ALL GROWN UP: The Hop’s house-made ice pops — or Hopsicles — which debuted last winter, now offer an iteration that caters to grown-ups with the addition of Urban Orchard Cider Co.’s hard-cider products.

Small bites: Hard-cider ice pops from Urban Orchard and The Hop

Urban Orchard’s specialty ciders are used by The Hop to make several frozen treats; Foothills Meats has added another business partner and announced a CSA with meat and house-made deli products in addition to expanding into Charlotee; MG Road will host a wintery dining experience with the help of guest chef James Grogan; and MetroWines donates a portion of select sales to combat muscular dystrophy.

IN THE INN: Executive Chef Casey Maness, right, landed in Western North Carolina in 2010 with experience from numerous restaurant positions and four years cooking in the Coast Guard. Her forthcoming eatery, The Lantern — located inside Hendersonville's The Charleston Inn — is “meant to take you on a journey through Old Charleston, with Creole, Cajun and low country flavors.”  Maness is pictured with Charleston Inn Manager Tim Ross.

Small bites: The Lantern brings coastal flavors to Hendersonv­ille

A new restaurant is set to open at Hendersonville’s historic Charleston Inn; Metro Wines hosts a high-flying fundraiser for A-B Tech aviation scholarships; Buxton Hall Barbecue plans a late-night holiday dance party; Burial Beer works on a kitchen build-out for Salt & Smoke; and the Italian Cookie Lady hosts holiday truffle cake-pop parties.

CAN DO: Oskar Blues Brewery’s CAN’d Aid Foundation has offered $1.2 million in grants to quirky organizations since its inception two years ago. The underlying mission is to promote towns, active lifestyles, arts and the environment.

Small bites: Oskar Blues Big Money Chili-onaire cook-off promotes ‘do-goodery’

Oskar Blues’ CAN’d Aid Foundation is seeking competitive talents for its chili cook-off in Brevard. Meanwhile, FEAST and Asheville Middle School team up for a pie fundraiser; MetroWines’ Anita Riley invites two women behind Hi-Wire Brewing’s branding to the shop; Smiling Hara Tempeh’s Hempeh makes its way to grocery shelves; and Lex 18 hosts an Appalachian-themed evening.

SAY CHEESE: Katie Moore of the Cheese Store of Asheville is one of the organizers of the Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest. Xpress file photo

A cheesy affair: Movie and tasting event raises funds for Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest

With nearly a dozen local creameries in the area, quality, craft-made cheeses are in abundance in Asheville — something both the Cheese Store of Asheville and the WNC Cheese Trail are hoping to educate eaters about through the Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest on April 26. As a fundraiser for the festival, the Cheese Store of Asheville will host a cheese tasting and movie night this week at Metro Wines.

BOYS AND BEER: "When I was a kid, my parents had two auto body shops, and I have three older brothers. I am quite comfortable in a male-dominated field," says MetroWines' new beer specialist Anita Riley. Photo courtesy of Riley

Q&A with MetroWines’ womencentr­ic beer program pioneer Anita Riley

In Beer City, USA, even wine stores specialize in brews — at least MetroWines will upon launching into beer territory this month. Pioneered by local home brewer Anita Riley, the expansion will feature an in-store beer section along with an online component entitled Brewing up a Storm — a first-of-its-kind blog “focusing on women in […]

During grape harvest season, Michele D'Aprix is inseparable from her tractor, which she uses to work the soils, tow wagons full of grapes and "drag things around." Photo courtesy of D'Aprix

5 questions with Bordeaux winemaker Michele D’Aprix

Michele D’Aprix fell in love with winemaking in the late ’90s. Now, armed with a University of California-Davis degree in enology and viticulture, years of hands-on winery experience and an attitude that mixes equal parts charisma and quick wit, D’Aprix makes the perfect American ambassador to France. D’Aprix, currently the only female American winemaker in […]

From left to right, French instructor Allison Weems, CSW Andy Hale and Metro Wines co-owners Gina Trippi and John Kerr are the organizers behind Sip and Speak, an educational series for Asheville adults. Photo by Kat McReynolds

Sip and Speak language series pairs wine and words

“This is about the fusion of two passions,” says French instructor and wine enthusiast Allison Weems, explaining the inspiration behind her new continuing education series, Sip and Speak. The Asheville French School founder approached Metro Wines owners Gina Trippi and John Kerr earlier this year with the idea of offering in-store classes exploring basic language […]