Sarah Auman knows gourmet living. As the proprietor of Out of the Blue, one of Blue Ridge, Georgia’s finest and most popular shops, she has, over the past 13 years, created a brand whose tag line of “gourmet living” could not be more appropriate.
Walking into her bright, charming, colorful store filled with culinary delights, fine wines from around the world, impressive French country linens and a plethora of beer selections is like walking out into the sunshine after a long day in a cave.
Sarah has been a fixture in Blue Ridge since 2003. Her store is dedicated to every detail of fine entertaining, style, and living. The selection of wines from around the world is impressive, but not as impressive as her knowledge of each one, and her unique ability to select whatever it is that you are looking for. I wanted an Old Vine Zinfandel that was lush, full-bodied and bold. She directed me to Earthquake, which is hands down the best wine I’ve had in quite some time. If you tell her what you like, she WILL match you with the perfect bottle. The key is her ability to listen; she loves interacting with her clients, and she pays attention.
That attention to detail is evident in every aspect of her deliciously beautiful store. From the hand-painted Polish pottery (stunning!) to the pasta, spices, sauces, wide selection of beer (many local to our area), and amazing cheeses, you literally can select everything needed for an impressive dinner party or casual cocktail hour with besties at your cabin.
Those who’ve been around Blue Ridge for any length of time know that Ande Cook, coordinator of the Downtown Blue Ridge Farmer’s Market, is a fantastically talented artist. Her artwork adorns one wall of Sarah’s shop, and is simply magnificent. (I am proud to have five Ande Cook originals hanging in my home, and her whimsical and stunning work brings a smile to my face each time I pass one of my prized pieces. Truly, isn’t that what art should do for you?)
Beer growlers are a favorite at the store: the first time you purchase a growler, you pay for the bottle and whatever beer you select; after that, you bring your bottle in and refill it from an ever-changing selection of on tap varieties.
Truly elegant entertaining requires more than just the food and beverages, and Out of the Blue offers all of the necessities to complete your perfect get-together. Corkcicle white wine bottle chillers and tumblers are a popular item, and the clay coasters are beautiful and functional.
Need the perfect ‘guy gift’ for a graduate, father’s day or birthday? The selection of uber chic flasks will impress the most discerning person on your list.
My personal favorites, aside from the wine, of course, are the gorgeously luscious French linens. (It’s a fact: I have a linen fetish. I cannot lie.) Your table will be the envy of all when adorned with vibrant, luxurious napkins or a bold tablecloth.
If the bevy of fine gourmet lifestyle items aren’t enough to tempt you into checking out this fabulous shop, there are wine tasting classes every third Friday of the month. This weekend, the varietal is Syrah/Shiraz, and there are, as of this moment, two spaces left (reservations are definitely required!) Taught by industry experts, guests will use the Vinicode system to learn about wine style relying solely on their five senses. Classes are from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and cost $30/person or $50/couple. Multiple class discounts are available! As seating is very limited, reservations should be made early. Every month a new varietal is explored, with the schedule for the remainder of this year as follows:
February 19th: Syrah/Shiraz
March 18th: Cabernet Sauvignon
April 15th: Rosé
May 20th: Riesling
June 17th: Sauvignon Blanc
July 15th: Chenin Blanc
August 19th: Chardonnay
September 16th: Unusual Grapes
Don’t miss this outstanding opportunity to expand your viniculture knowledge and make new friends in the process!
Saturdays will find Sarah and her exeptionally competent staff offering wine and cheese tastings, free of charge, to shoppers. Every week is different and you never know what they'll be offering, so stop in often!
In short, Sarah Auman knows how to do it right, and has been demonstrating that for over a decade. Her unique and profoundly beautiful store should be on your "must do list" for your next visit to our area.
Located at 647 E Main in downtown Blue Ridge. Website:http://www.outofzbleu.com/index.html
Open Mon-Thurs 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Fri and Sat 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and, during peak seasons, Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.