I'll Bite

Cheese dinners, mega chef events and, yes, Cocktail Week

Yes, Asheville is spending a whole week on cocktails.
Yes, Asheville is spending a whole week on cocktails.

Get out your calenders: Time for a roundup of upcoming food events all around our area. Some of them are a little ways off, but things do sell out. And why would you risk not being in Asheville for Cocktail Week?

March 10, 5th Annual Piedmont Grown Conference, at Hunt Library at N.C. State University in Raleigh.

Piedmont Grown is a certification program for N.C. farm products. At the daylong conference (8 a.m.-5 p.m.), farmers, buyers, researchers and eaters come together to celebrate local food and farmers. This year’s theme is “Increasing Farm Profitability,” with keynote speaker Ben Hartman, author of “The Lean Farm,” and lunch speaker Sebastian Wolfrum of Epiphany Craft Malt.

Registration ranges from $21.49 for students, $40 for farms or individuals, $25 for the conference only (no lunch) and $150 for business exhibitors. Details: www.piedmontgrown.org.

March 19, Climax: Goat Lady Dairy Tasting Tour.

Lead cheesemaker Alexander Kast will lead an evening-long tasting tour of all the cheeses they make at Goat Lady -- fresh, smoked, mold-ripened, aged, in goat’s milk and cow’s milk. It’s 6:30 p.m. in the barn at the dairy (I’ve been there and it’s much more comfortable than it sounds). It costs $30, and you can get the details, along with other events on their spring calendar, at www.goatladydairy.com.

March 28, Hickory: “Kyle and Friends Hootenanny” at Highland Avenue Restaurant at Hollar Mill in Hickory.

This isn’t a musical event, it’s really a chef event with a mighty impressive lineup of culinary talent from all over the state: Nate Allen of Knife & Fork and Spoon Cocktail Lounge in Spruce Pine; Clark Barlowe of Heirloom; Jameson Chavez of manna in Wilmington; Ashley Christensen of . . . well, OK, everything; James Doss of Rx and Pembroke in Wilmington; Matt Kelly of Vin Rouge and Mateo in Durham; Clarke Merrell of Circa 81 and Dank Burrito in Morehead City; Mike Moore of The Blind Pig of Asheville; Elliott Moss of Buxton Hall in Asheville; Rebecca Paredes of manna; and pastry chef Andrew Ullom of AC Restaurants in Raleigh.

The style of the event is more like tasting stations and it benefits the Hickory Soup Kitchen Tickets are $150 through March 6 and $175 after March 7. Details and tickets: 828-267-9811 or www.highlandavenuerestaurant.com.

May 4-8, Asheville Cocktail Week, Asheville.

Promised: Yes, they’re having a weeklong cocktail festival in Asheville. A spinoff of The Asheville Food and Wine Festival, the lineup includes the Best Bloody Mary Contest, cocktail theater, a Cinco de Mayo crawl, the Southeastern Distilling Expo, the ELXIR bar competition and a “Derby” party. Get the full list of events at ashevillewineandfood.com. And consider finding a hotel room soon.

Kathleen Purvis: 704-358-5236, @kathleenpurvis