Wow, I recently had the opportunity to go to Blackberry Farm with a bunch of girl friends. It is one of those bucket list foodie type places. It’s located near Knoxville, Tennessee just adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you have some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, and you love food and the outdoors, you should add it to your bucket list.
I’m not going to go course by course through every meal, as it will only remind me how decadent I was for the three days we were there, but suffice it to say, you really need to bring your stretchy pants. And while the accommodations are expensive, the food is all included (not alcohol) and they are very generous. For instance, at one breakfast, I had decided to go with a slightly healthy option, but when I just casually mentioned to a friend that I would love to try the biscuits and gravy, there was a plate in front of us to share as well in minutes as our ordered breakfast.
Anyway, speaking of breakfast, they do it right. The menu changes slightly every day so you don’t get bored with the same stuff (you can always get the B&G though if you ask). Everything I had was very good, with the strange exception that the kitchen did not seem to be able to poach an egg with a runny middle. But if you got an over easy or sunny egg, you were fine. A star is the grits with pimento cheese and bacon on top (and this was just a side dish). I would say the other favorite was the simple, but comforting B&G. But you can see, we tried several items and they were happy to bring you as many things on the side as you wanted as well. The lemon scones were amazing.
We never had the totally traditional lunch, because we arrived back from a hike late one day and they just laid out a giant picnic table with a ton of different things including barbecued chicken and ribs, and a plethora of salads and sides. The favorites here were the mustard and Bourbon beans and the strawberry, rhubarb, and beet salad. There was so much food though. Wow. Oh yeah, and a whole plate of desserts as well—a favorite here were the berry hand pies. The second lunch we had was part of a cooking demonstration with their Farmstead Manager, Dustin Busby. It was awesome. He showed us how to make homemade ricotta, homemade pasta filled with cheese and herbs, smoked onion jam dressing for our salad, which contained roasted beets and cauliflower, and individual almond financiers. Every single thing was great, and it was really fun to see how easy it was to make it all. We are already planning a party to make all of the items again. Honestly, it might have been one of my favorite meals.
You can eat dinner at The Barn or The Dogwood. The Barn is the more formal restaurant, and is just stunning inside. The Dogwood is the slightly more casual restaurant that is set in the original farmhouse (they call it the main house). Originally we were going to do the Barn twice and the Dogwood once, but ended up switching it around after eating in both. To be frank, the service in the Barn was pretty off the night we were there, and the service at the Dogwood was brilliant. I also enjoyed the slightly more rustic dishes on the Dogwood menu. The flavors just spoke to me more. The highlight at the Barn for me was their beef tartare, which was so good—pretty sure there were some truffles in there as well as roasted mushrooms. It had such a good earthy and well-seasoned flavor. A table favorite was also the potato salad, which was lightly creamy and topped with trout roe and sliced fried potato chips. They also had amazing desserts—several had a key lime pie that was amazing and I ordered a rhubarb sorbet with a cake that was also delicious.
At the Dogwood, one of my favorite dishes was a clam dish that had beer, butter, garlic, fennel and mustard that was recommended by our hiking guide. I ordered this one twice (one of the few things offered both times we were there). I actually got the recipe and was surprised at how little cream and butter was in it. It felt extremely decadent and delicious when I was eating it and now I can’t wait to make it myself. Add some lightly charred grilled bread and this dish was perfect. The salads they make are wonderful—they always have a nice texture variation and plenty of acid (often with something like pickled red onion). One night I also had an egg dish as a starter that was also rich and delicious. I like that the servings aren’t ridiculous since you get four courses every time. The desserts at the Dogwood were also less fancy, but also delicious. One night I had chocolate sea salt sandies and one night a large slice of chocolate cake and vanilla icing.
All in all, it was a really fun trip with a lot of really good food. There are also a lot of fun outdoor activities as well if you like that sort of thing. If not, there’s also a spa, pool, and of course, the cooking lessons. If you have the chance, I say add it to your list. Just start saving now.
1471 West Millers Cove Road
Walland, TN 37886