Small bites: Black Mountain Ciderworks celebrates Guy Fawkes Day

BONFIRE NIGHT:  Black Mountain Ciderworks owners David Bowman and Jessica Puzzo Bowman will mark the release of their Croatan late-fall seasonal cider on Saturday, Nov. 5, with a bonfire, special ciders and meads and English-inspired food celebrating England's Guy Fawkes Day.
BONFIRE NIGHT: Black Mountain Ciderworks owners David Bowman and Jessica Puzzo Bowman will mark the release of their Croatan late-fall seasonal cider on Saturday, Nov. 5, with a bonfire, special ciders and meads and English-inspired food celebrating England's Guy Fawkes Day. Photo by Cindy Kunst

On the night of Nov. 4, 1605, Guy Fawkes broke into the cellar of the House of Lords in London. There were 36 barrels of gunpowder stacked and awaiting his expertise. Fawkes was assigned the duty of igniting these barrels the following day while King James I sat for the opening of parliament.

But the explosion never happened. Fawkes was discovered by the king’s men that night and tortured for two days before being sentenced to a gruesome death. When the sentence was announced, Fawkes leapt from the gallows, breaking his neck and ending his life.

Every year on Nov. 5, bonfires blaze across England as Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy to celebrate the failed plot and survival of the king. Since opening in 2014, Black Mountain Ciderworks + Meadery has joined the celebration with a bonfire of its own. David Bowman, who co-owns the cidery along with his wife and fellow ciderist, Jessica Puzzo Bowman, proudly admits the two are a pair of Anglophiles. He adds that their idea to honor Guy Fawkes Day, also known as Bonfire Day, came after tasting a country-style cider from England’s West Country.

At this year’s event, Black Mountain Ciderworks + Meadery will offer s’mores and English-inspired food such as meat pies (with a vegetarian option), treacle toffee, candied apples and winter vegetables. The celebration coincides with the release of Croatan — the cidery’s late-fall seasonal cider made with Eastern North Carolina sweet potatoes and molasses. A few surprise meads and ciders will also be revealed at the gathering, and nonalcoholic apple cider will be available as well.

Bowman considers this year’s Guy Fawkes Celebration to be particularly relevant on account of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. “The original Gunpowder Treason Plot of 1605 was at a time of real heated division in England between Protestants and Catholics,” he says. “It’s kind of hard not to see the similarities this election year.”

He adds that the event is nonpartisan. “We think it’s a tongue-in-cheek way for us to blow off steam and come together around a fire right before the election,” he says. “We want everyone to feel welcome.”

The Guy Fawkes Celebration and Croatan Release runs 1-11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. Admission is free. Donations will be accepted for the food with all proceeds benefiting Friends2Ferals. For more about Friends2Ferals, visit avl.mx/33o. For information on the event, visit blackmountainciderworks.com.

RAD Farmers Market harvest dinner

All Souls Pizza will host the River Arts District Farmers Market’s annual Market-to-Table Dinner fundrasier on Monday, Nov. 7. The menu will include pickled vegetables, radishes, local greens, goat cheese, leek vinaigrette, spelt egg noodles, cauliflower cream sauce, radicchio, Hungarian apple pie, whipped crème fraiche and whey caramel. A majority of the ingredients will be sourced from market vendors. All Souls chef Brendan Reusing and Farm and Sparrow baker David Bauer will prepare the dinner. The evening will also include live music and a cash bar.

The Market-to-Table Dinner begins at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, at All Souls Pizza, 175 Clingman Ave. Tickets are $45 in advance, $50 at the door. All ages are welcome. Tickets can be purchased online at radfarmersmarket.com.

Pickled beets workshop

Villagers will offer a workshop led by Sheefra Blumenthal on Tuesday, Nov. 8, on the process of preserving sweet pickled beets. Participants will get their own jar of beets to take home along with Blumenthal’s recipe. Blumenthal, who now lives in Asheville, spent four years as co-manager at Nagdeo Farm in Gresham, Ore. — a residential primitive and homestead skills school.

The pickled beets workshop runs 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 278 Haywood Road. Tickets are $15-$30 per person on a sliding scale. For tickets and details, visit avl.mx/33m.

Sicilian wine pairing dinner at Chestnut

Chestnut is teaming up with the Asheville School of Wine from MetroWines for an evening of Sicilian wine and dinner. The menu, by chefs Joe Scully and Mike Case, will include a chilled calamari salad, lemon-caper pesto-seared quail over chestnut-flour fettuccine, tomato-braised pork arancini with caponata and more. Wines will include Tasca D’ Amerita Grillo 2014, Planeta Etna Biacno 2015, Planeta Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Tasca Regaleali Rose 2015 and Tasca d’Almerita Lamuri 2013. Mike Bell, manager for Mutual Distribution, will also share insights, stories and a video presentation of his recent trip to Sicily, where he met with the winery owners and winemakers who helped create the dinner’s pairings.

The Sicilian wine-pairing dinner happens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at Chestnut, 48 Biltmore Ave. Tickets are $90 and include dinner, wine, tax and gratuity. For details and tickets, visit avl.mx/33k

Farewell to Lex 18

After 2 ½ years, Lex 18 closed for good on Sunday, Oct. 30. The Lexington Avenue restaurant and bar was known for its Appalachian menu, live jazz music and dinner theater. New York author and restaurateur Esther Frances Joseph will take over the space with a Caribbean-inspired eatery. More details to come.

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About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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One thought on “Small bites: Black Mountain Ciderworks celebrates Guy Fawkes Day

  1. boatrocker

    Just for the record, all those guys in dark off the rack suits, sunglasses and wearing earpieces aren’t there to buy cider. You’re on a gob’ment watchlist.
    I do find the name humorous, in my own strange way.

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