Sometimes you have to retreat in order to advance. Counter-intuitive? Not necessarily–especially when the retreat is a well-organized time apart from the daily grind in order to focus on something of importance.
Last weekend, I had a chance to join Eat Write Retreat in their first EWR: Destination Learning series, which incorporated “skill-building and networking into a fascinating exploration of a unique, food-focused community.” The destination just happened to be Asheville, and the company for which I work just happened to be one of the event sponsors, so I got to hang out with some very interesting folks who make a living through writing and blogging about food.
Fantastic foodies Robyn Webb and Casey Benedict developed the program “as a way to strengthen connections in the food blogging community through a shared exploration of cooking, writing and photography. Robyn and Casey have worked tirelessly to create an intensive, hands-on learning weekend, full of opportunity, friendship and fun at a great value.” (That’s how the EWR website describes it, and I’d definitely agree!)
As as overview, we accomplished the following in our short Asheville weekend:
- Friday: wine tasting and dinner at Biltmore.
- Saturday: breakfast at Early Girl Eatery; tour of Hickory Nut Gap Farm (and their very cool farmhouse, with its long history!); a beer-tasting lunch at The Market Place Restaurant with special guest Oscar Wong of Highland Brewing Company; a chocolate-tasting and lesson in cacao production from French Broad Chocolates; a wine and local cheese tasting with Sante Wine Bar; and last–but far from least–dinner at Carmel’s with wines by Shelton Vineyards and desserts courtesy of True Confections.
- Sunday: a light breakfast at True Confections; a tour of Blue Ridge Food Ventures (including a meeting with a filmmaker who’s working with local farms); and finally, a tapas lunch at Cúrate.
I believe a truly good time was had by all, even if we were dragging a bit by the end of the weekend. Though some menus were small/tasting-style, it was a LOT of food (and drink!) to consume in less than 48 hours.
Next time, I’ll dig deeper–with my fork–into the specifics of each element of the retreat. Be sure to read when you’re hungry!