Everyone loves bread. Whether you like it enriched with that tangy sourdough flavor, crunchy like a country baguette, or even gluten-free, our adoration for a good loaf extends across time and space. Since the earliest loaves of bread thousands of years ago, we’ve been looking to make them better and better. Happily, the Asheville Bread Festival on April 22nd and 23rd is here to help you do just that. This annual festival is founded on the idea that bread is more than food; it’s an art form, and all are welcome to partake in it.
Let’s take a look at what the event is, what activities it includes, where you’ll find it, and more.
What Is It?
Bakers and bread enthusiasts alike are excited to greet the 16th annual Asheville Bread Festival this year. Following its long tradition of serving up the best goodies and knowledge to North Carolina and surrounding areas, it will once again bring people together from near and far to break and bake bread.
Experts will enjoy meeting with other experts, sharing ideas, networking, and cooking up new challenges for the year ahead. Laypeople can come to learn more about the science of baking, sample myriad types of bread and pastry, and engage in workshops to hone their skills.
Whichever group describes you, you’ll find what you’re looking for during this year’s events, which take place over two days.
Day One kicks off on Saturday, April 22nd with a bread fair. There, you’ll find a huge society of bakers and artisans, serving up everything from danish to country loaves to butter and yogurt. The fair will also include flours you can sample and buy to take your baking game to the next level.
Later on Saturday, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a variety of workshops geared toward baking. Whether you’re looking to improve your body mechanics, learn to laminate pastry, culture the best possible sourdough starter, or anything else, there’s probably a workshop for that.
As if that’s not enough, festivalgoers can look forward to a panel in the evening, accompanied by a bread-soaked happy hour to round out the perfect day. Everyone is welcome at the Asheville Bread Festival’s first day!
Day Two on Sunday, April 23rd is your opportunity for an intensive, immersive experience. It’s important to note that the second day is more elite. This six-hour masterclass is open only to professional bakers, so if you don’t yet belong to the industry, try again once you do!
If you want to get a behind-the-scenes look at the festival and maybe even peep the masterclass, you can always become a volunteer. There is a form on the Asheville Bread Festival site that you can use to apply here, which will allow you to state your preference between volunteering at the bread fair, the workshops, or something else.
Where Is It?
The Asheville Bread Festival takes place around Asheville and Hendersonville, in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. While there is no clear information on their festival site, previous bread fairs have taken place at New Belgium Brewing. So, there’s a good chance it will take place there.
However, keep your eye on the site. This is the first year back for the festival since it went on hiatus due to the pandemic, so information may have changed. As for workshops, they take place in a variety of locations around town and will give any visitor or local a great chance to experience the best of what this area has to offer.
- Understanding the American Loaf with Amy Halloran takes place at Revolve Gallery
- Introduction to Sourdough Pastry with Regional Flours with Betsy Gonzales will happen at Carolina Ground
- Bagels with Xander Blume will occur at La Bodega Warehouse
- Sourdough Basics with Jackie Vitale is located at UNCA
As you can see, there are a wide variety of topics and locations on offer, and that isn’t even the full list!
If you’re not from the area, you will benefit from staying a day or two to enjoy the temperate climes, spring flowers, and fresh air of the beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. If you have the time, try hiking in the surrounding area, enjoying burgers and brews at the many fine restaurants in town, and checking out Asheville’s thriving art scene.
What Workshops Are Offered?
So, exactly what can you learn about at the bread festival? Good question, and one with many answers! Among the numerous topics, you can learn how to bake basic bread, sourdough loaves, gluten-free items, and pastries.
You can also learn about other foods, such as cultured butter and yogurt with Jackie Vitale. Other workshop leaders will discuss creating sustainable food systems, the nutritional benefits of whole grains, microbiology, and more. Whether you’re more scientifically minded or an artist type, you’re bound to find something on offer.
Note that you can attend several different workshops throughout the day. However, you’ll want to take a look at the list ahead of time. There are morning, early afternoon, and later afternoon time slots to ensure you have plenty to keep you occupied all day, but it will take some planning! Pick your topics and arrange transportation ahead of time. That way you won’t miss out on one single second of bready goodness.
When Can You Get Tickets?
Tickets will go on sale in early March, so watch the Tickets page on the Asheville Bread Festival website. Ticket prices include the bread fair, workshops, panel discussions, and happy hour. Experts and newbies alike will glory in the baking of bread, tasting of good food, and society of others who love all things baked too.
As the poet Robert Browning once said, “If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.” Ready to taste the stars and heavens yourself? Come get your tickets today!