Two months ago I went to the Food Blog Forum, an amazing conference for food bloggers that was being held in my hometown of Asheville, NC. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since — all the things I learned. The wonderful people I met. And the food. There was exquisite and amazing food. Truly a foodie paradise. Here’s just a taste from my few days of paradise.
We were treated to a food tasting lunch at Highland Brewing where they had restaurants from around Asheville talking about their menus. Each table had a different sample. Every single table was amazing, and just simply too many to mention all of them here. Simply know that Asheville is a foodie town that doesn’t disappoint.
Top left is from Biscuit Head. It’s a fried chicken biscuit with sriracha slaw (you could eat just the slaw and walk away satisfied) and topped with nothing less than a piece of bacon. This is one of the most amazing breakfast spots in all of Asheville. It’s true that the biscuits are the size of cat heads. Everything I’ve ever had from there has been divine.
Next, are ribs from the place President Obama made famous with his more-then-once stop at 12 Bones. You must try their jalapeno cheese grits. Amazing. Just slightly spicy, but mild from the cheese. They are my favorite part about 12 Bones. Visitors take note: 12 Bones is only open for lunch. I know! It’s a crime, really. And, their River Arts District (near downtown) location is only open for lunch on the weekday. So, if you are visiting Asheville during a weekend and you insist on a 12 Bones stop, you can go to their south-side location for lunch on Saturday. Both restaurants are closed on Sunday.
They also had local vendors like the honey display from The Asheville Bee Charmer. So much of what we learned during the Food Blog Forum was about local food. Asheville is a great town for it.
And, of course, since it was at a brewery they were showcasing some of Highland’s craft beers. They were served in the cutest miniature beer glasses.
I saved my favorite for last in this part: salted honey caramels from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. It’s really hard to describe these amazing chocolates. Maybe it’s best to just tell you that I ate 3 of them, and I wanted more. I tried one and immediately went back for another. They are soft and chewy and are packed with rich caramel flavor. The sea salt is the perfect combination that throws the taste over the top. I had to get one more, you know, for the road — before the bus took us to our next stop. The Chocolate Lounge is a must stop on any trip to Asheville. Local tip: there is usually a long line out the door so plan ahead — it’s well worth the wait! Oh, and you must, must, must try one of their liquid truffles. It’s tiny, but share it with a friend because it’s so decadent that a few sips and you’ll die and go to Heaven. Amen.
Next was a tour of the Hickory Nut Gap Farm. It’s a local farm that offers grass-feed and antibiotic-free beef and other meats. We hoofed it up the hill to meet the lady cows who were having their afternoon stroll.And, then we stopped at a local creamery, Looking Glass Creamery. They make cheese and caramel. Inside this barn is where the magic happens.
After a lovely tour, the bus came back to bring us back to the hotel. At the last second, I jumped back into the creamery and bought this cheese. Look at how creamy, and gooey it is. It’s perfectly lovely. We sampled this and I couldn’t get enough. Kind of like the salted caramels from earlier in the day. I had to remind myself this was a sample. You don’t pig out on samples. So, I purchased a $10 block of this cheese and brought it home to share with those less fortunate souls who weren’t invited to this creamery tour (i.e. my husband). The cheese is aptly named, Elllington. It’s sophisticated, dreamy, and memorable.
Next Friday I’ll take you behind the scenes of The Biltmore House. We had the pleasure of being hosted by Biltmore and got quite the royal treatment.
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