Small bites: Blue Ridge Food Ventures Holiday Market

SEASONINGS GREETINGS: With its abundance of local, handmade edibles, Blue Ridge Food Ventures' Holiday Market is ideal for foodies, small-business supporters and gift hunters alike. Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Food Ventures

The gathering of more than 20 of Western North Carolina’s artisan food purveyors plus a handful of arts and crafts makers in one room makes Blue Ridge Food Ventures Holiday Market a uniquely entrepreneurial shopping experience.

“We have a large variety of vendors this year, from ceramics and jewelry to hummus, fish cakes and condiments; sweets and baked goods to trail mixes,” says the food business incubator’s client services manager, Michael McDonald. He lists participants such as Homefree Bagels, Dolce de Maria, Crooked Condiments, Munki Foods, Firewalker Hot Sauce, Colleen’s Toffee, Roots Hummus, Imladris Farms and Asheville Fungi.

Mimicking the style of a traditional farmers market, the holiday-themed event sees shoppers meandering among booths (many staffed by the small-business owners themselves) and stopping for samples. Although nearly all of the offerings are gift-worthy, many double as staples for around the home.

New this year is a friendly competition for best edible product. Food-business professionals will vote for a grand prize winner, while shoppers will determine the people’s choice award recipient. Event co-sponsor Ingles Markets will then present the judges’ and people’s favorites with $500 and $250, respectively.

“Gift seekers, particularly those interested in local goods, will find a great variety of products available for everybody on their list — all in one convenient location,” McDonald says. “Guests don’t need to be holiday-minded to attend. They are welcome to come, taste the samples being provided by the vendors and stock up on local goodies for their pantries.”

The Holiday Market is at Blue Ridge Food Ventures, 1461 Sand Hill Road, on Friday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information, visit blueridgefoodventures.org.

Asheville gets Frostbite

Frostbite Ice Cream is now open in West Asheville. “We use a high butterfat content, real ingredients and specialized machines that freeze the soft-serve on demand,” says co-founder Jason Istvan, noting that ingredients are sourced locally and from out-of-state. “This means that we’re serving very fresh, creamy soft-serve without a ton of air in it, which helps give a smooth, dense texture.” Istvan says the shop will have about 15 flavors of soft serve in addition to housemade beignets, funnel cakes, coffee and ice cream blends, shaved ice and more.

Frostbite is open daily (holiday scheduling varies) 10 a.m.-9 p.m. at 1475 Patton Ave. Visit frostbiteicecream.com for more information.

Celebrating a decade of Chanukah Live

Although it boasts an expanded sushi bar, kosher food stations and other homemade edibles, the 10th annual Chanukah Live features much more than eats. Boutique shopping, holiday gift wrapping, raffles, an 8-foot-tall Giving Menorah, inflatables and other entertainment, including performances by the Atlanta Tevye Band and the Chabad Teen Band, will celebrate the beginning of the eight-day Jewish holiday. “Today, to people of all faiths, the Chanukah holiday serves as a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness,” says Rabbi Shaya Susskind, executive director of host organization the Chabad House in Asheville.

Chanukah Live is at the Crown Plaza Expo Center, 1 Resort Drive, Sunday, Dec. 6,  3-6 p.m. Admission is free. Visit chabadasheville.org for details.

Velvet & Lace’s witchy elixirs

Launched by Buxton Hall Barbecue employees Kelly Vormelker and Sam Pennington, Velvet & Lace is a concept that celebrates Asheville’s female bartenders by hosting a guest mixologist at Buxton’s main bar one evening each month. It’s “a night of females, fire, music and cocktails,” reads a release from the duo. “The decidedly dark theme showcases craft cocktails made by these lovely ladies with a focus on smoke, fire, herbs, elixirs and tinctures. … Think witchcraft, white doves and black magic.” DJ Night Nurse (otherwise known as Mary Kelley) will heighten the night’s mysterious vibe with dark tunes while patrons enjoy a photo booth and food from the restaurant. The kickoff event features Vormelker and Pennington behind the bar.

Velvet & Lace is at Buxton Hall Barbecue, 32 Banks Ave., the first Thursday of each month through May, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. The inaugural event and kickoff party is on Thursday, Dec. 3. Ten percent of each night’s sales benefit Our VOICE. Visit buxtonhall.com for information.

Addison Farms Vineyard’s A Handcrafted Christmas

More than 10 local vendors will showcase their handmade products — jewelry, lamps, leather, fiber art, iron works, wreaths, art, sweets and more — while shoppers enjoy food and wine at Addison Farms Vineyard’s third annual A Handcrafted Christmas event. A $10 donation at the door to Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (supporting preservation efforts in the Sandy Mush area) earns a complimentary wine tasting from the hosting vineyard, which will also match funds raised up to $500.

A Handcrafted Christmas is at Addison Farms Vineyard, 4005 New Leicester Highway, on Saturday, Dec. 5, noon-5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit addisonfarms.net for details.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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