The Blue Ridge Binge is Coming...

Kinsey Gidick

Asheville Wine + Food


As a general rule I immediately bark “YES!” any time the question “Can you cover…” emits from an editor’s mouth. This charming Tourettes-ian habit has resulted in many a weird assignment—that time I interviewed a local Esperanto enthusiast who kept shouting, “See, there are no irregular verbs!"; a road trip to a hidden valley Vermont village (light on ranch dressing, heavy on hoop skirts) where a wild Friday night was spent contra dancing; and then of course there was the piece on the drug Meow Meow (resulting tagline: Bad Kitty: The new club drug meow meow isn't so purrfect. In fact, it might make you tear off your balls.”).


But sometimes my over-eagerness strikes pay dirt, i.e. next week’s road trip to North Carolina for the Asheville Wine + Food Festival (August 22-24).


Our friendly neighbors to the north may love themselves some bluegrass and white boy dreadlocks more than we can begin to understand, but what we have in common is an appreciation for cuisine the likes of which is putting the Carolinas on the culinary map.


Wicked Weed Brewing/Ask Asheville


Launched in 2009, the Asheville Wine + Food Festival is a showcase of the mountain region’s bounty. Events include an Elixir night full of craft cocktail fun. Now, don’t you be getting uppity Charleston, we’re not the only booze hounds around. North Carolina now has seven distilleries including Asheville’s own Troy & Sons Moonshine and a sake operation, Blue Kudzu Sake Co., too. Sadly, my humble Ford Escape won’t be arriving until Friday morning thus missing the libations. But, don’t worry, I promise to double my efforts once there, cheerfully visiting Jack of the Woods, Wicked Weed Brewing, Thirsty Monk, Sazerac, Battery Park Book Exchange Champagne Bar, and more.





French Bread Chocolates


Friday boasts "A Decadent Evening of Desserts" at their Sweets event hosted in the Art Deco Grove Arcade. I’m hoping to meet Dan and Jael Rattigan, owners of French Broad Chocolates. After winning them over, I’ll secure a private tour of their factory, we’ll laugh, share hot cocoa, and then I’ll barricade the doors and take them captive until they promise me free chocolate for life. (Which reminds me, note to self: don’t forget to pack duct tape, crowbar, and dog-eared copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People.)


Where was I?


Asheville Wine + Food


Ah yes, Saturday, still sporting truffle-stained teeth, I’ll venture to the Grand Tasting at the U.S. Cellular Center where the Festival website promises a cornucopia of  “area brewers, regional distillers, restaurateurs and chefs, farmers, and food producers.” Keeping in mind the hungry ranks who swarm the Grand Tasting Tent  at our own Charleston Wine + Food Festival, I plan to come prepared for a crowd. Lord help the attendee who cuts in front of me at the artisan cheese table. I didn’t get Best Marquette Middle School Rebounder for nothing. All I’m saying is watch out for my boxout—don’t think I won’t go full court press on Goat Lady Dairy.



Asheville Cheese


Which is to say, after I’ve been released on bail for maiming a fellow cheese enthusiast, I’ll post all my adventures right here on Grit. So check back next weekend for my updates on Asheville Wine + Food Festival, or what I’m calling Operation: Blue Ridge Binge.


Or Cold Cut Mountain.


Or Into Medium Rare: a Jon Krakauer-esque Personal Account of the Grandfather Mountain Snack Attack.


Working titles, all of them. Headline to be decided.