Hard Lox Festival: Judaism stands alone among the world’s major religions in its culinary hold on its adherents: So enduring is the bond between Jewish culture and cookery that early 20th-century rabbis groaned openly about the rise of “bagels-and-lox Judaism”: Jewish Studies scholar Jenna Weissman Joselit quotes one 1940s rabbi as fretting, “If American Jewry were to measure its religious commitment in terms of food, we’d have a 100 percent Jewish community.” Fittingly, food takes center stage at the Asheville Jewish community’s biggest annual heritage festival: Hard Lox Café, now in its sixth year, features all the beloved ethnic foods typically unavailable at area eateries, including matzo-ball soup, knishes, noodle kugel and mandelbrot. The festival takes place on Battery Park, alongside the Grove Arcade, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19. “For one day only, we’ve transported the New York deli to Asheville,” enthuses a press release. Edible offerings also include Sabra-sanctioned favorites such as falafel and hummus. For more information, visit www.hardlox.com.
Grove Park Gingerbread: Home building may have petered out with the financial crisis, but gingerbread construction is still going strong at the Grove Park Inn, which sponsors the annual National Gingerbread House Competition. The contest, scheduled for Nov. 17, attracts 300-plus entries from cookie carpenters across the country. But Asheville entrants may have a slight edge in the competition: the Grove Park’s executive pastry chef, Aaron Morgan, who authored Making Great Gingerbread Houses (Lark Books, 1999)—and serves on the judges’ panel—is offering a gingerbread tutorial on Monday, Oct. 20, more than three weeks before entries must be delivered to the hotel’s ballroom. According to a release, Morgan will “provide insights on how these amazing gingerbread creations are made, pass along his trade secrets and answer any questions.” The free workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. at Grove Park. For more information on the class or the contest, visit www.groveparkinn.com.
The Lobster Trap: “Bizarre” isn’t always a compliment in the food world, but the Lobster Trap’s Tres Hundertmark is apparently tickled to have had the term bestowed upon his trout-rib dish by Travel Channel host Andrew Zimmern, who will film a segment of his popular Bizarre Foods show at the downtown-Asheville restaurant this month. Executive chef Hundertmark developed the preparation after noticing a few ounces of trout meat were left on the bones after workers at Haywood County’s Sunburst Trout Farm filleted them. After experimenting with various brines, seasonings and marinades, he hit upon a sweet-and-sour tomato-based sauce that he describes as “relatively Asian.” The show will also feature Sunburst’s marmalade-colored, mild-tasting trout caviar, created by Sunburst’s founder Dick Jennings. The caviar has become a popular local delicacy; Sunburst and the Lobster Trap now plan to partner to put trout ribs in restaurants and grocery stores.
Kanini’s: Two Waynesville moms are putting an international spin on the popular meals-to-go trend, offering a menu of all-natural frozen meals that includes Thai curry and caldo de pollo. The pre-made entrees are available for pick-up in downtown Waynesville or the Blue Ridge Food Ventures kitchen on A-B Tech’s Enka-Candler campus, where Jen Leichssenring and Erin Patton prepare their dishes.
According to Patton, a 2007 trip to Africa persuaded the women to start creating meals incorporating global flavors and local ingredients. “We started Kenini’s because we wanted to make it easier for people to sit down with their family and have a good, home-cooked, healthy meal,” she writes. For an $8 fee, Kanini’s will deliver in Buncombe and Haywood counties. To place an order or learn more, visit www.kaninis.com.