Joseph Villers, staff writer
Located on highway 70, Moments Cafe and Patisserie sits inside a 107 year old home, one of the first two structures to be built in Swannanoa (The other is the New Age Garden center next door). The doctor of Swannanoa formerly held his office here, and the home has also been a yoga studio in the more recent past. The structure is at least as rich as the owners of Moments, Anne and Joseph Foreman, who have been married for more than 33 years and have home schooled eight children. There is a very homey feeling walking in the door.
“We wanted a place where everyone feels they’re coming home” Anne Foreman said.
Anne is a gourmet chef and caterer, and has cooked since the age of 11 when her mother became too busy to cook meals for the family.
“I see my food as art: the color, texture and complexity of the food are all important to me. So I won’t stop until it’s exactly the way I want it to be” Anne said.
“Gourmet caterer does not describe it. She makes anything taste better than you’ve ever had it before,” her husband added.
Two years ago, the Foremans took a bet on more people moving to Swannanoa as Asheville and Black Mountain grew crowded. Anne saw in the house a rich history which she likened to the famously historic coffeehouses in Seattle, Washington.
The cafe is a bike-ride away from Warren Wilson and gets a good portion of its business from Wilson students, though many don’t know that the house on the hill is open for business.
“We see ourselves as Wilson’s coffee shop, and that was our vision moving here,” Anne said. “Warren Wilson has a student body culturally geared to what we do: a mom and pop’s shop which is anti-big business.”
The coffee used is Counter Culture, a java which jives with the Foreman’s free-market philosophy.
“Most organizations go to an individual farmer and commit themselves, which is great in theory but does nothing to help the farmer improve their product. Counter-culture goes to a number of farms and gets the best, and has programs for farmers so they can improve their product” Anne said.
Small businesses must go through the same goldenhoops big businesses leap through. The cafe is currently under regulation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and until a commercial license is approved is not authorized to use anything sturdier than paper plates and cups. The Foremans are hoping to get the license by next year, and in the meantime customers are encouraged to bring their own plates and mugs.
“Rave reviews. The best — I eat here twice a day. And they make coffee almost better than mine. And the people can’t be any nicer. And prices are reasonable,” longtime customer Wendy Brown, a singer at the local Holiday Inn, said.
Tutors regularly meet at the cafe, which is also a meeting place for Asheville Christians Academy.
Warren Wilson used to hold regular meetings at Moments, but this has become much less frequent.
“Wilson students work here and eat here and we love them and hope they come again” Anne said.
“Anne started out making quiches. After 15 quiches there was this infinite variety. The typical response isn’t,‘That’s the best quiche I’ve ever had’ but, ‘that’s the best food I’ve ever had.’ When she does banquets, people talk as much about the beans and potatoes as they do the main course. For her, flavors have to be over the top,” Joseph said.
Customers will find a balance between healthy foods and savory splurges. The portions are big enough for people to share, and the cafe serves as a place to grab great coffee, or sit and relax with comfort foods, like Anne’s infinite variety of perfected quiches.