Kombucha, a fermented tea, has grown in popularity in recent years, and many locals are loyal to the Buchi brand. Started in an Asheville community kitchen, the company has grown by leaps and bounds since its start as the first commercial brewery in the Southeast. Buchi flavors serve as an homage to the natural world with names like Earth, Water, Fire and Air, and one of the best places to try this tangy, bubbly concoction is at The Buchi Bar. In collaboration with Rosetta’s Kitchen, the Buchi Bar in downtown Asheville serves Buchi flights so guests can try multiple flavors, and bartenders use the probiotic beverage to mix cocktails, too.
116 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC, USA, +1 828 232 0738
This chocolate powerhouse started out of the owners’ kitchen and quickly outgrew its first tiny shop. Today, French Broad occupies practically a block of downtown with its lounge and small boutique and operates a factory and tasting room in Asheville’s South Slope district. Some of its most popular and award-winning items include strawberry balsamic truffles, lavender honey caramels and lemongrass-ginger truffles.
10 S Pack Square, Asheville, NC, USA, +1 828 252 4181
Asheville’s talented 30+ brewers have helped cement the city’s Beer City status and its 4th-place most-breweries-per-capita status. So, order a local brew with a meal, visit one of the breweries for a sampler flight or even head to Brew Pump to experience a bar inside a gas station. Need a little guidance? Bottle shops like Bruisin’ Ales, Tasty Beverage and Hops and Vines staff employees who know their beer and can make recommendations.
Not a beer drinker? Never fear – Asheville has a strong craft beverage game beyond just brews. Opt for creative sakes at Ben’s Tune-Up, hit Urban Orchard Cider Co. or Noble Cider, or go to Ginger’s Revenge to try locally made alcoholic ginger beer.
In North Carolina, a barbecue battle has been waging for decades as the state has two barbecue styles: Eastern and Western. Eastern-style barbecue sauce has a vinegar base with zero tomato, while Western, or Lexington, style is a red sauce. Try Eastern-style at Buxton Hall Barbecue downtown, or go to locals’ favorite 12 Bones to top your ’cue with either Eastern- or Western-style sauces.
It’s no surprise that beer mustards have become a popular condiment in a thriving Beer City. Interested consumers can find beer mustards produced directly from Sierra Nevada Brewing, or pick up bottles made with Highland Brewing Company beers produced by Crooked Condiments.
Another Asheville-made condiment creator to put on your radar is Smoking J’s Fiery Foods. It, too, utilizes local beer to create sauces, like its Asheville Brewing Company Ninja Porter BBQ or Highland Black Mocha Stout BBQ. Or, try one of its hot sauces, salsas or rubs to put a little bit of Asheville in any dish.
36 Rootstock Rd, Candler, NC, USA, +1 828 230 9652
Asheville has several coffee roasters, and one of the best is PennyCup. This small-batch roaster earned “Best of Western North Carolina” accolades in 2017 partly for its commitment to only sourcing sustainable coffee, and now has three locals in the River Arts District, downtown and in East Asheville.
39 S Market St, Asheville, NC, USA, +1 828 505 3609
Biscuit Head serves some of the best breakfast in town, and its giant cat-head-size biscuits become even more delicious when topped with one of its housemade jams, butters and jellies. Its product line will continue to grow as its footprint.
733 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC, USA, +1 828 333 5145
For a non-food item to try from Asheville, consider trying an ENO hammock, which has been produced here since 1999. Its parachute hammocks are considered some of the most comfortable in the world and has made ENO the industry’s leader, and these hammocks can be found at REI stores and other outdoor goods suppliers.