Outside the heart-shaped box: A tasty Valentine’s Day beyond dinner for two

BREWING UP ROMANCE: Whisk AVL baker Meg Schearer and Twin Leaf Brewery are partnering to offer an affordable Valentine's Day beer and dessert pairing event at Twin Leaf's South Slope taproom. Schearer's creations, including the pictured pomegranate cheesecake, will be served alongside 12-ounce pours of Twin Leaf beers. Photo by Thom O'Hearn

Asheville can offer moonstruck, candlelit Valentine’s Day dinners aplenty. Most local restaurants will be serving Valentine’s weekend, with many offering special prix fixe menus for the occasion. But for those looking for something just a little out of the ordinary, there are several Valentine’s Day events in Western North Carolina catering to those in search of a food and drink experience with an unusual twist.

Valentines in a vineyard

For a romantic glass of wine, why not go straight to the source? Addison Farms Vineyard will offer a limited-seating Perfect Pairings dinner on Saturday, Feb. 13, featuring a selection of house-made wines, including a limited release of the winery’s 2013 cabernet franc. The meal will be a locally sourced four-course spread with welcoming bites prepared by chef Corey Marino of Catering by Corey. Cost: $75 per person. Reservations are required.

7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, Addison Farms Vineyard, 4005 New Leicester Highway, Leicester. Details and reservations: addisonfarms.net/valentine-dinner

Also on Saturday, Feb. 13, Hendersonville’s Burntshirt Vineyards will host a three-course dinner followed by dancing to the sounds of the Jamison Adams Project. Cost is $90 per couple. Reservations are required.

5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, Burntshirt Vineyards, 2695 Sugarloaf Road, Hendersonville. Details and reservations: 685-2402

Dinner, dancing and famous wedding dresses

Deerpark Restaurant at the Biltmore Estate will host a Wine and Roses Dinner Dance featuring a reception, four-course dinner, dessert and a bottle of wine per couple. For a touch of added romance preceding the festivities, guests can arrive early and check out the “Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film” exhibition at the Biltmore House. The exhibit features 40 wedding gowns and suits worn as costumes in popular historical films such as Mary Shelley’s FrankensteinSense and Sensibility, Emma and Pride and Prejudice. Cost: $125 per person. Regular estate admission prices apply.

6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, Deerpark Restaurant at the Biltmore Estate, 1 Lodge St. Details: 800-411-3812 

Love and a time machine

Now in his third season of hosting regular winter pop-up dinners that celebrate individual geographic locales and cultural identities, Knife & Fork chef Nate Allen has turned his focus — and his borderline-obsessive research — to the topic of historic feasts. For two evenings this Valentine’s weekend at his Spruce Pine restaurant, Allen will offer guests their choice of three epic meals, each of which will be staged in a historically accurate manner. Two of the choices, yet to be revealed, will be based on actual feasts from history — Allen is considering the funeral feast of King Midas, the coronation banquet of Charles I of the Austro-Hungarian empire and the enthronement feasts of various archbishops and other rulers. The third choice will be a wild-card dinner straight from the creative minds of Allen and his sous chef, Stewart Lyon. In addition, Knife & Fork will serve an a la carte Valentine’s Day brunch on Sunday, Feb. 14. Cost for dinner: $50 per person for dinner only, $75 per person with wine pairings. Reservations recommended.

Dinners are 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, and Saturday, Feb. 13. Brunch will be served 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14. Knife & Fork is at 61 Locust St., Spruce Pine. Details and reservations: (828) 765-1511 or knifeandforknc.com

Wild and artistic

The Grand Bohemian Hotel will host a reception with renowned wildlife painter Stefano Cecchini followed by a private wine dinner with the artist at the Red Stag Grill’s Black Forest Wine Room. The reception will feature a viewing of Cecchini’s latest compilation of original wildlife paintings. The four-course dinner will offer entrées such as Chilean sea bass, porcini ravioli and elk loin. Cost: $149 per person. Reservations are required.

