The Feast of St. Valentine is just around the bend, and the Asheville food scene is teeming with possibilities for an amorous evening with a special somebody. Most local restaurants are planning prix fixe or a la carte menus for the occasion (book tables early, reservations fill up fast). And some events promise to offer a unique experience in addition to dinner and dessert — including opportunities to give from the heart.
The Blind Pig Supper Club at The Orange Peel
The Blind Pig Supper Club will host a wood-fired pop-up Valentine’s Day dinner at The Orange Peel to benefit the Blind Pig’s new Rally Around the Family Campaign. A portion of the event’s proceeds will support the campaign, which partners with local farms to provide Community Supported Agriculture produce subscriptions to a family or individual in need for an entire growing season. Chefs Mike Moore, Steve Goff, Sam Goff and Josh Armbruster will craft a six-course menu with a vegetarian alternative. Optional Champagne cocktails and wine pairings will be available for an additional charge. DJ Kipper Schauer will host sexual trivia as the evening’s entertainment.
6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave. Tickets are $68. theblindpigsupperclub.com
What’s the deal with Aphrodisiacs?
Rhubarb chef John Fleer will revisit last year’s Valentine’s Day theme with another four-course meal featuring aphrodisiacs. Menu items will include Arabian-spiced Border Springs Farm lamb, duck confit ravioli and Va-va-voom oysters on the half shell. “Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be about buying someone chocolates or cards or flowers,” says Rhubarb marketing manager Jasper Adams. “Accept that it’s a schmaltzy holiday, come to terms with it and take the opportunity to have fun.” Whether or not aphrodisiacs actually work, Adams adds, “there’s no question that they’re delicious.”
5-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, Rhubarb, 7 S. Pack Square. Tickets are $78 each, $120 with wine pairings. rhubarbasheville.com/reservations/vday
If a weeknight on the town doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, an early Valentine’s Day celebration in support of a worthy local youth charity might fit the bill. Nonprofit organization Youth Transformed for Life will host its Sweethearts Supper fundraising dinner and silent auction at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center on Saturday, Feb. 11. Green Opportunities Kitchen Ready chef Gene Ettison will team up with Ramona Young of Kente Kitchen West African and Southern Cuisine Catering Co. and Clarence Robinson from Cooking with Comedy Catering to offer a menu of Cajun meatballs, fried green tomatoes, chicken gumbo, Creole side salad and other dishes. Jonathan Santos, the Soul Evolution and Leeda “Lyric” Jones will provide musical entertainment for the evening. Auction items will include artwork by regional artists, restaurant gift certificates and an assortment of other products donated by local businesses. Proceeds from the event will support YTL programs focused on creating equity for disadvantaged and homeless teens and young adult offenders re-entering the workforce.
7-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, Stephens-Lee Recreation Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave. Tickets are $45 each or $85 per couple. ytltraining.org
Cider and supper on the farm
For a literal breath of fresh air, head out to Fairview on Saturday, Feb. 11, for a five-course cider dinner in the event barn at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. The menu will match local, seasonal fare with ciders from Urban Orchard. Skip the drive and nab the free shuttle that leaves from Urban Orchard at 6 p.m.
6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, Hickory Nut Gap Farm, 57 Sugar Hollow Road. Fairview. Tickets are $68 plus tax and gratuity. hickorynutgapfarm.com/product/valentines-cider-dinner
Valentine’s Day the Southern Way
Looking for a hands-on way to spend Valentine’s Day? Grab a friend or loved one and head to the Mountain Kitchen Boutique Cooking School for an interactive cooking class that will end with a decadent meal. Taught by chef Ofri Gilan of Ofri’s Home Cooking, the class features crawfish canapés, shrimp etouffée with red beans and rice, and beignets with whiskey chocolate sauce for dessert. Participants are invited to bring a bottle of wine. Space is limited.
6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, Mountain Kitchen Boutique Cooking School, 332 E. Sondley Drive. Tickets are $65 each or $120 per couple. ofrishomecooking.com/valentines-day-the-southern-way
3-2-1 at Addison Farms Vineyard
Addison Farms Vineyard is collaborating with chef Corey Marino of Catering by Cory to present the fourth annual Perfect Pairings dinner on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the picturesque Leicester winery. Marino’s 3-2-1 menu features a welcome bite followed by a second course composed of three items, a third course with two items and a dessert course of one item. Guests can expect dishes such as macerated blood-orange salad with pistachio, mint and feta, and grilled beef and pork tenderloin sous vide served with sweet potato and apple gratin. Dessert will be chocolate cherry tart with Amarena cherries, cherry gelato and chocolate ganache. Reservations are required.
7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, Addison Farms Vineyard, 4005 New Leicester Highway, Leicester. Tickets are $79. 828-581-9463 or addisonfarms.net/perfect-pairings-feb-2017
Wine and chocolate for Our VOICE
Buncombe County sexual assault prevention organization Our VOICE will host a sweet benefit on Thursday, Feb. 16, at Metro Wines. The $10 admission includes a glass of either Woop Woop Australian shiraz or Helena Ranch chardonnay from California plus treats donated by French Broad Chocolates. For the program, Our VOICE Executive Director Angelica Wind will lead a discussion about human trafficking in the region. “We were surprised to learn the staggering amount of human trafficking in WNC,” says Gina Trippi, co-owner of MetroWines. “We are proud to host this event to raise awareness and funding for this most-needed life saving work.”
5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. Admission is $10, includes a glass of wine and chocolate. metrowinesasheville.com
DIY and desserts
MG Road will celebrate with events both crafty and sweet. On Sunday, Feb. 12, the Wall Street cocktail lounge’s Leah Spicer will host an afternoon valentine-making party, complete with craft supplies, postage, roses and candy. Love songs and poetry readings will round out the fun. Then, on Tuesday, Feb. 14, the bar invites an all-star lineup of Asheville pastry chefs, including Ashely Capps, Logan Pollard, Emily Cadmus and Jessica Rosenkoetter from Buxton Hall Barbecue along with Tony Scalia of Farm & Sparrow and Leah Edwards of Plant, to present a candlelit after-dinner dessert salon. In addition to the sweet creations, there will be Champagne specials and romantic music to set the mood.
The valentine-making party is 2-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12; the dessert salon is 8 p.m.-midnight Tuesday, Feb. 14, both at MG Road, 19 Wall St. mgroadlounge.com