Greetings Foodtopia fans! Nothing makes us happier than having our little mountain town featured amongst some of the big players of our nation. We’ve been seeing a rise in the mention of Asheville across many publications over the last few years- and we don’t see that stopping any time soon. Recently, Forbes highlighted the ideal “North Carolina Road Trip”, which was a two part write up on all the not-to-miss stops on any driving adventure through our state. We are proud to see our Foodtopia listed amongst the top stops, including several of Asheville’s best restaurants being listed as must-taste excursions. Below is an excerpt from the publication, and the full article is available here.
Asheville is booming, a liberal city in the middle of a very conservative part of the country. It’s become popular for destination weddings and hungry tourists thanks to the great restaurants, craft beer, and chocolate. The music and arts scene is thriving too and that’s especially apparent in the River Arts District, where you’ll find more than 200 artists working with paint, pottery, metal, fiber, glass, wax and more in former industrial warehouses. Book a private tour with Asheville Studio Art Tours and glass artist John Almaguer will organize visits with artists according to your interests. You can even learn to throw clay or blow glass. North Carolina is a mecca for potters, thanks to the abundant clay soils from the mountains to the beaches. East Fork Pottery makes some of the best if you’re looking for plateware and pottery to take home. They have a downtown storefront and will be opening a new studio with tours and classes this fall.
The Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville is a snazzy hotel for art lovers just 10 minutes south of downtown. The Kessler Collection property is themed after an 18th century Bavarian hunting lodge (there are lots of antlers everywhere) and the eclectic décor includes ivory inlay columns from India and massive entry doors from Bali. Much of the art in the ground floor gallery and in hallways is for sale, with a focus on pieces by North Carolina artists.
The Omni Grove Park Inn is Asheville’s grandest lodging option, a bucolic resort just north of downtown with one of the best spas in the country, a championship golf course and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Between the indoor and outdoor pools and plethora of spa treatments, you might never leave the property. Even if you aren’t staying here, the spa is worth booking far in advance. Try a massage followed by a spell in the multi-sensory wellness pod, a vibrating shell that offers infrared light therapy, dry heat, aromatherapy and jade energy healing all at the same time. The cocoon is a little like an MRI machine or tanning bed, only infinitely more comfortable and less claustrophobic thanks to the ergonomic design. Your head sticks out the whole time and you can adjust everything, including the pulsating pattern.
Quite by accident, I visited Asheville during VeganFest and tried a number of intriguing foods, from jackfruit carnitas to acorn flour. But in Asheville, every day you can find ample healthy eats to accommodate a variety of diets. Start your day at BimBeriBon, arguably the best breakfast in town. Everything is gluten-free and made without refined sugar, although you’d never guess by how delicious those éclairs and tahini cookies are. The all-day cafe draws upon global flavors, from Indian dosas and savory Chinese jiang bing crêpes to Filipino adobo fried chicken and quinoa paella.
Sovereign Remedies is another restaurant elevating local produce to an art form. Delicate grilled asparagus are accented with pickled green strawberries and crisp bamboo shoots, rounded out with a rich brown butter almond crumble. Esoteric ingredients like robust agretti and sweet serviceberries play well together and stand out in a scene where every chef purports to be farm-to-table. Executive Chef Graham House has such a deft touch with vegetables, but his chili honey chicken skin crisps and bone marrow tater tots will never go out of style either. If dining here gives you an herbalist predilection, swing by The Herbiary next door. Founder Maia Toll has a new book – The Illustrated Herbiary – coming out next month. She’s like a real life Professor Sprout from Harry Potter.
Even French Broad Chocolates, Asheville’s bean-to-bar chocolate maker and best chocolatier has a surprisingly wide array of dairy-free options, including a divine olive oil chocolate cake. Their robin’s egg blue lounge is the perfect place for an afternoon affogato treat. Then stock up on truffles and bars for the road. Beyond Yummi’s chocolate and peanut butter balls are another locally made healthy snack.
Another perfect addition to any trip through Asheville would be a culinary exploration through downtown’s best restaurants! Our food tours run every day of the week and are particularly great during these summer months. Check out our website at www.eatingasheville.com for more information and to book your spot today!