Plan your visit for later this summer.

Chow Chow Food Festival
Credit: Visit Asheville

Chow chow, a pickled relish with peppers, cabbage, and sometimes corn or green tomatoes, is a distinctly Appalachian necessity, but somewhat unknown outside the Mountain South. So it makes a fitting name for a first-of-its-kind festival that will celebrate the underrepresented story of the region's chefs and artisans.

September 12th-15th, Asheville will host a long weekend's worth of dinners, workshops, and other events honoring the traditions of the area while also highlighting its new globally minded restaurant scene and upstart craft businesses. Curated by a board with familiar names like Chefs Katie Button and John Fleer, Chow Chow aims to be a more educational festival that gives visitors a chance to see how the region's ingredients and natural resources continue to inspire. While most food festivals focus on chefs and restauranteurs, here you will hear from "multi-generational farmers to millers, bakers, potters, weavers, and brewers" too.

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The packed schedule includes dinners hosted by chefs like Ashleigh Shanti who will explain the lesser-known history of Appalachian Soul Food and Meherwan Irani who, along with his other Southern-Indian friends like Vishwesh Bhatt and Cheetie Kumar, will show diners how North Carolina ingredients influence his Indian dishes at a special edition of their Brown in the South supper club series.

Visitors will also be able to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the French Broad Chocolate Factory, learn about the area's native mushrooms; attend a wine-driven dinner on the grounds of Biltmore, and learn about North Carolina's deep history in ceramics at popular East Fork Pottery.