Asheville, North Carolina – local, homegrown & handmade

by on July 1, 2009

asheville-north carolina

Have you ever dreamt of a place where the soil was lush and fertile? Where the sounds and sights of nature wrap you up in it’s peaceful beauty, and then upon further exploration you find that this magical realm’s people are even more beautiful than it’s landscape. A place where the inspiring beauty of the residents is then exceeded by their charm, warmth, and talent. And this talent is frequently directed towards producing some of the best feasting fare and whistle wetters you have ever had.  We had thought that scenario could only be realized in a novel or a myth, then we discovered Asheville.

Dodie Stephens of ashevilletravel, or more properly known as the Public Relations Manager for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, arranged for a  Culinary Blogger Bash through their local FoodtopianSociety.  She invited Alison of Humble Gourmand, Tami of Running with Tweezers, and Jaden of Steamy Kitchen to experience the culinary wonders of Asheville, North Carolina.

Jaden, being the sexy food goddess that she is, cast off her family from the trip and arranged for a few other lucky bloggers to be thrown into the mix.  Helen of Tartelette, Brian of The Food Geek, and of course, lucky us (I finally got to be included on one of Diane’s trips!  I promised to be on my best behavior) now had arrangements to explore Asheville, North Carolina.

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Dodie had beautifully arranged for a culinary packed few days, however this utopia wasn’t limited to our excursions.  She had arranged for us to stay at the incredible Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa. It was here, in their 4-Diamond restaurant Horizons, that for one evening our whole group was treated to a meal that was one of the best of either my or Diane’s life.

Although we arrived a day later than most of the gang and had missed the first day’s feasting and exploring, it felt like you could explore Asheville’s culinary scene for years and still not touch upon everything.  It would be easy to rattle on about Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountain’s scenic beauty and local attractions for days, however that is what guidebooks are for.  We want to share what completely made us fall in love with Asheville.

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What truly was Asheville’s most endearing quality were her people and their love for food and drink.  Especially when those crafted belly-goods came from within their own community.  Asheville is striving towards becoming that pure ideal where nearly everything is grown, raised, or made locally and with great care and excellence.  From the homegrown locals, to the imported residents, Asheville’s food love has garnered an unbelievable range of phenomenally talented people and with a community that supports it, and they are thriving.

We fell in love them them all and their stories and over the next few days we will be sharing the stories of some of the extraordinary people we were lucky enough to meet and hope you will fall in love with them as well.

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So over the next week or two, we’ll begin our latest travel series, this time focused on Asheville, North Carolina and her wonderful farmers, artisans, ranchers, food producers and Chefs:

-Todd

Follow us on Twitter- @WhiteOnRice

If you like our little travel adventures and haven’t seen the posts on some of our previous gallivanting, check out our other travel essay series:

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ravenous Couple July 1, 2009 at 2:40 am

Adventures of food bloggers…can’t wait to read these as they come out!

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2 Victoria July 1, 2009 at 3:15 am

What a lovely post. And I absolutely adore your new banner.

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3 The Italian Dish July 1, 2009 at 4:48 am

Boy, what a great trip! I used to live in North Carolina and love that beautiful area. I can’t wait to see your future posts on this.

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4 Foodwoolf July 1, 2009 at 8:58 am

Gulp. What a delicious trip. The gorgeous photos make me wish I could have gone! The vibrant greenery, beautiful summer-craved faces and delicious plates of artisan food make me want to hop a plane and get down to Ashville sooner than later!

Can’t wait to read more!
Brooke

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5 White on Rice Couple July 1, 2009 at 9:13 am

Ravenous Couple – Yes, it was an amazing food adventure for all! We’ll have them up as soon as we can.

Victoria- Thank you. It’s the lovely people of Asheville that really made the post.

The Italian Dish- How lucky you were to live so close by! It is just gorgeous and delicious there.

FoodWoolf- Whatcha waiting for?? Let’s all get tickets and get down to Asheville for another bash!

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6 veron July 1, 2009 at 9:53 am

sounds like a wonderful trip! Looks like a foodie paradise alright!

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7 Gastronomer July 1, 2009 at 10:03 am

The South is so very charming! Can’t wait to see your Asheville culinary journey unfold.

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8 Loquin July 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

I used to live just south of there, would go up to Asheville all the time (my mom and sister both later lived in Asheville proper). You’re making me homesick!

