Small bites: Blue Ridge Food Ventures 2016 Holiday Market

HOLIDAY CHEER: Sadie's Caribbean Fish Cakes was one of the many food businesses that participated in the 2015 Holiday Market at Blue Ridge Food Ventures. This year's market takes place Saturday, Dec. 3, at BRFV's facility on Sand Hill Road in Candler.
HOLIDAY CHEER: Sadie's Caribbean Fish Cakes was one of the many food businesses that participated in the 2015 Holiday Market at Blue Ridge Food Ventures. This year's market takes place Saturday, Dec. 3, at BRFV's facility on Sand Hill Road in Candler. Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Food Ventures

“Obviously, Asheville has tremendous restaurants,” says Michael McDonald, the client services manager at Blue Ridge Food Ventures. “But we also have this tremendous food manufacturing capacity that a lot of people just don’t know about.”

At this year’s Blue Ridge Food Ventures’ Holiday Market, local vendors offer guests a variety of items from hot sauce to chocolates, cookbooks to skin care products. Vendors include Cara Mae Skincare, Farmer and Chef, Farmer Jane Soap, Sow True Seeds, Virgin Oils, Animal Haven, Postre Caramels, Munki Food, Crooked Condiments, Firewalker Hot Sauce Co., UliMana Chocolates, Medea’s Cafe, Coconut Organics, Asheville Goods, Brittain Farms, Deli Bakery & Ice Cream Shop, West Bros Hot Sauce, Asheville Tea Co., Dolce de Maria, Steve Schearer Woodworking, Imladris Farms, Ally’s Bar and Well Seasoned Table.

“It’s an opportunity for people to come and shop and spend their money locally,” says McDonald. He notes that for many guests, the holiday market provides a one-stop shop to load up on gifts and stocking stuffers. The market also provides build-your-own gift boxes for those looking to give family and friends a broader sample of local goods.

In addition to gifts, McDonald sees the event as a way to highlight the various types of items produced in Western North Carolina. “The entrepreneurial spirit in this town is so tremendous,” he says. “I hope people walk away with a great respect for the sheer number of people and number of products that are made in the area.”

Blue Ridge Food Ventures’ 2016 Holiday Market runs 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1461 Sand Hill Road, Candler. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit blueridgefoodventures.org.

Bone broth with Sheefra Blumenthal

Sheefra Blumenthal‘s Tuesday, Dec. 6, workshop at Villagers will teach participants about the health benefits of bone broth. The class will offer samples of different bone broths at various stages of simmering as well. Attendees will leave with handouts and recipes.

Bone Broth with Sheefra Blumenthal runs 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at Villagers, 278 Haywood Road. Tickets are $15-$30, sliding scale, and are available at avl.mx/36c.

Left Brain/Right Brain: an extrasensory dining experience

Buxton Hall Barbecue will host Left Brain/Right Brain, an unusual pop-up concept billed as “an extrasensory dining experience,” on Wednesday, Dec. 7, in its upstairs Remington Room. The six-course meal will feature local chefs Ashley Capps and Jessica Rosenkoetter of Buxton Hall, Travis Shultz, Dave Bauer and Becky Bronson of All Souls Pizza and David Henley Kane of Rhubarb. In a press release, the event is described as “science fair meets circus.” It goes on to note that the first half of the dinner will focus on the left hemisphere of the human brain, with “monochromatic, linear, edgy, simple and clean dishes and cocktails.” The latter half of the evening will cater to the right side, with colorful and creative dishes.

Left Brain/Right Brain begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at The Remington Room of Buxton Hall, 32 Banks Ave. Tickets are $50. Gratuity is not included. Cash bar. For tickets, visit leftbrainrightbrain.splashthat.com.

Gypsy Queen Cuisine serves brunch

On Sunday, Dec. 4, Gypsy Queen Cuisine will begin serving Sunday brunch. The restaurant’s founder, Suzy Salwa Phillips, says the Middle Eastern and North African menu items will offer unique flavors and plates that are not available anywhere else in town. Shakshuka is two eggs cooked in tomato and pepper sauce, topped with fresh herbs, feta cheese and cured olives. Gypsy biscuits and gravy is a fresh interpretation of the Southern classic, with creamy lamb sausage poured over scratch-made biscuits with local greens salad, or batata harra. Baklava French toast is prepared with house-made baklava brioche and accented with candied walnuts, bruléed oranges and maple syrup. “I’m really excited about the whole menu,” Phillips says. “It’s not your usual brunch items.”

Gypsy Queen Cuisine is at 807 Patton Ave. Brunch service will be available every Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. starting Sunday, Dec. 4. For more information and the full brunch menu, visit gypsyqueencuisine.com

Le Bon Cafe and Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen

Coffee truck Le Bon Cafe now offers drive-thru beverage service in the parking lot of Arden’s Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen, 6:30-9:30 a.m. Monday-Friday. Le Bon Cafe specializes in organic coffees, teas and espresso drinks. It also offers a variety of breakfast goods.

Ivory Road Cafe & Kitchen is at 1854 Brevard Road. For details, visit avl.mx/36e

National Geographic highlights Asheville’s food scene

National Geographic covered Asheville’s food scene in a recent article titled “A Food Lover’s Guide to Asheville.” The piece, written by Andrew Evans, highlights a number of the city’s restaurants, bars, cafes and bakeries. In it, Evans writes: “Asheville — whose food scene is affectionately known by locals as Foodtopia — simply tastes good, and best of all, every bite is personal. The culinary art scene meets adventuresome eating meets Southern hospitality all make this city a dining destination worth visiting.” The article can be found in its entirety at avl.mx/36d.

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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