What’s new in food: Soirée the summer away with Folkmoot

AROUND THE WORLD: Folkmoot, North Carolina's official International Folk Festival, celebrates local cultures with a new fundraiser. Photo courtesy Folkmoot

Folkmoot, Waynesville’s premier folk festival dedicated to the preservation of culture and heritage, invites guests to indulge in cuisines from around the world during a 40th-anniversary Summer Soirée on Thursday, July 20, 7-9 p.m.

The soirée will serve as a fundraiser celebrating Folkmoot, recognized as North Carolina’s official International Folk Festival by the N.C. General Assembly, while also drumming up the support needed to propel its mission.

“Folkmoot has had struggles related to the pandemic,” says board member Jessica May, “but this event is meant to serve as a fundraising resurgence to help let the world know we are still here. We’re hoping to move the needle in terms of cultural representation in our state through arts, education and creative entrepreneurship.”

The event takes place at the Folkmoot Friendship Center, which once housed Hazelwood Elementary School. Most former classrooms are now occupied by local artisans displaying their wares. During the Folkmoot Summer Soirée, these rooms will be transformed into unique environments celebrating five cultures.

“We have artifacts that we’ve acquired throughout Folkmoot’s history that we’ll use to decorate each room respective to the particular culture,” May explains. “And each room will provide hearty bites, from savory dishes to sweet treats, from partnering restaurants specializing in each culture’s cuisine. Each guest receives a pseudo-passport that we’ll stamp at each cultural area, just as if they were traveling from country to country.”

The Celtic heritage room will feature shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage meatballs and shortbread cookies from The Scotsman Public House. The Asian room will welcome Watami Sushi & Noodles for sushi and pad thai; Boccelli’s Italian Eatery will bring garlic knots, lasagna and pizza to the Italian room; Guayabitos is coming from Maggie Valley to feed visitors in the Latin America room; and the Appalachian room will naturally include locally sourced and smoked barbecue.

Two drink vouchers are included in each ticket, and local artists will play live music related to each room’s cultural theme.

One hundred percent of ticket sale proceeds ($50 per person) will directly support Folkmoot. One-of-a-kind items and experiences will also be up for bid via a silent auction to benefit the organization.

“We want to tap into who Folkmoot is and pay homage to the history of our organization while looking forward to the future by acknowledging the many cultures that have contributed to our local culture,” says May.

The Folkmoot Friendship Center is at 112 Virginia Ave., Waynesville. Visit avl.mx/ctj for tickets and information.

Cure for the summertime blues

The Asheville Market will host a summer block party geared toward nature-based activities and wellness resources on Saturday, July 15, from noon-4 p.m.

Asheville Market has gathered a diverse array of nearly 20 merchants, community members and local nonprofits for the event, which will serve as a communal celebration of the summer season and a chance to spend time outdoors with neighbors and familiars.

Whole Foods will be on-site to provide discounted healthy dining options. Jack the Dipper Ice Cream will have a booth set up, and Fifth Season Gardening plans to provide a specialty summer drink menu.

Organizations such as the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Angel K Love Project, Food Connection Asheville, Babies Need Bottoms and Western Women’s Business Center will be in attendance for education and donation gathering. Live music, massage stations, henna tattoo booths and dedicated spaces for children offering arts, crafts, games and enrichment will round out the afternoon’s offerings.

Asheville Market is at 4 S. Tunnel Road. Visit avl.mx/ctf for additional information.

Pickles prevail

Pickles. They’re a pretty big dill if you ask chef Donald Paleno, owner and operator of DJ’s Pickles. So much so that he’s planned his third annual PicklePalooza event paying homage to the crunchy cucumbers on Saturday, July 15, 4-9 p.m., at Blue Ghost Brewing Company.

“With the pickle love and support we have received over the last three years, we hope to build on that momentum by inviting businesses and people together to have a great time and taste all things pickled,” says Paleno.

Blue Ghost Brewing has pledged to donate $1 to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity per pint sold. The event will include a variety of food options provided by Kinfolk, The Hungry Ghost, Up All Night Bottling Co. and Frios Gourmet Pops of WNC, as well as activities such as themed games, face painting and fairy hair applications.

