Move over Tokyo, Paris and San Sebastian – the Asheville food scene is fast becoming one of the world’s top spots gourmet-lovers. After all, what pairs better with fresh mountain air, than vineyards, farmers markets and innovative dishes from some of the country’s best chefs?
Locals know their city as Foodtopia, with seasonal produce, more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the US and restaurants that dare to be different. It’s little wonder that millions of visitors flock to the city every year, with many searching for Asheville real estate, in order to reside permanently in the foodie heaven.
Are you ready for a taste sensation? Here’s a look at some top spots for your taste buds, in Asheville, North Carolina.
Asheville Food Scene: Farmer’s Markets
Nothing tastes better than home grown produce and you’re never far from a farmer’s market for Asheville food. Everything from meats, condiments and cheese to baked goods and honey awaits, at more than 17 local tailgate markets.
WNC Farmer’s Market opens seven days a week, near downtown Asheville. Spread over thirty six acres, you’ll enjoy panoramic views along with fruits, vegetables, freshly baked breads, cookies, jams, jellies and sourwood honey. If you can’t wait until you get home to your Asheville property to eat, you’ll find a deli and a café onsite.
The North Asheville Tailgate Market season runs from April 1 to November 18 on Saturday each year, with over 40 vendors. Sustainable produce, meats, cheeses, eggs, plants and crafts are on offer, with chef demonstrations and dietitian talks contributing to a healthier community.
Located in Biltmore Park Town Square, Asheville City Market South opens on Wednesday afternoons from April to October. Put together by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, the market highlights local food, farmers and artisans from Western North Carolina. Stock up on dairy, meats, vegetarian options, condiments, snacks and homemade body care products.
Asheville’s ever-evolving restaurant scene caters to everyone, from adventurous gourmets to those with a penchant for down-home Southern cooking. Though the produce is local, chefs from all over the world contribute to a dining mecca that’s attracting international attention, for all the right reasons.
Satisfying your Italian cravings, Cucina24 is chef, Brian Canipelli’s melding of tradition and foods from the mountains of the American South. With nearly every ingredient sourced from local farmers, foragers and gardeners, here you’ll try innovative dishes like royal red shrimp with blistered French beans and peppers.
Cúrate, meaning “cure yourself”, celebrates traditional Spanish cuisine, in the style of a vibrant tapas bar. Enjoy foods flavored with sherry, olives, almonds and smoky paprika, including Jamón Ibérico, croquetas, patatas bravas and crema catalana. The open kitchen creates an exciting atmosphere, perfect for dinner before heading out to one of Asheville’s many entertainment events.
A joint love of food and Asheville inspired Elliott Moss and Merherwan Irani to open Buxton Hall, an ode to barbeque. Here, this means whole hog slowly cooked over coals, with a thin vinegar-pepper sauce. Or, you could try an original buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, with pimento and American cheese, white barbeque sauce and pickles.
With a nickname like “Beer City”, you know you’re in for a craft brew treat. With so many options, it’s best to start with a custom-made tour. Asheville Brewery Tours include vintage breweries, dog-friendly tours and, of course, tastings at all the top spots.
Hi-Wire Brewing honor the heritage of traditional styles, while embracing experimentation. A fun circus theme adds to the appeal, especially via the Big Top Taproom and Production Facility, where you can enjoy a pint next to the tanks they were created in.
Burial Beer Co. offers a family and dog-friendly space, where you can try favorites such as Skillet Donut Stout and Bolo Coconut Brown Ale. The 10 barrel brew house offers creative pilot batches on a weekly basis and a Jazz Brunch on Sundays, with New Orleans-inspired cuisine.
If you’re a fan of European style beer, you’ll love French Broad Brewery. Makers of award-winning fine lagers and specialty ales since 1999, you’ll try European brews with an American twist on a tour or at the tasting room accompanied by live music.
A local favorite, Green Man Brewery is one of North Carolina’s original breweries. Try specialty beer at the tasting room, Dirty Jack’s on Buxton Avenue, while overlooking the brewers in action. Or, visit the new Greenmansion, offering a “brewtique” retail shop and top floor tasting room complete with Blue Ridge Mountain views competing for attention with the production floor.
Asheville, North Carolina Vineyards
The geographical diversity of North Carolina is great news for wine lovers, with a wealth of vineyards just a pleasant daytrip from Asheville. Topping the list is America’s largest private home, built by George Vanderbilt. Biltmore’s historic winery rests on an 8,000-acre estate and produces award-winning reds, whites and rosés. Enjoy tastings at the indoor/outdoor wine bar, along with cheeses, charcuterie and truffles.
Raffaldini Vineyards in a 102-acre estate with a Tuscan villa surrounded by roses and Italian herbs. Figs, olive trees and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains tantalize the senses as much as the bold reds and complex whites made from grapes grown by hand. Enjoy wine tastings, vineyard tours and the opportunity to buy your favorites to take to your own Asheville luxury homesite.
Family owned and locally operated Burntshirt Vineyards, is a popular wedding destination in the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Hendersonville. The tasting room is located in a renovated farmhouse with rolling, vineyard views and the estate often holds live music events.
Visiting farmers markets, restaurants, vineyards and breweries, you could spend months just scratching the surface of the Asheville food scene, as it is. However, the city’s culinary star is rapidly on the rise, now and into the future – so plan to stay a little longer.