Asheville Wine & Food Festival: Dessert takes the stage at Sweet

Photos by Hayley Benton

Sugary confections usually have to wait patiently in the wings during a meal until the appetizers, salad and main course have all had their time in the limelight. Last night, however, dessert was the diva, sharing the stage only with local libations and a touch of jazz at Sweet, an event of the 2014 Asheville Wine & Food Festival.

About 30 area bakers, chocolatiers, pâtissiers, vintners, brewers and distillers lined the corridors of the Grove Arcade the evening of Friday, Aug. 22, offering samples of everything from decadent candies and pastries, to gluten-free delicacies to ice cream to custom-made cocktails.

The lineup featured not only familiar Asheville-area businesses but also plenty of bakers, distillers and vintners from further afield. Catherine Mellon, owner of Sweet ‘n Celi gluten-free bakery, had traveled from Shelby in Cleveland County, N.C., to share samples of her lemon angel-food cake and peanut brittle.

Mellon says her products will be offered in the new Whole Foods Market on Tunnel Road, but other than that they can’t currently be found in Asheville. Her participation in this year’s Asheville Wine & Food Festival is aimed at helping to change that. “We’re really working hard at getting our products into other areas,” says Mellon. ” We’re trying to bring them to the Asheville market.”

Additionally, not all of the event’s attendees were locals. Jacob and Becky Phares traveled from Charlotte to be a part of the evening’s revelry. Becky Phares says the couple came last year as well, and the event is worth the drive. “Everyone’s super nice,” she says, “and the beverages and food are just fantastic. The desserts have been really good this year.”

According to event organizer Melissa Mathews, ticket sales for Sweet were up this year from last year. Attendee Susi Gott Seguret, founder of the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts and a judge for this year’s Asheville Wine & Food Festival Chefs Challenge, says she specifically noticed an uptick from last year in the number of out of town guests at the event.

“I love this event because it provides a chance to have more intimate conversations than the larger [Asheville Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting] event allows,” says Seguret. “And, overall, I think it’s even better than last year. It just gets better all the time.”

The Asheville Wine & Food Festival’s main event, the Grand Tasting and Chefs Challenge, takes place 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at the U.S. Cellular Center.

(Mountain Xpress/Hayley Benton)


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.