Going on Faith

JUN-JUL 2016

The Magazine for faith-based travel planners.

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going on faith [ june | july 2016 ] 24 Welcome to Flavortown S ome people eat to live; oth- ers live to eat. The latter is true in cities that have earned street cred in the food and beverage scene. From multiethnic restaurants and food trucks to award-winning chefs and spe- cialized food tours, these five cities offer a dash of spice, aroma, flavor and cre- ativity for groups looking for amazing gastronomic adventures. Diners dig into dishes at Asheville's famous Buxton Hall Barbecue. [ A S H E V I L L E , N O RT H C A RO L I N A ] Situated an hour from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Asheville, North Carolina, proudly boasts the moniker "Foodtopia," a nod to its more than 250 independent restaurants and 14 farmers markets in a city of only 87,000 people. Peppering this wealth of culinary options is Asheville's distinctive foothills cuisine — comfort food dishes like shrimp and grits, fried chicken and the like, with a local, Appalachian twist. On many restaurant menus, you'll find ingredients like wild mushrooms, rhubarb, apples, ramps — a type of wild onion that peaks for only about two weeks in April — and trout from area rivers. "Asheville has a lot of incredible James Beard-nominated and award-winning chefs who see Asheville as a place to come and be creative," said Landis Taylor, public relations specialist with the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Another thing that sets the food scene apart is the collaborative spirit here, where some of our best chefs work together on special themed dinners and projects that benefit the community." Epicurean activities that welcome groups include Wild Food Foraging Tours with Alan Muscat, known as Asheville's "Mushroom Man" and as an "alum" of television's "Bizarre Foods," and Asheville Food Tours, with tasting pit stops at more than a half-dozen local eateries. For chocoholics, there's the famous French Broad Chocolate Lounge with its own Willy Wonka-style factory tour where workers sort, crack, winnow, roast, grind and mold their own bean-to-bar chocolate. GREAT DINING SPOTS FOR GROUPS: Isa's Bistro celebrates western North Carolina's seasonal harvest and fresh local produce; Posana serves contemporary American cuisine with local, seasonal farm-to-table ingredients; The Market Place Restaurant and Lounge has a menu it describes as "equally healthy, locally sourced, unique, and delicious"; and Buxton Hall Barbecue is a former roller-skating rink turned whole-hog wood-fired barbecue joint. www.exploreasheville.com F O O D I E S F L O C K T O T H E S E C U L I N A RY D E S T I N AT I O N S by LYS A A L L M A N - B A L D W I N By Andrew Thomas Lee, courtesy Explore Asheville

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