Progressive Southern rock band The Log Noggins and multi-instrumental singer/songwriter Daniel Sage plan to perform.

As for the pickles? Paleno has prepared an offering of classic favorites, such as the Serious Dill pickle variety and the pickled red onions with star anise, as well as new snack-pack-sized variations of the Silly Dilly, En Fuego, Basil & Balsamic Beets and the aforementioned Serious Dill.

“Supporting local is both fun and easy to do here in WNC,” says Paleno. “We do what we do with love and a commitment to bringing generations together, and we value the work of Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity in rising to meet the challenges of housing in our area.”

Blue Ghost Brewing Co. is at 125 Underwood Road, Fletcher. Visit avl.mx/cth for additional information.

Light Your Fire

Heritage Fire, an outdoor culinary experience bringing together local chefs to celebrate cooking over a live fire, takes place Sunday, July 16, 4-7 p.m., at The Horse Shoe Farm.

“Heritage Fire is designed as an educational and immersive experience aiming to enlighten consumers about the importance of honest food sourced from real farmers,” says Isabella Ballesteros, event organizer at A21 — the team behind the event. “We’re bringing together some of the top chefs, bartenders, winemakers, brewers, farmers and purveyors in the region for a live-fire feast.”

Over 20 local chef participants will each create their own fire-fueled dish in hopes of winning Best Bite of the Day, to be voted on by event attendees. Last year’s winner, chef Owen McGlynn of Asheville Proper and Little D’s, returns to defend his title against a loaded field eager to dethrone the reigning champ.

Tickets costing $125 for general admission and $175 for VIP early access include all food and beverage offerings. DJ Labonita provides the event’s live soundtrack, and Smoky Mountain Axe House will contribute live ax throwing.

The Horse Shoe Farm is at 155 Horse Shoe Farm Drive, Hendersonville. Visit avl.mx/bqo for tickets and a full list of event details and participants.

Steady Drip

Three’s company for coffee café The Dripolator, also known as “The Drip,” after opening its third location in South Asheville’s Gerber Village.

“We felt like South Asheville was underserved in the specialty coffee arena because it’s such a bustling and busy area,” says founder Amy Vermillion of the motivation behind the latest expansion. “We hope this café will be another, ‘third place’ for anyone who wants to gather friends or do a little work, or who commutes and needs to get in and out quickly with a hot (or cold) latte.”

The look and feel of the third Drip are distinct from that of the other two locations. “We like to call it romantic industrial,” explains Vermillion. “The space is roomy and bright with lots of windows, and it’s accessible via an outdoor patio space and garage door.”

However, the menu, Vermillion states, “is exactly the same as at our original location in Black Mountain. You can expect all of your favorites, like our Cubano, the Golden Milk Latte and the delicious cold brew we make in house with Ethiopian beans roasted at our Candler store.”

The Dripolator’s new location is at 20 Gala Drive, Suite G-101. Visit avl.mx/cti for more news and updates.

Grata Pizzeria says ‘ciao’

Grata Pizzeria has permanently closed.

“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve you our delicious pizzas for the past three and a half years and appreciate all the support we have received from the Asheville community,” say owners Grant and Rubí-Sabel Fox in an announcement on social media.

The former Grata owners cite a “drastic decline in sales” in 2023 as the primary factor in the difficult decision. After UpCountry Brewing Co. closed its operations in the building shared with Grata at 1042 Haywood Road earlier this year, customer confusion as to whether or not Grata remained open contributed greatly to that decline. But the Fox family views this decision as a “see you later” more than a “goodbye.”

“We are sad and disappointed at this situation but are looking forward to the next chapter in our lives and are excited about the prospect of getting back to normal 40-hour workweeks,” says the couple.

Kids eat free

The Buncombe County Schools communications department has announced that breakfast and lunch will be provided at no cost to all students for the next school year.

Beginning Aug. 28, this new program will be implemented for schools in Buncombe County via the Community Eligibility Provision, a national option for schools in low-income areas that allows all students to receive free meals without application.

Parents with questions about this announcement are encouraged to contact the Buncombe Schools Nutrition Office at 828-255-5932 or visit avl.mx/ctl.


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