What’s new in food: Unique ways to celebrate (or lament) Valentine’s Day

GET SMASHED: A guest takes a turn at smashing a car at Hi-Wire Brewing's annual Cupid Is Stupid celebration. This year's event takes place Sunday, Feb. 19. Photo courtesy of Hi-Wire Brewing

The way to someone’s heart is through the stomach — or so the saying goes. Whether you are looking to celebrate with your pals, by cursing your luck in love or (gasp!) by going on a romantic date, you will find several options below to whet your appetite.

Valentine’s flours

Carolina Ground, a boutique flour mill in Hendersonville, will host a pop-up market in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, on Sunday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The event will include goods such as pies, books, flowers and dyed yarns from several local businesses, including Milk Glass Pie, beeswax and butter, Simple Bread, Freckled Heron Studios and Bryson Farm.

Carolina Ground, which was started in 2012, operates as a community mill that aims to close the gap between farmers, millers and bakers. “Our pop-up markets are in a way an extension of this — engendering community through this mill,” says Jennifer Lapidus, founder and general manager. “We are so excited to finally be able to offer ‘bouquets’ of flours … special gift boxes of flours for Valentine’s Day.”

Carolina Ground is at 1237 Shipp St., Hendersonville. For more information, visit avl.mx/cda.

A different kind of crush

Editor’s note: This entry was updated on Feb. 10. 

Hi-Wire Brewing will hold its fourth annual Cupid Is Stupid car smashing event in the parking lot of its Biltmore Village taproom on Sunday, Feb. 19, 1-4 p.m. Sign-up is in person and is first come, first served. Smashing implements, sanitized protective eyewear and gloves will be provided. Hits are $5 for five swings or $10 for 15 swings.

An additional activity this year is the Hex Your Ex bonfire, in which attendees can purchase a hex, or a spell, for $2 to throw into the fire, with proceeds benefiting the Pink Boots Society, a nonprofit organization that helps advance the careers of women and nonbinary individuals in the fermented and alcoholic beverage industry.

Hi-Wire Brewing is at 2A Huntsman Place. For more information, visit avl.mx/cd7.

A perfect pair

Individuals 21 and older can learn about pairing locally made chocolates with wine at French Broad Chocolate’s Valentine’s Day Wine + Chocolate Tasting on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m. The $35 event, which includes three bonbons and three chocolate squares paired with three sample pours of wine, will feature selections from the chocolate factory’s XOXO collection. The presentation will also provide information about cacao farming and processing, as well as the history of the Asheville-based company.

“Guests will get to try a variety of our chocolates that range from our winter peppermint white chocolate chip to our single-origin Peruvian dark chocolate,” says tours and events manager Rhianna Scott. “We’re really excited to feature our Valentine’s Day bonbons … our dark chocolate cherry bonbon and our milk chocolate passion fruit bonbon.”

Wine samples will be Omen Red Blend, Wezcali We Love Pet Nat and Lingenfelder Reisling.

French Broad Chocolate Factory & Cafe is at 821 Riverside Drive. For more information, visit avl.mx/cdd.

For the masses

Pretend to marry your sweetheart, your best friend’s pet or really anything your heart desires at Fleetwood’s “Fake as Hell” Mass Wedding on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 8 p.m. For $25, attendees will get a ceremony for two, a Fleetwood’s “Fake as Hell” marriage certificate and a Champagne toast. The post-ceremony reception, which is open to anyone, will feature music and sweet treats.

Fleetwood’s is at 496 Haywood Road. For more information, visit avl.mx/cde.

Bowl battle

Leaving St. Valentine’s behind, we shift our focus to other food-related news. After a five-year hiatus, the Soup or Bowl competition will take place on Saturday, Feb. 11, 1-3 p.m, at Blue Ghost Brewing Co. Interested contestants can register by emailing their full name and what soup they will make to j@blueghostbrewing.com. Those entering are required to bring 6 quarts of soup, their own ladle and a 25-foot extension cord.

Winners will be chosen by attendees who purchase a $10 ticket, which will get them a 2-ounce cup of each soup. Trophies will be awarded to the top three soup makers. A portion of the collected proceeds will go to MANNA FoodBank.

Blue Ghost Brewing Co. is at 125 Underwood Road, Fletcher. For more information, visit avl.mx/cd8.

Build a board

Asheville Charcuterie Co. is holding a Galentine’s Day-themed charcuterie workshop at Ginger’s Revenge South Slope location Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6:30 p.m. For $65, a cheese stylist will teach you how to choose and present ingredients, as well as how to capture photos for social media.

Ginger’s Revenge South Slope Lounge is at 32 Banks Ave. For more information, visit avl.mx/cdf.


Speaking of Ginger’s Revenge, the Asheville-based alcoholic ginger beer brewery is partnering with South Carolina’s Bear Island Distributors to expand distribution into the Palmetto State. Ginger’s Revenge, a 6-year-old family-run company that currently distributes to 650 North Carolina locations, will work with its new partner over the coming months. Initially, the local company will deliver its four flagship products to South Carolina locations. Throughout the year, it will add smaller-batch items to its expanded distribution map.

“Bear Island felt like a natural fit for us,” David Ackley, co-founder and CEO of Ginger’s Revenge, says in a press release. “[Bear Island] is a family-run operation with ambitious goals and a commitment to a win-win partnership.”

Ginger’s Revenge Tasting Room and Brewery is at 829 Riverside Drive. For more information visit avl.mx/c0u.

Sharing the love

During February, Asheville Outlets is teaming up with MANNA FoodBank for the Food Is Love Food Donation Drive. According to the announcement, the focus will be on collecting healthy, nonperishable foods. Items needed include low-sodium canned vegetables, canned tuna and chicken, low-salt nuts, no-sugar-added fruits, shelf-stable milk, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, canola and olive oils, peanut butter, low-sodium soups, canned and dried beans and low-sugar cereals. Collection bins are in the outlet’s food court.

Asheville Outlets is at 800 Brevard Road. For more information, visit avl.mx/cdb.

Semifinalists announced

An Asheville restaurant and chef were named semifinalists in this year’s James Beard Foundation Awards. West Asheville’s Neng Jr.’s, a Filipino restaurant that opened last summer, is a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant, and Josiah McGaughey, executive chef at Vivian, is a contender for Best Chef in the Southeast region.

Finalists will be announced March 29, with the winners’ gala being held June 5 in Chicago.

For more information, visit avl.mx/cd9.

A meals milestone

Local nonprofit Food Connection has achieved the milestone of delivering half a million meals, or 205 tons of food, to those in need in Western North Carolina. The organization, which launched in 2015, schedules pickups of surplus prepared food from donors such as UNC Asheville, Ridgecrest Conference Center and Givens Highland Farms and then repackages the donations for distribution via the Food Connection Mobile Meals truck. The truck delivers meals free to neighborhoods and venues, offering families and individuals a menu of selections.

“We continue to believe that no fresh food should end up in the landfill while our neighbors go hungry,” says Marisha MacMorran, executive director, in a press release. “Food Connection connects the dots between those with too much food, to those without enough.”

For more information, visit avl.mx/97q.


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About Andy Hall
Andy Hall graduated from The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. After working at the United States Capitol for ten years, she has returned to her native state to enjoy the mountains — and finally become a writer.

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