided. Due to limited space, early arrival is encouraged.

The Collider is located at 1 Haywood St., on the top floor of the Wells Fargo building in downtown Asheville at Pritchard Park. Access to the building for evening events is through the glass door facing Patton Ave., around the corner from the ATM machine.

About The Collider

The Collider is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, non-advocacy innovation center focused on catalyzing solutions for the problems of climate change. Located in the heart of downtown “Climate City,” Asheville, N.C., The Collider offers cowork, business, and event space in addition to providing memberships, education, internships, sponsorships, and public opportunities to “collide.” In March 2018 The Collider is spearheading a new conference on the business of climate, ClimateCon 2018, aiming to address the opportunities for innovative solutions for climate change. More info on The Collider is available at thecollider.org. Follow The Collider on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Oskar Blues Brewery

Founded by Dale Katechis in 1997 in Lyons, Colorado, Oskar Blues Brewery launched the craft beer-in-a-can apocalypse with hand-canned, flagship brew Dale’s Pale Ale. Today, Oskar Blues is one of the fastest growing breweries in the country and operates breweries in Longmont, Colorado, Brevard, North Carolina, and Austin, Texas while producing 200,884 barrels in 2016. The original canned craft brewery continues to push innovation with the opening of its Austin, Texas brewery and creations like The Crowler and Hotbox Coffee Roasters. Oskar Blues is available in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., parts of Canada, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Spain, Chile, the Netherlands, Belgium, the U.K. and Australia.


 

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Benevolent Spirits: Houston Hurricane Harvey http://ashevilleblog.com/benevolent-spirits-houston-hurricane-harvey/ http://ashevilleblog.com/benevolent-spirits-houston-hurricane-harvey/#respond Sat, 02 Sep 2017 01:01:58 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11209 Heirloom Hospitality Group has organized an effort among the Asheville food and beverage community to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

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Heirloom Hospitality Group has organized an effort among the Asheville food and beverage community to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

The fundraiser, called “Benevolent Spirits: Houston” and starting today, September 1 through September 7, will donate all proceeds from select drinks served at participating Asheville bars, restaurants and coffee shops to the Harvey relief fund at The Greater Houston Community Foundation, The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the Houston Food Bank. 

Cúrate will have one drink special and Nightbell will have two (exact names TBD) that guests can order to help support the cause. Donation envelopes will also be available for direct contributions.

Owners have pledged to donate proceeds from drink specials to three charities:

Particpating venues (list will be updated):

The Chocolate Fetish doesn’t sell drinks, so they’re donating proceeds from sales of their chocolate cowboy boots this week, as well as matching employee donations.

In addition to this program, Asheville restaurants are helping in other ways. Vinnie’s is donating 15% of proceeds from a select night. The Cantina owner Anthony Coggiola is heading to the Houston area to work with his past colleagues in Texas law enforcement to set up refuge for families of the responders.

Visit one of these participating venues, and raise a glass to help Houston and surrounding areas!

benevolent-spirits

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Looking Glass Creamery Welcomes Sean Stanley http://ashevilleblog.com/looking-glass-creamery-welcomes-sean-stanley/ http://ashevilleblog.com/looking-glass-creamery-welcomes-sean-stanley/#respond Tue, 11 Jul 2017 22:28:12 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11144 Looking Glass Creamery has hired Sean Stanley as Retail Manager for the growing, and soon to be expanded, Cheese Shop at the company’s original Fairview location. For the past seven years, Sean has been with Whole Foods Market across the Southeast, working in cheese, beer and wine. In 2014, he was designated an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional ™, one of only 740 worldwide. Stanley brings with him an extensive knowledge of cheese varieties, origins, and styles and a passion for working with people. “Throughout my career, the overriding motivator has been building meaningful relationships with guests, and sharing the joy that comes from eating great food.” When Sean isn’t behind the counter in the cheese shop he will be helping with cheese production and streamlining processes and procedures in all areas of the business. “I’m so excited to be working with a group of people that represents what’s great about American cheese making: hard work, preservation of tradition, and enthusiasm about sharing what they do every day.”

