Thursday, July 25, 2013

Six Reasons to Attend the Asheville Food and Wine Festival

Anyone that knows me knows that adore food festivals.  A food festival is after all a celebration of all things food. And since I like to talk about food incessantly, food festivals for me are like Disney World to a 5 year old.One of the best food and wine festivals in the country is coming up in Asheville, North Carolina on Saturday, August 24th. Food plus wine, is there anything else that you would want?

Here are a few of my reasons why I think you should do a little road trip this summer:

1.  FOOD FIGHT – Who doesn’t love a good food fight? The WNC Chefs Challenge is an Iron Chef-Style battle with the region’s best chefs where you get to eat and decide who wins. For each round the chefs must create three delicious dishes around a secret ingredient.   Italian market and eatery “Dough” Chef, Brian Ross (right), will complete against Chef Anthony Cerrato (left) from Strada Italiano in the Semi-finals on August 21st.  The winner goes on to the Finale on August 24th in the Grand Tasting Tent at the Asheville Food and Wine Festival. Absolutely no one fights with passion like an Italian. This is a food event not to be missed.

2.  WINE, WINE AND MORE WINE – Over 300 wines from local and international wine makers and distributors all gathering in one place. If there is one thing that Italians love, it’s vino. This promises to have an amazing group of wine experts offering tastings, knowledge and tips on all things wine. Need I say more?

3.  WINE MAKING COMPETITION – This is a chance for those of you that have been making your own wine in your cellars to submit tastings to a wine panel that will judge and give a professional evaluation on your wine making skills and technique. Amateurs are invited to compete in a wine making competition held in The Grand Tasting Tent, Saturday, August 24th. Entry is easy and doesn’t cost a thing. To apply and get more information go to WNC Magazine’s website at

4.  ITALIAN MARKET, BAKERY AND EATERY – If you are attending the festival, be sure to stop by “DOUGH”, Asheville’s Italian market that sells prepared foods, sweets, sandwiches, an incredible assortment of cheese and Italian food products. A few of the cheeses offered are house made mozzarella, “Oreganzola” cheese, Provolone Piccante along a long list of specialty breads such as focaccia, pagnotta, and schiachiatta. Hard to find cooking products such as San Marzano tomatoes and Napoli pizza chef’s secret Antimo Caputo’s “00” flour are right there on the store shelves. Be sure to stop in for lunch and enjoy “the original Muffaletta” sandwich or Pop-Pop’s Sicilian Braciole with thinly sliced braised beef, marinara and house-made mozzarella in a Italian rustic loaf. Their Nutella Tart or Pistachio-Lime Bar is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. OH and did I mention that you can sign up for one of their fabulous cooking classes as well? Be sure to check out the schedule at

5.  MEET THE CHEFS – Here is your opportunity to meet and greet with some of the top chefs in the region. Chef Anthony Cerrato whose family owns Strada Italiano will be attending the festival. Some of Cerrato’s dishes at Strada include Tuscan Figs with Basil-Whipped Goat Cheese wrapped in Prosciutto over Arugula with a Chianti reduction. Or how about a Wild Mushroom Lasagna with fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheeses along caramelized cipollini onions, sundried tomatoes and a gorgonzola cream sauce? The menu boasts an incredible line-up of traditional Italian dishes made with the best local ingredients. Just one of the great Italian eateries that this city hasto offer.  Pictured above – “Catch of the Day – Salmon”.

6.  EAT EAT AND EAT – If you like to eat then food festivals are where it’s at. With over 125 chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, local artisans and wine-producers the Asheville Food and Wine Festival was dubbed “one of the country’s best food festivals” by The New York Post. At only $55 for general admission tickets to The Grand Tasting Tent this is an incredible opportunity to experience the best of the best. For tickets go to

Contributed by Monica of Local Italian Plate