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9 Jen Yu July 1, 2009 at 11:15 am

What a trip! And so happy that Todd could go too (did pups stay with D’s bro?). Very glad you got to meet Helen as I consider you three very dear friends. She raves about you both (who wouldn’t?). Asheville is a charming location. I’ve only ever explored the mountains and a local inn, but your trip shows just how deep and rich the culinary culture is over there. They ought to employ you on the tourism council :) xxoo

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10 Paula Maack July 1, 2009 at 11:21 am

Todd, I am so glad you got to go this time!! And, what stunning photos, Diane!! :)

This is such a lovely and heartfelt post. You and Diane just seem like the sweetest couple. I love your stories, and especially the ones where you join up with fellow bloggers. Your big hearts and warm personalities completely outshine the food in these posts, and it is wonderful to experience.

It is extra cool that you two ride tandem like Tony and I. I now think of you guys whenever Tony and I head out on the bike.

We have been dreaming about a motorcycle trip down the eastern seaboard to experience the various food specialties and fall colors. Now, you guys have us excited about Ashville as a definite must see and do. I am looking forward to reading more about your wonderful North Carolina trip. Thank you for sharing!!

Cheers,

~ Paula

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11 Lynn (The Actors Diet) July 1, 2009 at 11:58 am

Have heard great things about Asheville! Can’t wait to visit one day.

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12 cheffresco July 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I love this post! My Dad’s from Asheville & I grew up 45 minutes from there, so it’s like my second home. Highland is my favorite brewery and we may get married at Biltmore next year :) I’m glad you guys had such a good time there!

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13 No-L July 1, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Beautiful! I can’t wait to read all about it. I’ve only been to Asheville once, to the Montreat Presbyterian Conference Center, but it was a lovely place. I know they like to keep things local.
I look forward to it!! And, coming from Cali to the green that is Western North Carolina was a LOVELY change!
Noelle

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14 Kim July 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm

I love Asheville. I had some of the best ribs and collard greens at a place called 12 Bones Smokehouse in the River Arts District. I wish I could have brought the whole restaurant back to Colorado with me!

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15 White on Rice Couple July 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Veron- Asheville is an awesome foodie paradise!

Gastronomer- We’ve got lot of stuff for you, thanks for checking back!

Louquin- Sorry to make you homesick, but it’s such a beautiful place to brag about!

Jen Yu- You’re too funny! Working for the Asheville tourism council would not be a bad day job at all!!

Paula- Great to hear that you guys ride tandem too! It’s a gorgeous place to ride, Todd kept talking about that when we were there. Maybe we’ll meet you on the road on day.

Lynn- Hope you do get out there, the food is amazing, and so fresh and healthy too.

Cheffresco- Awesome that you Dad is from there, how lucky he is.

No-L — Yes, Western North Carolina is a green and lovely place. That’s why the beautiful climate and lush valleys are perfect for farming.

Kim- Oh yes! 12 Bones was on our itinerary, but we didn’t have enough time. And of course, we were eating all day long, so no one had much appetite left. Next time!

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16 Cynthia July 1, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Todd, I am so glad you were in on the trip! :)

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17 Marc @ NoRecipes July 1, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Wow cool! You guys are so lucky:-) I’m always looking for foodie friendly places off the beaten path like this (especially in my time zone), so I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of your posts on Asheville.

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18 Manggy July 2, 2009 at 5:55 am

Now now Todd, what mischief could you possibly be able to commit while on a joyride with Diane? Ha ha ha. Looking forward to the rest of the series!

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19 Phoo-D July 2, 2009 at 7:58 am

Oh this is so exciting! I can’t wait to hear the rest of your stories. I will be headed to the Grove Park Inn in a few months for work and have been trying to talk Mr. B into going with me ahead of time to spend the weekend exploring. Your gorgeous photos should definitely help me convince him!

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20 Sherida (@Foodtopia) July 2, 2009 at 8:30 am

Such beautiful photography! I cannot wait to see the rest of the your Asheville photos. You’ve given me a new appreciation for my hometown!

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21 Irene July 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Ooooh such pretty photos! Looks like you guys had a wonderful time in a wonderful city! Looking forward to the stories.

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22 Bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) July 4, 2009 at 6:08 am

Nothing like homemade ketchup. Growing up in Lebanon during the war, certain things were not always available. This post reminds me of when my father would get the spoilt tomatoes together from the farm and make ketchup in a HUGE pot. Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing :)

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23 Michelle July 6, 2009 at 5:36 am

I can’t click away from the photo of that soup … it looks worth the trip in itself!
Beautiful photos and wonderful site — thanks so much for sharing with the rest of us!

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24 kellypea November 22, 2009 at 5:48 am

What a lot of fun! I’ve not been there before, but am planning a road trip next summer so will add it to our list of possibilities — it sounds like a great place for foodies.

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25 Jean January 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm

mmmm… i love western nc – Ashville, Black Mountain and Montreat. We go just about every summer – and now we have some new places to try! yum…

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26 michael@Asheville UsedMotorcycles February 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm

i agree with you Jean. I just love western nc. great post!Asheville Used Motorcycles

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