Asheville Forager Featured on CNN Shares Mushroom Secret

ASHEVILLE — An Asheville forager unearths a rare truffle, a craft beverage collaboration offers an ideal summer drink and a summer school adults will want to attend.

Asheville expert mushroom picker Alan Muskat has shared a secret he’s been hiding in the woods for years.

CNN Travel spoke to Muskat about his discovery of what he said was one of the rarest truffles in the world. Without revealing the exact location, Muskat harvests what is called the “Blue Ridge truffle” from the forests along the mountain range. Truffles also grow in Japan, he says.

Rare and local culinary discoveries

In 2007, Muskat discovered the Blue Ridge truffle but only recently shared his findings. He confided his secret to Eric Morris, executive chef of Wicked Weed Brewing’s Cultura and Funkatorium on the South Slope, whom CNN Travel interviewed.

The species name is imaia gigantea, Morris told the Citizen Times.

How often the chef gets the truffles depends on the season and Muskat’s ability to find them. It’s usually a few weeks to a few months that there’s access, he said. Morris hopes to feature them on Cultura’s tasting menu when the restaurant opens full-time in the fall.

Morris compared the texture to French and Italian truffles and the flavor to a mixture of roasted hazelnuts and Parmesan cheese. He is shown on the video preparing a dish of cauliflower sabayon using the rare truffle.

Muskat, of No Taste Like Home, offers picking tours to the public. For more details on No Taste Like Home, visit

Watch the CNN Travel video at

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bring the bubbles

A new refreshing drink is on the market, resulting from a collaboration between two Asheville beverage companies.

Devil’s Foot Beverages and The Whale’s Hop’d Lemonade were designed as a light, refreshing and sparkling drink ideal for summer.

Devil’s Foot specializes in non-alcoholic beverages made with natural, farm-fresh ingredients sourced locally and locally.

Devil's Foot and The Whale have collaborated to produce the new drink Hopd Lemonade with Bubbles.

The Whale: A Craft Beer Collective serves rare and exclusive beers at its bars and markets in West Asheville, Greenville and Charleston and at the brand new The Whale Outpost in Haw Creek.

Hop’d Lemonade is a unique twist on other craft drink lover offerings.

It is made with freshly squeezed organic lemons, honey and organic cane sugar from South Carolina. Citra and Azacca hops have been included to give it a balanced but slightly bitter taste. The sugar content is lower than traditional lemonades, according to Devil’s Foot, comparable from 40g of sugar to 9g in the Hop’d Lemonade.

Hop’d Lemonade is available in 12-ounce cans at The Whale stores.

For more details, visit and

Sip like a sommelier

Summer school isn’t so bad with a glass of merlot in hand.

The Asheville School of Wine has opened registration for two interactive tasting seminars, “How to Taste Wine Like a Pro” and “How to Pair Food and Wine.”

The program is accessible to levels ranging from novice wine drinkers to industry professionals.

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Melanie Webber, wine educator and certified sommelier, will be the instructor. The courses are part of a certification program offered by the Wine Scholar Guild’s French Wine and Spanish Wine Scholar, in conjunction with Metro Wine Wine School.

“Whether a student is an industry professional or a beginner wine student, my mission is to heighten their joy of experiencing wine, increase their knowledge of wine, and further develop their palate with a ‘no-frills’ approach. snobs,'” Webber said in a statement. Release.

“How to Taste Wine Like a Pro” will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on August 10. Students will learn how to assess wine quality using an easy-to-implement tasting system. Eight tastings will be included and participants will participate in a collaborative bling-bling tasting. A take-out tasting grid will be provided for continuing education.

“How to Pair Food and Wine” will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on August 11. Students will participate in interactive exercises while learning about palates and why certain foods and drinks work better with each other. The course includes six wine tastings, food and wine pairing exercises and more.

The goal is to help wine and food professionals and enthusiasts “increase their knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of world wines,” Webber said.

Both sessions will be held at Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte St. To register, visit

Tiana Kennell is a food and gastronomy reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Help support this kind of journalism by subscribing to the Citizen Times.

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