Melange of the Mountains set for April 10

By Jessi Stone Guide editor | Mar 19, 2014
Chef Shawn McCoy, left, and server Tony Langdale, with Bocelli's, put the finishing touches on a sample plate at Melange last year.

The Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, along with the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority and Buy Haywood, will host the 10th annual Mélange of the Mountains, a Culinary Gala, from 5 to 7 p.m. April 10, at the Laurel Ridge Country Club.

Experience the culinary talent of some of Western North Carolina’s most regarded restaurants and vendors as area chefs compete in categories ranging from salad to seafood to dessert. Participants will prepare dishes in categories ranging from soup and salad to fowl and seafood that will be scored on predetermined criteria by a panel of regionally acclaimed judges.

Melissa Tinsley, Chamber membership and office coordinator, said the lineup of participants is more diverse than ever before, including veteran participants as well as new ones like Frankie’s Italian Trattoria,  Haywood Smokehouse, Maggie’s Galley, Moonshine Grill.

Restaurants are recognized for the top three places in each category, an award for overall culinary excellence and the People’s Choice Award.

"Shelton Vineyards is coming to Mélange to serve their award winning North Carolina wines," Tinsley said. "We are honored to have such a big name winery part of the Mélange Gala this year."

New this year is the Mélange of the Mountains Beer Competition, where local breweries will enter their beer in categories such as light, medium, dark and specialty/seasonal beer.

Directly following the competition, the event will open to the public, providing an excellent opportunity for attendees to sample the culinary creations directly from the menus of area restaurants and to feast their eyes on expertly plated specialties entered in the competition. Take in the local microbrew scene as local breweries, who participated in the beer competition, will be on hand to offer samples of their frothy creations.

"The beer competition is something that our local breweries had requested we add to the Melange experience and this year we were able to contact certified beer judges from the Asheville MALT association to come to the Melange Gala to judge our first beer competition," Tinsley said.

To further promote Haywood County as a culinary destination, the gala event will extend into a culinary weekend filled with a wealth of specialty dinners, culinary demos, tastings and pairings hosted by Mélange of the Mountains participating restaurants and vendors.

"This is the second year the Melange has hosted a weekend of events in addition to the Melange Gala. The Mélange Culinary Weekend has doubled in size from the first year," Tinsley said. "We see the weekend continuing to grow and bring tourist to Haywood County for this Kickoff to Spring weekend."

More than 165 people attended the Mélange Gala in 2013 and more than 200 are anticipated this year.

Tickets for the gala are $35 for chamber members and $40 for non-members. The chamber will also have VIP upgraded tickets available for $60 which includes early entry into the competition to view the chefs in action and VIPs get a chance to vote in the People’s Choice categories in booth food and beer. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Ticket availability is limited.

"This event gives our local restaurants, breweries and culinary specialty shops such as Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon a chance to showcase their talent as well as introduce new customers to a taste of what they offer ultimately increasing awareness of and business for the participating businesses," Tinsley said.

Visit, call 456-3021, or for information and to purchase your tickets today.


Mélange Weekend Area Events Schedule

Thursday, April 10

The DuPont Brothers

The Classic Wineseller

7 to 10 p.m.

Vermont-made folk, rock, and Americana music — small plate and tapas-style fare

Call 452-6000 for reservations


Friday, April 11

Select Main Street businesses open late

Until 8 p.m.

Select businesses located on Main Street will be open late to accommodate Mélange diners.


Friday, April 11

Ben Wilson

The Classic Wineseller

Time: 7 to 10 p.m.

Music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, in addition to original tunes — small plate and tapas-style fare

Call 452-6000 for reservations


LIVE Music - Croon N Cadence

Organic Coffee Beans Co. in Maggie Valley

Time: 7 to 10 p.m.

Free event

Call 668-2326


Friday and Saturday, April 11-12

Balsam Mountain Roots: Local Flavor

Balsam Mountain Inn

Approx. $90 per couple

Reservations Recommended

Call 456-9498


Friday and Saturday, April 11-12

A Taste of Spring

Frankie’s Italian Trattoria in Maggie Valley

Four-course wine paired dinner

Reservations Required

Call 926-6216


Saturday, April 12

Joe Cruz

The Classic Wineseller

Time: 7 to 10 p.m.

Best of the Beatles and Elton John

Call 452-6000 for reservations


Saturday, April 12

Sunburst Market Medley

Sunburst Market

From 2 to 5 p.m.

$10 per person for Beer & Wine Tasting

Taste an array of samples and flavors while mixing and mingling with the makers: Sunburst Beef, Corvus Olive Oil and Bruschetta, Dark Cove Goat Cheeses, Hi-Wire Brewing Craft Beers, and Addison Farms Vineyard Wines

Call 452-3848


Saturday, April 12

Murder Mystery Dinner & Wine

Bridget’s Bistro at the Herren House B&B

6 p.m.

$45++ per person

Three-course dinner & wine with murder mystery — small plate and tapas-style fare

Call 452-7837 for reservations


Sunday, April 13

Sunday Gospel Brunch

The Classic Wineseller

11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

$18.99 per person

A delicious brunch menu alongside your favorite gospel tunes sung by jazz and gospel performer Rockell Scott.

Call 452-6000 for reservations

Judging the Food:

1) Bob Bowles – NC Wine and Food Festival

2) Ronnie Potter-Bowles – The Swag Country Inn

3) Debi Hall – Just Simply Delicious

4) Constance E. Richards – WNC Magazine

5) Denny Trantham – Former ECE for the Grove Park Inn

6) Debi Isenberg – Oak Hill on Love Lane

9) Marnette Colborne – Executive Director for Haywood Habitat for Humanity former Executive Pastry Chef for Rue 57 in NY

10) Chef Ricardo – Wildcat Estates/Chef Ricardo’s Kitchen(Formerly owned and operated Lomo Grill)

11) Ian Dropka – Executive Chef at the Pisgah Inn

Beer Judges:

Steve Morgan- Asheville MALT association-certified beer judge

Bernie Kessel – Asheville MALT association-certified beer judge

Tony Kiss – Asheville Citizen Times – Asheville Beer Guy- beer writer

Garret Woodward – Smoky Mountain News writer

Melange of the Mountains 2014 Participants

Balsam Mountain Inn

Bearwaters Brewery

Bourbon Barrel Beef and Ale

Bridget’s Bistro

City Bakery

The Classic Wineseller

Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon

Frankie’s Italian Trattoria

Frog Level Brewery

Haywood Smokehouse

J. Arthurs

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center

Laurel Ridge Country Club

Moonshine Grill

Organic Coffee Beans Co.

Sunburst Market

Sweet Onion

Tipping Point Tavern

Comments (1)
Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Mar 19, 2014 15:21

This event receives money from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. How many "heads in beds" does this event generate?

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