Moveable Feasts Food & Culture Tours
Carlsbad Food Tours is very fortunate to have a lot of friends in the food & culture tours business. Every week we plan on highlighting some of our fellow food tour operators that we recommend. This week we interview Jean of Moveable Feasts Food & Culture Tours.
1. Tell us about yourself and Movable Feasts Food & Culture Tours
My name is Jean Owner/Founder of Movable Feasts Food & Culture Tours. I have called Asheville my home for about a decade now. I have been a high school English teacher for the past 10 years. I also write for, edit, and publish a local, independent Food and Culture Magazine called (hilariously) The Talismanic Potato. I have two small kids who keep me busy and an ancient beagle named Helmet who sleeps all day and steals whatever food scraps he can. I fell in love with Asheville when I was a teenager; it was a cool, culturally-hip place with an INCREDIBLE food scene but no food tours yet. Moveable Feasts Food & Culture Tours was born from those experiences.
Downtown Food and Culture Tours is special because it is designed as an off-the-beaten path tour; we take you to places that locals love which are not necessarily the places you read about when planning your trip. On this tour, you get an eclectic sampling of some excellent food and drinks as well as historical and cultural tidbits that will entertain you. All our partners are committed to business practices that make the Asheville restaurant scene so wonderful: buying local when possible, supporting family farms and cooperatives, and investing in the community that we love.
2. Tell us about Asheville and what made you want to start a food tour there:
Asheville has many nicknames: The Paris of the South (because of the beautiful Art Deco architecture), Beer City USA (because of the amazing craft beer scene), Freak Capital of the World (because of our eccentric street performers), Happiest City in America (because it feels so good to live here!) The Guardian just wrote an article (12/6/2016) titled “Artsy Asheville Tops List of Must-Visit US Destinations in 2017.” Earlier this year, National Geographic
Traveler listed Asheville as one of the top 15 places in the world to “treat your taste buds.” So really, starting this food & culture tour was an easy decision! Asheville’s food scene is deep in the Buy Local movement. Our partners are committed to using sustainable business practices that enrich our community and foster strong relationships to food and to one another.
We are so fortunate to be living in what many call: “America’s Happiest City”. The joy that is created when we gather together around a table and share stories of people and places is one that is unparalleled in our lives. Asheville boasts over 45 national and global “winner” or “best of” titles since 2011. Most recently, Asheville was hailed by National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine (June 2016) as one of the top 15 places in the world to “treat your taste buds. “We love all things Asheville, especially the unique, vibrant food and drink scene that celebrates family-owned businesses and locally sourced ingredients. We are committed to taking visitors and locals alike to some of Asheville’s most popular and renowned farm-to-table restaurants.
Ernest Hemingway, famous American author who sometimes visited Western North Carolina for its natural beauty, writes “If you are lucky enough to visit Paris, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” The same can be said of Asheville, the “Paris of the South.” This tour has something for everyone. After you get a taste of downtown – its rich history, culture, and food – you will want to come back for seconds!
3. What makes your food tour different and unique?
Moveable Feasts Food & Culture Tours seeks to give our clients a unique perspective on Asheville. As we eat our way through this foodie destination, we weave stories about Asheville’s past, its historical settings (beyond the exquisite Biltmore Estate), its people, and its ambition that has turned it into its coveted spot as a Top Destination for travelers. We also get special VIP treatment around town (access to restaurants that are normally closed during the lunch hour) and our clients get exclusive coupons to use at our partner restaurants and specialty shops.
4. What to Expect
Asheville hosts over fifty restaurants in the downtown area alone. Want to go to the best spots? The places locals go? For those who wish to explore the vibrant food and drink scene in Asheville, the Downtown Moveable Feast food & culture tours is a fun, insightful, and delicious way to spend an afternoon. Our goal is to entertain you and treat you to an eclectic lunch as we walk through Asheville’s unique downtown. Expect to be with us for about three hours as you learn about the historical, architectural, cultural, literary, culinary scenes of this lovely mountain town. Throughout the tour, you will sample local favorites from downtown restaurants, cafes, and specialty stores. All food and beverage tastings are included in the ticket price and are enough for a robust lunch.
This is more than just a food tour; we will fill your bellies and your minds with some of the best Asheville has to offer. Between tastings, our entertaining and knowledgeable guides will weave stories for you about the city’s past, present, and future. By the end, you will feel like a local – one who loves this city and wants to come back for seconds!
Escape the tourist areas as our local guides share the history and adventure of this amazing city.
Little Bee Thai
Took and Rick cook up the best Thai food in WNC with a focus on local heirloom vegetables; Took has been cooking since she was 6 years old in Bangkok and makes everything from scratch, just like her mother did.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Dan and Jael Rattigan don’t just create the best chocolate and desserts in the city, they are living libraries brimming with information about all things chocolate – from cacao sourcing to local farm partnerships.
Lexington Avenue Brewery
A true brewpub, the LAB is always creating interesting new craft beers.
With over 150 medicinal and culinary herbs, tinctures, essential oils, and body care products, The Herbiary keeps alive the centuries-old tradition of people coming to the mountains for healthful living and wellness.
Ben’s American Sake Brewery
There are only around a dozen sake microbreweries in the U.S. and one happens to be in Asheville! Ben’s also serves up Americanese fusion food and has the best outdoor beer garden in town.
With an owner/chef who has been nominated for FOUR James Beard awards, everything you get here is going to be simply divine.
5. What type of food do we get to try?
There’s a little something for everyone! On the Downtown Lunch tour, you will get to try: the best pad Thai in Western North Carolina (or anywhere, we think), gourmet hot dogs with local condiments, micro-brewed Japanese sake, incredible breads, and spreads (like a laminated baguette or a cruffin!), artisanal chocolate treats, herbal teas, small-batch bitters, local craft beers, fancified bacon! And more! We constantly get additional treats for our clients depending on the whims and fancies of our local area chefs and partners. A list of our partners can be found on our website and we look forward to having you on a tour so that we can celebrate this wonderful place by enjoying some of its greatest gifts.
Love. Asheville. Food.