Sampling various wines and shopping throughout the beautiful town of Highlands, North Carolina, with my husband – made for one of the most pleasant Saturday’s ever!
Sip and Shop Saturday was just one of the events at the 2017 Highlands Food and Wine Festival.
Each wine was paired with a particular gourmet food, courtesy of Gourmet Foods International.
Ticket buyers were given a complimentary glass and a tasting program at the box office.
We were free to stroll up and down Main Street with our glasses and enjoy the beautiful autumn day – you could not have asked for better weather.
Shopping and drinking
We began our journey promptly at 10 am – when the event started – you cannot be late when wine is involved.
We arrived at Jannie Bean Designs with our empty glasses and a thirst for some wine. Beautiful, hand-crafted jewelry was on display throughout the boutique. While we perused the jewelry, we were sampling an Italian Merlot Blend, Monte Antico Rosso.
This is a mildly dry red with very little oakiness. Very little tannin taste.
It was supposed to be paired with Salami Tartufo by Creminelli (5.5 ounce), however, organizers were running a little behind and the meat did not arrive until after we had left.
Our next stop was at Brookings Anglers, a trout fisherman’s paradise. More fly fishing supplies than I had ever seen before AND they offer guided fishing tours at very reasonable rates.
Our glasses were supplied with a much drier red wine, Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone. From southern France, this wine is a blend of several types of grapes; 62% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 14% Carignan, 6% Mourvèdre, 2% Cinsault.
Unfortunately, I have a strong dislike for olives and this wine was paired with kalamata pitted olives.
At Bags On Main, I did a little Christmas shopping for my #BBQBestie and finally found a purse to carry my most essential items, including my phone during network events. It is light and easy to carry.
Also, we enjoyed a Spanish wine, Telmo R “Basa” White. It was light and crisp, much like a Pinot Grigo. Paired with a rich, flavorful cheese from Goat Lady Dairy – it was one of the most enjoyable stops along our journey.
Nearby, at The Southern Way we sampled a Leflaive Bourgogne Setilles; an intense Chardonnay made in Burgundy, France. It was a clean and bright wine made from a variety of grapes.
The lemony flavor paired very well with the Goat Lady Dairy Chevre Log Rosemary.
My favorite food pairing was at the men’s clothing boutique, TJ Baileys. We had a Conundrum White Blend wine with Verdant Ginger Preserves with Lemon.
Conundrum is a California blend which had a clean texture; honeysuckle fragrance and crisp finish. It would be great for sipping during summertime.
Verdant Kitchens produces this ginger preserve with lemon that was a symphony in my mouth. Spicy and sweet but yet so refreshing. It has appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s “Favorite Things” List.
A SUPER supermarket
We visited many more shops but I want to get to my favorite spot in the city of Highlands – Mountain Fresh Grocery.
It is foodie heaven. It is a butcher shop; bakery; pizza restaurant; sandwich shop; coffee house; gourmet grocery store and more.
I had more fun perusing the isles of this SUPER supermarket than sampling the wine.
We were served a very dry, bold DMZ Sauvignon Blanc with some cheese from Sweet Grass Dairy.
The hand-crafted cheese from Thomasville, Georgia was creamy and delicious; however, the wine was a bit robust for me.
My foodie senses went into overload, there was just so much to take in. My excitement must have been very evident as, JT, Mountain Fresh Grocery representative poured our wine sample.
I explained to him how the night before, someone I met told me Mountain Fresh had the best chicken tenders she had ever had.
JT promptly had another employee bring Doug and I a sampling of their buttermilk soaked, deep fried chicken fingers – and yes, they were definitely some of the best I had ever tasted.
We decided to eat at the pizza bar, right there in the grocery store.
Designed similar to a Subway shop, you choose the toppings you want on your pizza – and yes, just about everything edible is available.
Of course, being the carnivores we are…Doug and I requested plenty of meats for our pizza.
It took about 20 minutes to bake; while we found a table. Only about 20 tables are available.
The pizza crust was crisp and fresh. Overall, it was tasty.
But the grocery store is what I will go back for as often as I can.
If you are familiar with Whole Foods – this is a Whole Foods store, but on a neighborhood level.
We finished our Sip and Shop tour back where we started at Jannie Bean Designs for the raffle drawings. Making a purchase at each participating shop earned you a ticket in the raffle. The more you bought, the more entries you received.
We did not win anything in the raffle; however, the greatest prize was strolling the streets and meeting the Highland locals.
Wonderful people, beautiful town – Consider attending the 12th annual, Highlands Food and Wine Festival in 2018.