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sean stanley
Sean Stanley of Looking Glass Creamery

Looking Glass Creamery has hired Sean Stanley as Retail Manager for the growing, and soon to be expanded, Cheese Shop at the company’s original Fairview location. For the past seven years, Sean has been with Whole Foods Market across the Southeast, working in cheese, beer and wine. In 2014, he was designated an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional ™, one of only 740 worldwide. Stanley brings with him an extensive knowledge of cheese varieties, origins, and styles and a passion for working with people. “Throughout my career, the overriding motivator has been building meaningful relationships with guests, and sharing the joy that comes from eating great food.” When Sean isn’t behind the counter in the cheese shop he will be helping with cheese production and streamlining processes and procedures in all areas of the business. “I’m so excited to be working with a group of people that represents what’s great about American cheese making: hard work, preservation of tradition, and enthusiasm about sharing what they do every day.”

Effective July 13th, the Cheese Shop hours at Looking Glass Creamery are being expanded. The shop will be open from 11am to 5pm Thursday through Sunday. “Our goal in expanding the hours and adding Sunday is to give the Asheville community more opportunity to come enjoy the beautiful space and amazing experience we have just down the road,” says Stanley. In addition to the made-to-order cheese plates and retail goods currently featured, the shop will offer an expanded selection of wine and cider, local and southern products, and select guest cheeses from southern cheesemakers in its case.

Also, beginning in August, the renovated loft of the creamery will open for additional seating, as well as an educational and special event space. “Our tiny 250 square foot cheese shop just got a little less tiny.” says owner Jennifer Perkins. “It will still be the quaint, little cheese shop that our customers know and love but with a little more elbow room, a great view and private corners to enjoy a cheese plate even when it’s raining.” The space will also be used for intimate private events and small corporate receptions at the Creamery.

Starting in August, a regular series of classes will be held in the new space, revolving around cheese education, pairings, and beyond. Classes in the “First Friday” series will be held on the first Friday of every month from 6pm to 8pm. Buy tickets for LGC events at: http://ashevillecheese.brownpapertickets.com/ or visit the Store section of the company’s website. The first class in the series will be:

August 4th: Not Just for Curd Nerds: An Introduction to Cheese with Looking Glass Creamery

Long-time employee, Ashley Ioakimedes, will continue her role in the retail and production side of the business, but expand her responsibilities to include managing off-site events, tastings, and festivals. “I’m looking forward to bringing our products out into the world a little more, and teaming up with some of the immensely talented food and drink companies we are lucky to have in this area” says Ashley. The company will be working with local breweries, wineries, and food producers to put together some innovative events, tastings, and pairings around Asheville and in WNC. The next off-site event will be:

Aug 14th: Noble Cider and Looking Glass Cheese (at Noble Cider) featuring Ashley Ioakimedes.
Tickets available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3034432

Looking Glass Creamery is a small, family cheesemaking operation started in 2009 by husband and wife team, Jennifer & Andy Perkins. The company makes fresh to aged cow milk cheeses as well as caramel from the milk of their pasture based herd in Columbus, NC. Their original location is open to the public from 11am to 5pm every Thursday through Sunday at 59 Noble Rd in Fairview, NC. The company has garnered national recognition and awards by the American Cheese Society & Good Food Awards and numerous regional and national publications. Find their products at the best restaurants and retailers in WNC & beyond.

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Beer & Chocolate Pairing at Catawba Brewing http://ashevilleblog.com/beer-chocolate-pairing-catawba-brewing/ http://ashevilleblog.com/beer-chocolate-pairing-catawba-brewing/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 17:42:11 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11115 Catawba Brewing extends the Independence Day celebration with another edition of their popular Beer & Chocolate Pairing on Wednesday, July 5. This event pairs four specialty Catawba beers with chocolate in Catawba's South Slope Rickhouse bar under the crystal chandeliers. Guests will smell, sniff, chew-melt, and sip in an interactive exploration with their tablemates under the expert guidance of Crawford Rizor, Head Chocolate Producer of the South Slope's favorite chocolate factory - The French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Catawba's Certified Cicerones will collaborate with these experts of edible art to select beers that elevate the pairings beyond the sum of their parts.

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Catawba Brewing extends the Independence Day celebration with another edition of their popular Beer & Chocolate Pairing on Wednesday, July 5. This event pairs four specialty Catawba beers with chocolate in Catawba’s South Slope Rickhouse bar under the crystal chandeliers. Guests will smell, sniff, chew-melt, and sip in an interactive exploration with their tablemates under the expert guidance of Crawford Rizor, Head Chocolate Producer of the South Slope’s favorite chocolate factory – The French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Catawba’s Certified Cicerones will collaborate with these experts of edible art to select beers that elevate the pairings beyond the sum of their parts.

