An Exhaustive Guide to Asheville, North Carolina for Epicureans

When I traveled to Asheville for my first Food Blog Forum, I wasn’t certain what to expect. Would the bloggers be foodies? Tech geniuses? Maybe they would all be brilliant writers. Turns out, they are all of those things and much more.

The food blogging community has grown rapidly over the past decade. With resurgence in the family dinner and a new found awareness of the impact large food producers can have on long-term health, many who once avoided the kitchen are now putting pan to stove and taking control of the way they eat.

Luckily, there is an entire community of passionate and compassionate lovers of the craft there to support them. Enter, the food bloggers. Not only can you find the novel holiday cookie recipes of your childhood and checklists to put on the perfect birthday party but these talented women and men share their knowledge of complex topics like induction technology and molecular gastronomy.

Early Girl Eatery

Early Girl Eatery

The blogs they are producing are not digital diaries although they are certainly entertaining at times. Instead, they are the wise words of farmers, chefs, moms and dads, food stylists, mixologists, retired restaurant owners, photographers, authors, and perhaps most importantly, the individuals you often unknowingly lean on in a pinch to get dinner on the table.

It was a great honor to be amongst this talented group and I’m certainly grateful for their recent-ish addition to the foodservice community. Follow along as I recap our exploration of Asheville’s independent restaurant scene, Biltmore Estate, and many of Asheville’s farms and craft food and beverage producers. From Cobb pizza ovens to a Scotch-Irish brewery founded by a Korean man raised in Jamaica, we covered it all.

Pour yourself a favorite drink, sit back, relax, and enjoy a taste of the mountain town we came to know as Foodtopia.

Biltmore Estate from Diana

Biltmore Estate from the Diana Venue

From the Heart of Foodtopia, Biltmore Estate Shines as a Beacon of Culinary Excellence

Opulence and grandeur are accepted as commonplace at the Biltmore Estate located in the majestic foothills of Asheville, North Carolina. While visiting for the 2014 Food Blog Forum, I had the unique opportunity to tour the Biltmore Estate from a foodie’s perspective. We visited several dining rooms, the butler’s pantry, the main kitchen, and completed our tour with a taste of Biltmore’s current culinary offerings. If you have visited Biltmore before you may be familiar with their award-winning winery or one of their several impressive restaurants but here are a few lesser known facts from my trip to this must-experience portion of Asheville’s Foodtopia. Read More>>

Cocktail Specialist Nicole Anhalt

Cocktail Expert Nicole Anhalt Previously of Top of the Monk

Nicole Anhalt Combines Classic Culinary Skill with Precision Cocktail Production

Classically trained as a pastry chef, Nicole Anhalt knew that the food and beverage industry was just the place she wanted to call home. Keen on increasing her knowledge base out of school in Charleston, South Carolina, she headed to Belgium to study chocolate. Read more>>

Wedge Brewing, Asheville

Photo by Explore Asheville – Wedge Brewing

Asheville Independent Restaurants (AIR)

Asheville, North Carolina is home to one of the nation’s strongest independent restaurant scenes. With passionate food entrepreneurs, activists, producers, and a heavy emphasis on sustainable practices, not only is this micro region proving there is great opportunity for the ambitious but they’re also furthering the idea that you can do well by doing good. Read more>>

Mini Chocolate Cupcake

Highland Brewing Inspired Cupcake by French Broad Chocolates

French Broad Chocolates Brings Bean-to-Bar to Appalachia

There’s farm-to-table, nose-to-tail, and even glass-to-grass, but today I present to you bean-to-bar. Meaning the art of participating in the growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, and marketing of chocolate. Enter French Broad Chocolates out of Asheville, North Carolina and the impressive family that has made bean-to-bar a reality.

Their journey is inspiring, their chocolate is spectacular, and their mission is changing the way consumers look at an entire industry. Check out French Broad Chocolates online and peruse their blog for one of the best socially responsible entrepreneurial stories since Clif Bar.

Highland Brewing Event

Highland Brewing and the Taste of Asheville Event

Asheville, North Carolina Boasts Record Number of Breweries

Asheville, North Carolina is home to the nation’s highest brewery per capita rate with approximately one brewery per 8,000 residents. While visiting, Highland Brewing graciously hosted the Taste of Asheville event in their eclectic, indoor event pace. With chefs sharing impressive culinary treats from their eateries, a great live band, and over 120 bloggers, it was quite the experience. Check out a few pictures from the event and some interesting facts about the Asheville beer scene. Read more>>

Asheville Food Producers

Hickory Nut Gap Farm Photos

Hickory Nut Gap Farm Grass Fed Beef

Hickory Nut Gap Farm is a producer of grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, and free range chicken and eggs. Visit for seasonal offerings and hours of operation.

