North Carolina should change its nickname from the “Tar Heel” state to the “Artisan” state. And Asheville, NC might rightfully lay claim to the Artisan Bread Capital of the World. Nowhere else will you find such a assemblage of talented bakers and quality hand crafted breads.
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Once a year, most of these bread artists gather at the Asheville Bread Festival to showcase their goods. The event is busy and there’s a lot to take it, yet it’s still intimate enough to enjoy interacting and chatting with the bakers. This years festival also attracted some of the most respected big name bakers in the US — Craig Ponsford, Peter Reinhart, and Lionel Vatinet. Several workshops and lectures could be attended for $10 each, representing one the greatest bargains in the history of the world (don’t tell the event organizers).
I attended both of Craig Ponsfords excellent classes. I’m a big fan of Craig and love what he’s doing with with whole grain flours. Assisting Craig was fellow bread savant Mike Zakowski (check out this cool video). Meanwhile, Denyce enjoyed Peter Reinharts class on gluten free baking.
Asheville is a great town in its own right, so plan to go next March and spend a day in artisan bread heaven. For us, it was an absolutely wonderful day.