For tickets, please visit:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beer-chocolate-pairing-tickets-35378422815?aff=eac2

Who: Catawba Brewing and French Broad Chocolates 

What: Chocolate and beer pairing

When: July 5th, 2017 at 7 PM

Where: 32 Banks Ave, Asheville

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Looking Glass Creamery Expanding http://ashevilleblog.com/looking-glass-creamery-expanding/ http://ashevilleblog.com/looking-glass-creamery-expanding/#respond Mon, 01 May 2017 17:10:22 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=11048 Looking Glass Creamery, owned by Jennifer & Andy Perkins, is expanding production and building a new facility with underground cheese aging caves in the agricultural heart of Polk County, NC. Their existing facility located in Fairview, NC will also be renovated to offer more retail and food service options and improved parking. The new cheesemaking operation will add to the burgeoning agricultural economy in Polk County and fit well alongside the numerous vineyards, five wineries, diversified vegetable operations, and livestock farms already thriving in the area. The new facility will be located on the historic Harmon Dairy, a second generation cow dairy run by brothers, Doug and Alan Harmon. 

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Looking Glass Creamery, owned by Jennifer & Andy Perkins, is expanding production and building a new facility with underground cheese aging caves in the agricultural heart of Polk County, NC. Their existing facility located in Fairview, NC will also be renovated to offer more retail and food service options and improved parking. The new cheesemaking operation will add to the burgeoning agricultural economy in Polk County and fit well alongside the numerous vineyards, five wineries, diversified vegetable operations, and livestock farms already thriving in the area. The new facility will be located on the historic Harmon Dairy, a second generation cow dairy run by brothers, Doug and Alan Harmon. 

Dawn Jordan, Director of the Polk County Office of Agricultural Economic Development, believes that the new cheesemaking facility is a perfect complement to the growing number of agritourism offerings in Polk. “The expansion of Looking Glass Creamery and the preservation of Harmon Dairy is exactly the type of agricultural operation we are looking to support in Polk County. Preserving our verdant farmland through value added processes, while supporting small family operations, represents the character and place making set forth by Polk County in its 20/20 Vision Plan adopted in 2010.” 

Harmon Dairy is a 226 acre farm originally purchased in three parcels by Doug & Alan’s father in 1947. In 2013, the brothers placed the farm, as a whole, under an agricultural conservation easement to keep it intact so that it could never be subdivided and would be protected from development in perpetuity.  The Harmon brothers were committed to seeing the farm continue as a working farm after their retirement and felt that adding on-farm processing of the milk into cheese was a viable way to accomplish that goal.  Looking Glass Creamery has been looking at expansion options for two years trying to find the right location for their vision and growth. After 8 months of negotiations, an agreement has been reached that will fulfill the needs of everyone involved.  

Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF) is providing the funds for the construction of the new cheesemaking facility which is scheduled to start as soon as permitting allows and is projected to take 6-9 months to complete. NCIF is a business loan fund that provides debt financing to small and emerging businesses. They have a focus on entrepreneurs and enterprises that are good stewards of natural resources.  “I am so grateful to have played a role in helping Jen and Andy bring their expansion dream to life, one that has such positive impact for the larger community. This is entrepreneurial conservation at its best!”, stated Erika McGilley, Western North Carolina Regional Lender. 

During the construction phase the Harmons have agreed to mentor the Perkins on the farm, training them on the daily operations of the milking parlor and in pasture and herd management. The Harmons will continue to own and operate the dairy until the creamery is operational. Once the construction of the creamery is completed and cheesemaking has commenced at the new facility, Looking Glass Creamery will take over all operations of the dairy. “We feel so fortunate that the Harmons have the vision, patience and commitment to the land and their broader community to protect this farm and find a way for it to grow with respect for the past but with an eye to the future.” says co-owner Andy Perkins. It is a rare situation where two unrelated families can cooperate in pursuit of shared goals that address preservation of agricultural traditions, sharing knowledge, growing a business, farmland preservation and transferring land ownership.

The move will enable Looking Glass Creamery to expand production, improve their affinage and allow them to tell the whole story of the farm and their cheeses from the cow to the customer. The company will host culinary events and dinners that are centered around the farm, the dairy and the cheese made on the property. Visitors to the farm will be able to see the production floor through a picture window to watch the cheese making process and peek into an aging cave.  Looking Glass will be adding ice cream and several varieties of blue cheese to their regular product line. A farm store will be added later to the Polk County facility where visitors can purchase cheese and other products made on the farm. Once the production is re-located to Polk County, the company’s original location in Fairview, NC will be renovated and the hours of operation will be expanded. The renovations will include an enlarged retail area, additional seating, light food service, and a small classroom space. Their original location is already a popular, off-the-beaten-path destination for locals and visitors to the area. 

