Rock the Taste has tasty samples of food and beverages

Barbara Hootman

The 16th annual Rock the Taste on Wednesday, May 11 tingles the taste buds with food from local restaurants and palate-pleasing wines, beers and cider from local breweries. The event, from 5:30-7 p.m., is at White Horse Black Mountain, 105 Montreat Road, Black Mountain.

The event is an epicurean festivity where diners sample some of the best the Swannanoa Valley has to offer. The convivial atmosphere encourages friendly conversation.

One of the newest participants is unWine’d at Mellie Mac’s.

“We will pair lavender-infused truffles with white wine for tasting, and much more,” Mellie Bryant, unWine’d’s owner, said. “So many people think unWine’d is just a wine bar. But that is far from the truth. We offer an unusual selection of food to go with our wines and nonalcoholic drinks. So we want to introduce people to what we have. Our display will also have an edible flower theme, which should prove to be interesting.”

The Red Rocker Inn, a Rock the Taste favorite, will return for its ninth year. It won Best Dessert in 2013 and 2015 and Best of Show in 2014.

Its “teasers” at this year’s festival will include smoked trout croquettes, blue cheese-stuffed meatloaf, wild ramp mashed potatoes and blackberry cobbler, co-owner Jenny Bowman said.

“One of the best things about Black Mountain’s culinary scene,” she said, “is that our restaurants love to serve fresh, local, organic food, and yet there is so much variety in the presentation of the food. The Rock the Taste event allows guests and locals to sample all the great things their town has to offer. But more importantly, tasters have the chance to meet the people and the talent behind those dishes they enjoy.

“It’s one of the benefits of a small community like Black Mountain,” Bowman said. “These are your neighbors cooking for you, and you can get to know them. Like all the participating restaurants, The Red Rocker Inn hopes that people will think of all the great dining places right here in their own town when it’s time to eat out.”

The list of participants for Rock the Taste also includes Kilwin’s Chocolates, Black Mountain Bistro, Johnnie’s Catering, My Father’s Pizza, Artisan Gourmet Market, Fresh Wood Fired Pizza, Lookout Brewing Co., Highland Brewing Co. and Pisgah Brewing Co. Tony Kiss, The Asheville Citizen-Times’ Carolinas beer reporter, will be one of the judges.

Restaurants and breweries will compete in award categories Best of Show, Best Local Dish, Best Dessert, Best Brew and Best Display. Two local artists will paint two rockers during Rock the Taste. One of the rocking chairs will be raffled at the end of the evening.

My Father’s Pizza will have their popular meatballs for tasting and much more. “There will be much more, but there will definitely be meatballs,” said Chloe Riddle.

Rock the Taste is sponsored by the Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce for the purpose of showcasing the great food available in the Valley.

“The chamber of commerce is very proud of the quality and quantity of our local dining options,” executive director Bob McMurray said.

Rock your taste buds

Check ticket availability by stopping by or calling the Chamber Visitor Center at 669-2300. Tickets are $25 advance, $35 at the door, if available.