Monday, May 21, 2012

Biscuit Fest 2012

Biscuit Fest.  Simply another reason why I can’t move back home up north in MI.  I LOVE this great ol’ state of Tennessee!  My friend Katie and I were totally stoked about Biscuit Fest in Knoxville, talking about it for days previous.  We love going to all the festivals, fairs, and shows here in Knoxville – and believe me, Biscuit Fest was no exception.  Join me on pretty much one of the best concepts for a festival ever – and try to NOT drool on your keyboard okay?

Biscuit Fest 2012 023

‘Okay, so you’re pretty excited about some flour, lard, and buttermilk…but really what is Biscuit Fest all about?’  I know that’s what you’re thinking, and I’m so glad you asked!  The International Biscuit Festival as it’s more formally known is a weekend of southern culinary delight.  It encompasses several events, including the Biscuit Breakfast, Blackberry Farm Biscuit Brunch, Biscuit Bazaar, Biscuit Bake Off, Miss and Mr. Biscuit Pageant and more.  For this post, I will focus on the event that my broke decidedly frugal self attended – Biscuit Boulevard.  Biscuit Boulevard runs along Market Street, just south of Market Square in downtown Knoxville.

Biscuit Fest 2012 001

This festival starts early, folks.  This is just after 8:30 AM – just look at that crowd!  We are all waiting for 9AM, when the biscuit eating frenzy will begin.  This is how it works:  you buy a ticket for $5 (YAY!), and you get to eat 5 biscuits from your choice of around 15 vendors with red and white striped tents.  My friend Katie and I are pure geniuses; we bought two tickets, split the biscuits we sampled, and were able to taste test 10 BISCUITS!!

Biscuit Fest 2012 002

This is the first place we tried, The Plaid Apron.  A kind gentleman next to us told us it’s a great local place located in Sequoyah Hills (just a bit west of downtown, a very nice ‘old-money’ type of area).  We went with dessert first so to speak, as these biscuits were filled with smoked chocolate.  I’d say reminiscent of a pudding flavor – scrumptious!

Biscuit Fest 2012 004

Katie and me getting our biscuit on.  The nice gentleman we were talking to in line offered to take our picture.  Katie and I are both from the north (Delaware and Michigan) and we laughed, because no one up north would ask if they could take your picture for you.  If they did, it’s because they were going to steal it from you.

Biscuit Fest 2012 003

This gentleman was at the Nashville Urban Gardens tent.  Just look at that presentation – judges give 10 points!

Biscuit Fest 2012 006

This was Capitol Grille’s booth – they’re from Nashville.  I hear their food is amazing, but haven’t tried it yet to give a full review.

Biscuit Fest 2012 007

The line sure was long for the Oodles Uncorked booth.  The picture below might say why!

Biscuit Fest 2012 010

Chocolate biscuit with balsamic strawberries and whipped cream.  Get out, I know.  See the ticket in the background?  Only 2 biscuits left! Surprised smile

Biscuit Fest 2012 011

Here’s Café 4’s booth – I like how they clearly described their biscuit.  Maybe why they won this year!  Congrats!

Biscuit Fest 2012 012

Katie, me, and the ‘Biscuit Lady’.  I don’t know if that is her actual title, nor if she was officially affiliated with the festival.  Oh well, she was fun anyway!  Ignore my cheesy smile, I think I was worried about biscuits in my teeth…

Biscuit Fest 2012 013

In addition to the biscuit taste testing, the festival had other booths with food to try, booths selling biscuit related items (we even got a free sample flour pack from Southern Biscuit!), as well as the Farmer’s Market produce and arts & crafts booths that are there on Saturdays from May until November.  Here is Mast General Store, an icon in downtown Knoxville providing their own taste test of jams.  Yum!

Biscuit Fest 2012 014

This is the Strawberry Field’s Market, another staple in the Bearden area of Knoxville (just a bit more more west of the Sequoyah Hills area I mentioned earlier).  They have lots of specialty products; here was lots of jams and butters to sample.  More yum!

Biscuit Fest 2012 015

Honeyberry Farm and Sweetwater Valley Farm.  Excellent honey and cheese, that’s all you need to know.

Biscuit Fest 2012 016

Lusty Monk Mustard.  So controversial with those thongs hanging above their booth, but bottom line (no pun intended) is they have fab gourmet mustard to try.  With names like “Original Sin – Original Mustard”, “Altar Boy – Honey Mustard”, and “Burn in Hell – Chipotle Mustard”; you’ll be sure not to forget them!

Biscuit Fest 2012 017

Willa’s Shortbread had a booth – and I had no idea that shortbread came in so many flavors.  Cheese, mocha, chocolate, key lime and more – even more yum, can you believe it?

Biscuit Fest 2012 019

Benton’s Bacon.  For people in this region, it needs no explanation.  It is crazy smoky, and crazy delicious.  I just had a peek on their website, and their products are in such high demand that there is a note of potential delay of shipment.  Worth waiting for.

Biscuit Fest 2012 021

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!  I picked Applewood Farms.  So good I forgot to take a picture of their booth.  If you are good at the maths, you may have noticed that I didn’t have photos of 10 total booths.  At some point I forgot I was going to blog about it and just went with the biscuit frenzy.  I took shots of 6 booths.  I missed Latitude 35, Applewood Farms, Tupelo Honey’s (which is soon to come to Market Square I hear).  The Oodles Uncorked chocolate/strawberry/whipped cream biscuit I am totally embarrassed unashamed to admit Katie and I each had one, sacrificing an extra spot.  SO GOOD!

Biscuit Fest 2012 024

We saw this sign on the way out of the festival.  Had to give The French Market a plug – they are my favorite spot downtown to take the dogs, eat a Nutella and banana crepe, and be lazy on a Saturday.

Hope you enjoyed the Biscuit Festival from my point of view – it was fantastic and I will definitely be back!  If you haven’t gone, put it on your must-do list for next year!  If you went this year, which biscuit did you vote for??