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Appalachian Adventures: Bristol festival is for chocolate and wine lovers everywhere

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When I heard the ingredients of Rhonda White’s dark chocolate cake, I knew I had to have some.

Eggplant? Yeah, eggplant — the stuff you order as “Eggplant Parmesan” at The Olive Garden. Growing up, my daddy fed me slices of eggplant that was battered and fried.

White, a longtime chef, takes eggplant and bakes it into a cake.

With dark chocolate.

“It’s just like a yummy chocolate cake,” she said. “You cannot tell there’s eggplant.”

And, yes, I shall attest: This Chocolate Eggplant Cake tastes ever-so-good when it’s just slightly warmed.

“It is completely gluten-free,” White said. “We’re using a rice flour ... And it’s actually kind of good for you to get your vegetables in for the day.”

Year-round, you can find White’s cake on the menu at the Town Square in Glade Spring, Virginia, where she operates her own café called Clean Eats.

But, come Friday night, you can also venture to downtown Bristol to find White as one of the vendors at the Third Annual Wine and Chocolate Festival, held at the Bristol Train Station.

This festival is a fundraiser for Highlands Community Services and especially the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol, located adjacent to Sugar Hollow Park.

The event includes six types of wine, two types of beer, several sampling stations for chocolate connoisseurs and a buffet line of meats, cheeses and vegetables, said Alexandra Veatch, communications director for Highlands Community Services.

The festival also features a two-hour performance (7-9 p.m.) by swing band Nick Glasgo and the Househoppers of Asheville, North Carolina.

“This event attracts a wide range of people,” Veatch said. “All of it is for a good cause. It’s just a fun, easy evening and a way to do good in our community.”

jtennis@bristolnews.com | 276-791-0709 | @BHC_Tennis

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