“We have been blessed with this opportunity but with that blessing comes a lot of uncertainty and new responsibilities. It is our customers, independent restaurants and retailers that have made us successful over the past 9 years. As we grow new roots in Polk County, we look forward to sharing the farm and the cheesemaking process with our long-time supporters and develop new ones in Polk County, Greenville, and Charlotte too, “ says co-owner Jennifer Perkins.  

Many people, businesses and entities contributed to the evolution of this endeavor.  Looking Glass Creamery would like to say a special thanks to our families and friends, our employees, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Austin CPA, Bryan C. Young, the Branan Law Firm, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Growing Rural Opportunities, Natural Capital Investment Fund, North Carolina Department of Agriculture, North Carolina Department of Commerce, Polk County Soil & Water District, Polk County Economic Development and Agricultural Economic Development Offices, our dear friend Ken, and the vision of Doug & Alan Harmon. 

Looking Glass Creamery is a small, family run cheesemaking operation which was started in 2009 by husband and wife team, Jennifer & Andy Perkins.  The company makes fresh to aged cheeses and caramel sauce from cow’s milk. Looking Glass Creamery has garnered regional and national recognition for their product line including awards by the American Cheese Society and the Good Food Awards.  They operate a cheese shop at their original location in Fairview, NC which is open Thursdays 1pm-5pm, Friday & Saturdays 11am to 5pm.  Their product line is available at the best restaurants and retailers in Western North Carolina. Distribution in NC and regionally is available through Cornucopia Cheese & Specialty Foods and Cheney Brothers.

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Tea-Beer & Biscuits: Twin Leaf hosts “Elevenses” Release Party http://ashevilleblog.com/tea-beer-biscuits-twin-leaf-hosts-elevenses-release-party/ http://ashevilleblog.com/tea-beer-biscuits-twin-leaf-hosts-elevenses-release-party/#respond Tue, 07 Mar 2017 13:47:12 +0000 http://ashevilleblog.com/?p=10974 Twin Leaf Brewery, in collaboration with Asheville Tea Company, is excited to announce “Elevenses,” will hit the tap Saturday, April 1, with a very British-inspired release party.

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Twin Leaf Brewery, in collaboration with Asheville Tea Company, is excited to announce “Elevenses,” will hit the tap Saturday, April 1, with a very British-inspired release party.

“While other breweries were brewing oatmeal coffee breakfast stouts, we looked to Britain’s popular late morning snack of tea and biscuits,” said Tim Weber, owner of Twin Leaf Brewery.

Elevenses is infused the Asheville Tea Company’s Wild Earl tea, a blend of organic black tea, wild lavender bergamot flowers and bergamot essential oil.

“I am so excited for the upcoming release of the Elevenses beer,” said Jessie Dean, owner of Asheville Tea Company. “It makes perfect sense to me in Asheville to brew beer with tea, as it speaks to our city’s love of unique flavors and creative craft beverages. And, Twin Leaf and Asheville Tea Company share a passion for local sourcing, so it is a really fun collaboration.”

The English style bitter also features a good helping of biscuit malts and fresh lemon zest.

“After our first meeting with Jessie of Asheville Tea Company, we knew the time was right to finally brew this beer,” Weber said. “It’s very drinkable and refreshing. This is going to be a great beer to chat with friends and family over.”

Free tastings of Elevenses, Wild Earl tea, and of course, homemade biscuits will be on hand for the release party. Pints of beer and pots of tea will also be available for purchase.

Fancy a pint? Elevenses Release Party kicks off Saturday, April 1 from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Twin Leaf Brewery on the South Slope. Follow Twin Leaf Brewery and Asheville Tea Company on Facebook for more exciting news and details!

About Asheville Tea Company
Asheville Tea Company blends teas and locally-sourced, seasonal botanicals so you can enjoy a lovely cup of tea morning, noon and night. Steeped by our desire to bring “everyday tea culture” to Western North Carolina, founder Jessie Dean began her vision for Asheville Tea Company in 2015.  As a West Asheville mom and outdoor enthusiast, Jessie was on a mission to combine her love of a good cuppa with her passion for the local, unique ingredients of her home community of Asheville, NC. In partnering with local farmers and proprietors, Asheville Tea Company blends organic herbs, botanicals and small batch artisanal offerings to bring the flavors of Asheville into each of our handcrafted teas.

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