What’s new in food: Honey cake for Ukraine

HONEY CAKE FOR UKRAINE: Old World Leavain Bakery has raised over $12,000 for Ukraine as part of a fundraiser of medovik, a traditional Ukrainian honey cake. Photo courtesy of OWL Bakery.

Old World Levain Bakery recently raised over $12,000 to directly support the relief effort in Ukraine. Spearheaded by OWL Bakery’s Lola Borovyk, who moved from Ukraine to the U.S. when she was 11 years old, the Honey Cake for Ukraine fundraiser donated 100% of its proceeds to a number of organizations.

World Central Kitchen (a nonprofit devoted to providing meals in the wake of disasters), Spilka (a New York City-based collective supporting Ukraine’s resistance in the war with Russia) and members of Borovyk’s family in her home region of Dnipro were among the recipients. According to Borovyk, the funds delivered to Dnipro have been distributed among volunteers working on the ground cooking meals, repairing bomb shelters, making defensive nets and anti-tank “hedgehogs” and distributing medical equipment.

“It means so much to me that our small mountain town, which feels so far from Ukraine and the war, really showed up,” says Borovyk. “I think a lot of Ukrainians like me were raised with the principle of communicating their love through actions and not words. So, in my eyes, the past few weeks have been a huge display of love by the Asheville community.”

A classic dessert in Ukraine and throughout the other Slavic countries, Borovyk’s interpretation of honey cake (also known as medovik) features multiple thin cake layers with a distinct honey flavor and a velvety sour cream (or smetana) frosting. The cake layers are more cookielike when they are first baked, but when combined with the frosting become soft and tender as the layers absorb moisture overnight.

“The most important thing in a medovik is the contrast between the sweet, honey grahamlike layers and the tart frosting,” says Borovyk.

Introducing a beloved childhood dessert to Asheville during this time “has been a huge effort by so many people,” says Borovyk. “Susannah Gebhart [OWL’s owner] has been an immense source of support. When I approached her about organizing a fundraiser, she immediately jumped into ordering supplies and coordinating volunteers to help out with the baking process.”

In addition to Borovyk’s many co-workers, friends and partner, Jared Boger, donations from local businesses such as Farm & Sparrow (flour), Mountain Food Products (honey) and Lady Luck Gardens (dried flowers) have also helped support OWL’s recent efforts.

“The fundraisers have been a way for me to not feel so helpless when I live so far away from my family and loved ones,” says Borovyk. “I will continue raising money as long as needed — as long as Ukrainians feel unsafe in their own home.”

For updates on fundraising efforts, follow Lola Borovyk on Instagram at @drift.currant.

Dine to Be Kind

Asheville Humane Society’s 17th annual Dine to Be Kind fundraiser, presented by Patton Avenue Pet Co., is back on Tuesday, April 5, following a two-year hiatus as a result of the pandemic. Dozens of restaurants, breweries and bars will participate by donating a portion of the day’s proceeds directly to Asheville Humane Society.

“This year’s Dine to Be Kind is an important way to connect with members of our community and to raise money for a lifesaving cause,” says Garrison Stephens, communications manager for the Asheville Humane Society. Over 50 local businesses plan to participate in the community event, with hopes of raising over $100,000, all of which will go to directly assist over 10,000 animals in the coming year.

“Bringing back this event after a two-year hiatus has brought back a renewed importance of community and support for local businesses and a great cause,” says Stephens.

For a complete list of participating restaurants, breweries and bars, visit avl.mx/be3.

Free seeds

The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project has partnered with Sow True Seed as part of the Growing Minds Farm to School Program. This educational program makes seeds available, free of charge, to both public and private pre-K-12 grade schools located in ASAP’s Appalachian Grown region.

The Appalachian Grown Program is a unique certification for food and agricultural products grown or raised on farms in Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Over 50 varieties of seeds, including early producing spring crops, such as snow peas, radishes and lettuce, are available.

Educators are encouraged to contact Growing Minds at growingminds@asapconnections.org or 828-236-1282 to schedule a pickup time from the ASAP office, 306 Haywood St. Teachers outside the Appalachian Grown region can use code SEEDSINSCHOOLS for a 20% discount on seed packets and cover crops at Sow True Seed.

Italian cooking class

The Asheville Mountain Kitchen culinary school hosts an Italian cooking class featuring food from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region on Saturday, April 2, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Event participants can expect an educational showcase of delicious and simple classic Italian dishes, such as homemade gnocchi with lamb ragu, traditional vegetable side dishes and profiteroles with chocolate sauce for dessert. A full meal of the featured items will be shared by all following the end of class. Located at 332 E. Sondley Drive, Asheville Mountain Kitchen provides hands-on classes for both novices and experts alike within a relaxed home setting from chef and owner Ofri Hirsch.

Tickets cost $85 per single ticket or $160 for two. Visit avl.mx/bea for more information and event registration.

Historic Fernihurst mansion

The Western North Carolina Historical Association will hold its annual fundraising dinner at the historic Fernihurst mansion on Thursday, March 31, 5-7 p.m. Guests will be served an all-inclusive, five-course gourmet dinner prepared by students of A-B Tech’s nationally recognized culinary department.

“This event has been held since 2009 but has been on hiatus for the last two years due to COVID,” says WNCHA’s Executive Director Anne Chesky Smith. “We hope to raise $3,000 to help fund our youth programs for the 2022-23 school year.”

The evening’s menu includes wild mushroom crepes, consommé, cassoulet, frisee salad with julienne of bacon and poached egg and glazed strawberry tarts.

Fernihurst Mansion is at 70 Fernihurst Drive. Tickets cost $100 for WNCHA members and $135 for nonmembers. For more information, visit avl.mx/be4.

You’re killing me, Smalls! 

Broker Asheville is hosting a food drive to support MANNA FoodBank at Rabbit Rabbit on Sunday, April 3, 2-5 p.m. A special screening of The Sandlot will accompany the event on Rabbit Rabbit’s large, outdoor projector. Admission is free; food and/or monetary donations are encouraged but not required. Those who donate will be entered into a raffle drawing for a YETI Hopper BackFlip 24 backpack cooler.

Rabbit Rabbit is at 75 Coxe Ave. Visit avl.mx/be5 to RSVP and review a list of suggested food item donations.

The Freeze returns

The Freeze, one of Asheville’s oldest ice cream shops, reopened on Thursday, March 24 following its yearly, seasonal closing. Originally planned to return on March 17 for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, the locally owned business was forced to delay its plans after a tree fell through its roof.

The Freeze is at 1091 Patton Ave. Open daily from 11 a.m-10 p.m. Visit avl.mx/be9 for a menu and online ordering.


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