Smoked Trout from Sunburst Trout Farm

Sunburst Trout Farm Smoked Trout

Sunburst Trout Farm is an artisan third generation trout farm located in Haywood County, North Carolina. These sustainably raise, antibiotic free trout are available at and at a variety of regional grocers.

Looking Glass Creamery Images

Looking Glass Creamery Goats and Cheese Offering

Looking Glass Creamery is an artisanal producer of handmade cheese and traditional goat’s milk caramel. Visit for more information on the creamery.

Hiking and Photographing Hickory Nut Gap Farm in Asheville, North Carolina

Food Bloggers Touring Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Food Blogging Community in Asheville and Beyond

If you have ever done a Google search for recipes, chances are you have found your way to a food blog. Full of helpful tips and tricks, reliable recipes, and honest accounts of some of the more imperfect moments in the kitchen, food blogs are great places for home chefs to find inspiration and get involved in the larger food community.

Over the course of the past decade, it seems that what was once a hobby for a select few has completely changed the way we approach cooking for our families, the ingredients we choose, and the tools we use to produce those carefully crafted recipes. Food blogging is no longer just a little something people do on the side or late at night, it’s become a viable career path for individuals from all sectors of the food community.

From famous chefs who blog about their culinary ventures to television personalities with a house full of kids, the community is growing and the expertise is vast. Some opt to blog as a creative outlet while others blog for financial freedom. Whether it be photography, recipe development, traveling, dietary restrictions, regional quirks, beer, cocktails, humor, homesteading, sourcing, going green, or a little bit of it all, there is a food blogger out there tackling the topic.

With the thousands of food blogs out there today, it’s easy to assume that the market is oversaturated. Luckily, there is always a new take on preparation, a regional perspective, or a new trend in the food world to begin blogging about. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of chefs across the globe and they still manage to keep things fresh.

To really capture the essence of what it means to be a food blogger and how it impacts the individual’s life, I approached a few of the bloggers I met while at the 2014 Food Blog Forum in Asheville, NC to complete a short questionnaire.

If you have been itching to start your very own food blog or just wonder what it’s like for these foodie folks, here’s your chance to get the inside scoop on the food blogging community.

Betty Becca Blog Photos

Visit Becca Ary at

Betty Becca by Becca Ary

There are a few things in life you can rely on: Things will always change, you will have to pay taxes, and your family will need to eat. Frighteningly aware of the later point, Becca Ary embarked on the journey of learning to cook after the birth of her son. Luckily, for anyone with her same situation, she blogged her way through the process. Check out Becca’s journey on her blog, Betty Becca. Read more>>

Photos from Life, Love, and Good Food

Visit Sheila Thigpen at

Life, Love and Good Food blog by Sheila Thigpen

Certain that the very best times in life involve good food, the life-long collector of cookbooks and home chef took the advice of friends and loved ones to start a food blog. With a combination of great, Southern inspired eats, beautiful photography, and a friendly voice, prepare for time to slip away as you get lost in Sheila Thigpen’s blog, Life, Love and Good Food. Read more>>

Southern Kissed Blog Photos

Visit Lynda Self at

Southern Kissed blog by Lynda Self

After putting down her stethoscope and bidding her nursing career adieu, Lynda Self realized there was a serious need for something to fill her spare time. Her mom suggested a blog, which happened to be a great fit for this food-loving, traveling gal. Now, two years later, you too can keep up with her post-traditional-career life on her blog, Southern Kissed. Read more>>

This Cookin Dad Photos

Visit Brian Mellot at

This Cookin’ Dad blog by Brian Mellott

From U.S. infantry to full-time dad and blogger, This Cookin’ Dad is Brian Mellott’s collection of tales from his new, food-filled life. Check out his favorite biscuit spot in Asheville, find out how he tackles lighting struggles in food photography, or read along as he takes you on the latest of his travel adventures. Visit This Cookin’ Dad for the guy’s kitchen perspective and much more. Read More>>

Cobb Pizza Oven

Cooking in a Cobb oven at Looking Glass Creamery

Plan Your Own Trip to Foodtopia

If you’re planning your own trip to Asheville, North Carolina, be sure to check out the Visit Asheville website for an extensive guide to planning your trip and various city highlights from the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau. There you will find information about Biltmore Estate, the best places to stay, upcoming events, foodie happenings, and much more.

Biltmore's Land

View of Biltmore Forrest from Biltmore House

Can’t Get Enough of Asheville? Check back soon!

While in Asheville, we also had the opportunity to meet with award winning Chef Katie Button of Cúrate and Nightbell for a quick i

Chelsea B. Sanz
Chelsea B. Sanz

Chelsea Sanz has lived in East Tennessee since her family moved here from South Florida just before she started high school. While she initially begrudged her new home state, she eventually realized she had come to not only love it, but to “bleed orange” as University of Tennessee Volunteers fans here like to say. She and her boyfriend Hunter, a trail worker for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, enjoy exploring the nation’s most visited national park and coming up with their own farm-to-table recipes.

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