Artists reception at 6 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, Grand Bohemian Hotel, 11 Boston Way. Details and reservations: 398-5555

Sweets and brews

Twin Leaf Brewery and pastry chef Meg Schearer of Whisk AVL are collaborating to offer a sweet — and affordable — Valentine’s Day treat for couples. Guests can share a handcrafted dessert — think pomegranate cheesecakes, six or a dozen chocolate-dipped strawberries or sea salt dark chocolate tarts — and two 12-ounce Twin Leaf beers. Cost: $11-$16, depending on dessert choices. By reservation or drop-in.

5-10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, Twin Leaf Brewery, 144 Coxe Ave. Details and reservations: 774-5000

Catawba Brewing Co. will partner with French Broad Chocolates to offer a beer and chocolate pairing at Catawba’s South Slope taproom. The evening is centered on the release of the brewery’s popular seasonal LeSexxxy Saison, and a total of four specialty beers will be served, each matched with a bar chocolate and a truffle. Local musicians Mike Carver and Mare Carmody will provide their blend of bluesy country as background music. Cost: $20 per person.

6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, Catawba Brewing Co., 32 Banks Ave. Details: mary@catawbabrewing.com

Fire & Desire

MG Road Lounge has dreamed up a Wall Street foodie collaboration — the Fire & Desire Valentine’s Party — for Sunday, Feb. 14. MG Road will provide the venue and the cocktails, Cucina 24 pastry chef Samantha Stumpf will provide an array of desserts, and soon-to-come Wall Street café Trade and Lore will present a coffee pop-up for the occasion. Music will be courtesy of DJs Kipper and Hannah. No reservations required.

7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, MG Road Lounge, 19 Wall St. Details: Facebook.com/mgroadlounge/

Musical (and poetic) dinner shows

Lex 18 will offer a couple of romantic dinner show opportunities. Besame Mucho, a dinner show in the style of Hollywood nightclubs from the 1920s and 30s, will feature professional dancers performing to music by Brittany Howe and the Bob Strain Trio. A recitation of love poems is also promised. On Sunday, Feb. 14, En Tango Mi Valentino! will feature dinner set to fiery tango music performed by the Austin Piazzolla Quintet. The four-course dinner menu for both events will feature a main entrée choice of North Carolina beef medallions served with asparagus, potato purée and Madeira sauce or Chilean sea bass with lobster risotto, asparagus and lobster butter sauce. Tickets also include cocktails at the opening reception, a bottle of wine per couple, Champagne and a framed vintage Polaroid keepsake. Cost: $115 per person ($88 per person without alcohol). Reservations are required.

Seatings are at 5:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12 and 13, for Besame Mucho and Sunday, Feb. 14, for En Tango Mi Valentino! at Lex 18, 18 Lexington Ave. Details and tickets: lex18avl.com

Weekend getaway

Prolong the romance by extending Valentine’s Day into a weekend mountain getaway on Lake Santeetlah at Snowbird Mountain Lodge. Now in its 75th season, the lodge will host a special four-course Valentine’s dinner with Champagne on Saturday, Feb. 13, featuring fare sourced on-site or from nearby farms. Guests will check in on Friday to find flowers and sweets waiting for them in their room. The hotel’s rates include a gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. Cost: Rates vary widely based on room selection.

Friday, Feb. 12, through Sunday, Feb. 14, Snowbird Mountain Lodge, Santeetlah Road, Robbinsville. Details and reservations: (828) 479-3433 or snowbirdlodge.com

Vintage valentine

Built in 1924, the historic Princess Anne Hotel on East Chestnut Street offers an authentic backdrop for a Valentine’s Day dinner that embraces old-fashioned romance. In celebration of the lovers’ holiday, the inn will host Love Bites, a four-course dinner with wine pairings, in its Grande Dining Room. Expect the menu to feature amorous morsels such as beet confit with toasted walnuts, whipped goat cheese, micro arugula and honey vinaigrette and a herbed pappardelle and lamb bolognese with roasted wild mushrooms, basil oil and shaved Parmesan. Cost: $75 per person.

6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, Princess Anne Hotel, 301 E. Chestnut St. Details and tickets: (866) 552-0986




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About Jacqui Castle
Jacqui Castle is a freelance writer who began contributing to Mountain Xpress in 2014. When she is not writing, she is living it up in the Fairview mountains with her family of four.

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