Courier April/May Courier - Page 30

Foodie cities and scenes the serious cook and informative tours for the rest of the group. For more information, contact Visit Napa Valley’s Corbie Smith at corbie@ visitnapavalley.com or go to visitnapa valley.com. What can you say about a smallish city in the Smokies that has more than 250 independent restaurants (six of them with James Beard-nominated chefs); 14 farmers markets, including the nation’s first wild foods market; and 1,000 family farms in the surrounding area? You can say that Asheville’s vibrant and robust food scene makes it deserv- ing of its moniker, Foodtopia. That is, when it’s not being referred to as Beer City, the result of having the most brew- eries per capita (1 per 41 residents) in the United States. Naturally, a city with this kind of food cred has a lot to offer groups. For starters, Eating Asheville offers walking tours to give foodies an inside look at Foodtopia. You can book your group on the High Roller Tour to sample the cre- ations of the city’s award-winning chefs, or the Classic Tour, where they can enjoy up to seven restaurants in a single after- noon. And if you prefer, the company Montford Rooftop Bar at the Hyatt Place hotel, Asheville can tailor a private tour for your group. Smaller groups (a maximum of 12 people, including the driver) can take advantage of a discounted farm-to-table van tour. These guided tours visit farms specializing in produce, cheese, chicken, beef, lamb and flowers, and they include an opportunity to meet the farmers. Most tours culminate with a farm- driven meal prepared by a local chef. If farm-to-table is too tame for your group, book them on a forage-to-table adventure with No Taste Like Home, the only company of its kind in North America. These tours take guests “off the eaten” path into fields and forests to learn about wild foods. Groups can opt to cook their own foraged foods or take them to one of the company’s partner restaurants for a “find dining” experi- ence. No Taste Like Home also offers pri- vate, customized tours for groups, with an option for a wild foods cooking class. Foraging can be thirsty work, so you might want to include a guided walk- ing tour that takes your group behind the scenes at some of those 41 brewer- ies. Led by a certified beer expert, the walks focus on how brewers shape raw ingredients into their individual vision, and tours include a lot of tasting along the way. For more information, go to explore asheville.com or contact Beth McKinney at bmckinney@exploreasheville.com. Cotton Row Restaurant, Huntsville Huntsville, Alabama: A food scene that’s out of this world 26 April/May 2018 Huntsville may be better known as home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center than for its reputation as a city for foodies, but according to Kristen Pepper, marketing manager for the Huntsville CVB, the culinary scene has taken off in recent years with … well, the speed of a rocket. With a number of excellent restau- rants in the historical downtown area, your group will be spoiled for choice. A good way to maximize their experi- ence is to book them for Dine and Dash. Held the second Wednesday of every month from April through October, this Asheville, North Carolina: America’s Foodtopia