Small bites: Taste of Our Carolina Foothills festival nears

REGIONAL FLAVORS: Tryon-area restaurants, breweries, wineries and farms will offer samples at the third annual Taste of Our Carolina Foothills culinary event.This year's festival takes place at the Foothills Equestrian and Nature Center. Photo from the 2014 Taste of Our Carolina Foothills by Cindy Kunst

“We are quite fortunate in the Foothills to have a wide variety of restaurants, caterers and food artisans,” says Mindy Wiener, a planner for the second Taste of Our Carolina Foothills event at Tryon’s Overmountain Vineyards and Winery. The festival brings together more than 40 specialty food and drink makers — including craft beer, wine and spirits — to celebrate the region’s appeal as a culinary destination.

Fare for the outdoor smorgasbord is predominantly sourced from Landrum, S.C., Columbus, S.C., and Saluda in addition to the host town, although a few other Carolinas towns are peppered into the mix of participants. The eclectic menu already includes dishes like smoked salmon nachos from Bright’s Creek resort; six types of wings and barbecue pork sliders from Mountain View Barbeque and Deli; apple and pecan muffins from Marilyn’s Historic Melrose Inn; and she-crab soup and shepherd’s pie from Stone Soup Restaurant.

Proceeds from the event will support Our Carolina Foothills’ efforts to position the region as a unique and desirable destination. Two projects in particular will benefit from ticket sales: the organization’s “Four Towns, Two States, One Great Experience!” advertising campaign to promote tourism and agri-tourism in the Foothills region plus Isothermal Community College’s free One Minute Ambassador classes that “enable businesses to speak of the Foothills region in a cohesive and informed manner.”

For entertainment, Tryon-based acoustic folk duo Lake and Moore will play an opening set before a jazz performance by Asheville’s Daniel Keller.

“Last year’s event was even better than we had hoped for, so there’s not much we are changing,” Weiner says, noting that last year’s event sold out several days in advance.

Taste of Our Carolina Foothills is 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at Overmountain Vineyards and Winery, 2014 Sandy Plains Road, Tryon, Advance tickets are $48 online at avl.mx/1nl or $45 by phone at 817-1079. Tickets at the event are $55, if available.

WNC Garlic Fest

Sponsored by Sow True Seed and scheduled in conjunction with the inaugural Venture Local Fair, the WNC Garlic Fest will celebrate the pungent, edible bulb through food, art and education. Workshops on growing and preserving garlic are scheduled throughout the day, and a Garlic Trail that winds down Buxton and Banks avenues will feature vendors providing free garlic experiences. Adventurers tackling the trail can expect to find everything from garlic-themed body art to food tastings. Food offerings promise to highlight garlic in familiar settings — garlic hummus from Roots Hummus and garlic aioli from Gypsy Queen Cuisine, for example — as well as outside traditional culinary comfort zones with choices like garlic ice cream from The Hop and garlic ganache from French Broad Chocolates.

WNC Garlic Fest takes place Saturday, Sept. 26, at Sow True Seed, 146 Church St., and at locations throughout the South Slope. The Garlic Trail will be open noon-6 p.m. or until samples run out. For more details and the workshop schedule, visit wncgarlicfest.com.

Posana Café’s benefit dinner for ASAP’s Growing Minds program

Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project’s Growing Minds Program enhances schoolchildren’s curricula with local farming experiences. To support the program for the seventh year running, Posana will add a 100 percent locally sourced menu to its already WNC-inspired, seasonal menu for one night, donating all proceeds from sales off the featured menu to ASAP. Many of the restaurant’s regular purveyors will donate ingredients to the cause or come in to greet customers with information about their farms.

The benefit dinner is 5-10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at Posana, 1 Biltmore Ave. Visit posanarestaurant.com for more information.

Canning class with Ashley English

When it comes to all things home-related, Ashley English is an expert. Among other publications, the Candler-based homesteader has penned seven books, including The Homemade Living Series, which covers Keeping Chickens, Keeping Bees, Home Dairy and Canning & Preserving. The last of those is the subject of her forthcoming workshop: a hands-on class where she’ll whip up and can a fresh batch of jam with students.

English’s workshop is 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, at Villagers, 278 Haywood Road. Information and tickets ($25) are available at forvillagers.com.

Wild Wing Café’s Stein-Hoisting Competition

We’ve all got our special talents, but Wild Wing Café is searching for a sportsman or sportslady of a very particular sort — a stein-holding hero, to be exact. Each Thursday in September, during the NFL football game halftime, competitors hold an oversized glass out with a straightened arm. The diner who staves off fatigue or cramping the longest wins Samuel Adams swag and a chance to advance toward the grand prize — a Samuel Adams Kegerator.

The final entry round is during NFL halftime on Thursday, Sept. 24, at Wild Wing Café, 161 Biltmore Ave. Visit facebook.com/wwcavl 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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