On the third and final day of the trip, we were taken by bus to the Highland Brewing Company. We were invited to enjoy a gourmet food tasting experience showcasing the flavors of Foodtopia, hosted by Explore Asheville. Another event of food, music, and drink!
Everyone made us feel so welcome and were happy to entertain us. The chefs and restaurateurs wanted to talk with us and answer any questions we had. There were so many fabulous items to try along with brew from the Highland Brewery Company. I didn’t get to everything, but I tried really hard! My favorites were the Duck in Three Ways Sliders, from The Junction and chocolates from French Broad Chocolates. There were also several different beers to try from the brewery. I tend to like the darker beers and really enjoyed the Thunderstruck Coffee Porter.
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For the second part of the tour, we were taken to visit two local farms. The first farm was Hickory Nut Gap Farm. Upon arrival, we were greeted by co-owners, Jamie and Amy Ager. While Amy prepared samples of their grass-fed beef to share with us, (Pan seared with no seasoning. So delicious!) Jamie told us about the history of the farm and how they were fourth generation farmers. He talked about life on the farm and what it means to their family. Jamie also took us on a little hike up the side of a hill to visit the grass-fed cows. Beautiful and peaceful scenery! I just wanted to stay there for a little while.
I think we where ready for the air conditioned bus after the walk up the hill! About a twenty minute drive away, we stopped by Looking Glass Creamery. A goat farm producing hand crafted cheeses. We were greeted by the owners and one of their friendly goat! Flowers grown by a local farmer were being handed to us as were divided into several groups.The groups worked their way around to each set up that was prepared for us. I went to the outdoor pizza oven first. There was someone there making pizza from fresh milled flour, local produce and cheese from the creamery. I did not get his name or business, but the pizza was very flavorful. We then went inside the creamery to sample cheeses, all very good! Many of the local restaurants use Looking Glass Creamery products. We also had the chance to try local Sake from Blue Kudzu Sake company. They offered two samples, traditional sake and a sweet sake made with coconut. I liked both even thought they were very different. Sunburst Trout Farms was offering samples of their smoked rainbow trout dip and trout meat jerky. Very interesting, but good.
Another day of so many wonderful foods and experiences! But wait… I still have to tell you about the evening part of the tour. I will leave that for the next segment.