So I recently spent three days in Ashevile, North Carolina, and I came back STUFFED. Ahhh, what incredible food. And I should have expected it -- I was there with the Eat Write Retreat folks, and knowing how very very full I was after their event last May, I should've known we'd be indulging in the same way for this event too.
Oh, how we indulged.
This was a butternut squash "cannelloni" stuffed with goat cheese, part of an extensive chef's tasting we enjoyed at Biltmore Estate as our very first event. We then took a quick tour through the Tiffany exhibit on the grounds, and headed back to the Bistro for dinner. So we started out with overindulgence, and continued straight on through the weekend in the same way.
Next morning, we met up at Early Girl Eatery for breakfast and a discussion of good photography principles -- but don't judge the workshop based on my results here. I was experimenting with my brand-new iPhone camera. Point and click with very little nuance, here.
But man, those were some seriously good pancakes.
I also got to meet individually with each blogger in attendance -- I'd evaluated their blogs in advance and given them each a printout of what I considered the strengths and weaknesses of their writing, as well as a writing assignment for the weekend. They were all receptive and interested in stretching their skills. What a great group.
Then, we actually went to see some things that weren't food! Yet.
We toured around Hickory Nut Gap Farm, getting a good look at the chickens, calves, pigs, and turkeys. One of my favorites was the little Ossabaw-cross spotted pig, visible on the left back here:
Midday Saturday I laid off the photography for a while and just enjoyed -- first, for lunch at Market Place, and then our incredible midafternoon chocolate tasting at French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Here was our little sampler intended as a take-home gift from French Broad. In my case, it at least made it all the way to the airport with me, but I opened the box to sample one truffle and ended up eating all six before boarding the plane. Oops?
Saturday ended with a little wine-and-cheese action at Sante, then dinner at Carmel's. With more wine. Lots of wine.
Sunday we kicked off with breakfast at True Confections, and then a really neat exploration of something I'd never seen before -- a food-business incubator space, this one at Blue Ridge Food Ventures. People making everything from hot sauce to kombucha to spice blends in a shared kitchen and storage space -- a great way to encourage local entrepreneurship and help people get started in a way that doesn't involve them having to get their home kitchens certified for food prep.
We all fell in love with this stuff:
Then, we played around a bit more with photography:
And then it was time to... you guessed it... eat.
Our final meal was lunch at the truly delicious Curate, and yes, we ate all those things, plus a whole bunch of others... I couldn't even get the whole menu in one shot. And then I spilled a big smear of chocolate on it. So, things ended well. At least I got a decent snap of the piquillos, which were out of this world.
Asheville: I'll be back.