Small bites: Bow Chicka Wow Wow

NATURAL PASSION: In her latest apothecary skills workshop, herbalist Melissa Fryar will teach natural ways to help increase your sexual desires. "We're going to talk about some common aphrodisiacs," she says, including "plants like damiana, which is one of my favorites." Photo by Thomas Calder

In recent years, herbalist Melissa Fryar has experienced an influx of people coming to her with the same problem: low libido. “It’s a normal part of life,” says the health and body care manager at French Broad Food Co-op. “We live in a stressful world.”

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Fryar plans to help individuals and couples alike reclaim their sexual desires with her latest apothecary skills workshop, Bow Chicka Wow Wow. The event takes place Thursday, Feb. 6, 6-8 p.m. Tickets are a suggested $10 donation.

The course will include an in-depth conversation about foods and herbs that nourish the loins. Participants will also make a damiana- and cacao-infused love butter and a chocolate rose love syrup. The former, says Fryar, can be used as a lubricant or nipple cream; the latter is an ideal aphrodisiac.

“I feel like a lot of people don’t really have a venue to talk about healthy sexuality,” says Fryar, noting that her upcoming class is an opportunity to do so. The event is also a chance for individuals to place intentional emphasis on their sexuality as part of their overall health care.

“We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about making booby balms to rub on our partners,” Fryar points out. “My hope is that it kind of becomes the normal self-care routine — inspiring love and juiciness.”

Bow Chicka Wow Wow runs 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, at French Broad Food Co-op, 90 Biltmore Ave. Tickets are a suggested $10 donation. Preregistration is required. To sign up, visit

Asheville Truffle Experience

The Asheville Truffle Experience returns Friday-Sunday, Feb. 7-9, featuring a number of educational sessions, tastings, a wine pairing dinner, culinary demonstrations and a visit to the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville. Speakers include Tom Michaels, Susi Gott Séguret, Brian Upchurch, Ben Jarrett and Shawn Schwartz. Participating chefs include William Dissen of The Market Place Restaurant and Peter Crockett of Isa’s Bistro. Package deals are available with prices ranging from $195-$590; individual event tickets are also available with prices in the $25-$150 range.

The Asheville Truffle Experience runs Friday-Sunday, Feb. 7-9, at Haywood Park Hotel, 1 Battery Park Ave., and other locations. To purchase tickets and for a detailed list of events, visit

Oyster roasts

In Hendersonville, Burntshirt Vineyards will host an oyster roast and wine pairing on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2-5 p.m. Cheese and crackers, vegetables and boiled peanuts will also be served. The event will feature live music by Ben Phantom. Tickets are $20 for club members and $25 for the public. Meanwhile, Nantahala Brewing – Sylva, NC Outpost will also host an oyster roast on Saturday, Feb. 8. The all-you-can-eat event runs 4-10 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance or $25 day of the event. Beer, wine and cocktails will be available for purchase during the roast.

Burntshirt Vineyards is at 2695 Sugarloaf Road, Hendersonville. For tickets, visit Nantahala Brewing – Sylva, NC Outpost is at 5 Grindstaff Cove, Sylva. For tickets, visit

Cajun Cook-off

The Asheville Mardi Gras, a volunteer-based, community arts and culture group, hosts its annual Cajun Cook-off at Salvage Station on Sunday, Feb. 9. Professional and amateur chefs will compete in this year’s event, with winners to be selected by a panel of three local celebrity judges as well as attendees. Participating restaurants include Nine Mile, Bebettes Beignets & Coffee, Biscuit Head, Capella on 9, Futo Buta, Haywood Common, Oyster House Brewing Co. and Stable Café. Zydeco Ya Ya will perform during the competition. The cook-off also doubles as a food drive benefiting MANNA FoodBank; attendees who bring canned goods will be eligible to win door prizes. Tickets are $10 for AMG members, $20 for nonmembers and $30 for membership/admission combo. Tickets include samples of the competing dishes.

The cook-off runs noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, at Salvage Station, 468 Riverside Drive. For tickets, visit

Cooking basics class

Green Opportunities will offer a free, three-week cooking basics class, beginning Tuesday, Feb. 11, to be led by chef Karla Castillo. Participants are invited to attend all six classes or select specific topics of interest from among the courses, which include knife skills (Feb. 11); searing, sauté and stir fry (Feb. 13); stocks and soups (Feb. 18); sauces and condiments (Feb. 20); pasta, starches and grains (Feb. 25) and plant-based cooking (Feb. 27).

Classes will run 9 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, Feb. 11-27, at Green Opportunities, 133 Livingston St. To sign up, contact Jake Flannick at

Sandy Mush Community Center Food Pantry

Sandy Mush Community Center Food Pantry recently received $1,000 from the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation. According to a press release, the food pantry serves an average of 50 households and 170 individuals each month. The money will go toward the organization’s healthy food initiative.

To learn more, visit

Oyster champions

Marco Gaspar of The Lobster Trap opened 57 oysters in three minutes, taking first place at the recent Low Country Oyster Festival in Charleston, S.C. Fellow Ashevillean Kat Hundertmark of Creekside Taphouse finished in second place with 54 oysters. This is Gaspar’s seventh time winning the contest. According to a press release, this year’s competition was dedicated to Asheville resident William “Bill” Drake, who died last year.


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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, the Miracle Monocle, Juked and elsewhere. His debut novel, The Wind Under the Door, is now available.

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