“Puhleeze” butter my biscuits in Knoxville at the International Biscuit Festival!

This post was published on June 1, 2013, but we’re sharing it with you again just to whet your appetite!  The International Biscuit Festival returns to Knoxville, TN this weekend with big events — booths, vendors, music, and, of course, tasty biscuits — on Saturday, May 17, 2014.  Join us! Click here for more information.

 Erin Donovan, Biscuit Festival Queen


Erin Donovan, Biscuit Festival Queen

Not ones to let a little rain dampen the day at Knoxville’s International Biscuit Festival (May 18, 2013), we grabbed our umbrellas and headed to Biscuit Boulevard alongside a handful of hungry folks milling around waiting for the 9:00 serving of the best biscuits in town! (After all, even if we did get wet, we’d be attending the top-ranked of the Top 10 Food Festivals in America named by Livability.com!)

We passed the Cruze Farm Milk Truck on our way to get coffee and then checked out the booths as they prepared for the onslaught of 20,000 festival goers — ready to dig in to the doughy delights.

IMG_9202

The crew from Plaid Apron stopped a minute for a picture but quickly got to work setting up their chalkboard with what had to be the longest name in the best biscuit competition: Candied Benton’s Bacon, Clabbered Cream, Honey & Balsamic Reduction Buttermilk Biscuit!

IMG_9199

Sapphire‘s was ready early on, so this blueberry specialty was one of my first of five samples I could get with a $10.00 ticket.  Delicious!

IMG_9201

By this time, the crowd packed the boulevard and long lines were ahead of us.

IMG_9209

We waited about 15 minutes for a Green-Eyed Monster Pimento Cheese Buttermilk Biscuit from Tupelo Honey Cafe. Later, we learned this fab concoction tied for runner-up in the Best Biscuit category, but it garnered (deservedly so) the award for Best Biscuit Name.  It wasn’t the name, however, that won us over:  These biscuits were hearty yet light, creamy rich, and HUGE! (I knew I had to pace myself with more walking, waiting, and coffee sipping!)

IMG_9220

The Pillsbury Dough-Boy stood ready with his newly acquired friend Rather from Crested Butte, Colorado.  Husband Bert grabbed a Grilled Biscuit Sloppy Joe from their tent!

IMG_9233

Flourhead Bakery and Tomato Head offered another cheesy delight: Sweetwater Valley Smoked Cheddar and Onion Biscuit that tied for runner-up with Tupelo Honey. All that yellow goodness on top really is that fabulous smoked cheddar you get from Sweetwater Valley Farm in Philadelphia, Tennessee. (Visitors welcomed!)

IMG_9267

After spying another long line, we knew something good was waiting where the man in a red shirt from Applewood Farmhouse greeted everyone with a smile.  Sure ‘nough.  Winning the People’s Choice Award with the most guest votes was their Andouille Shrimp and Grits Biscuit — hot, spicy, and not on anyone’s diet, for sure.  No wonder they took home the Biscuit Sunsphere Trophy!

IMG_9210

But not to be outdone, RT Lodge now has bragging rights from the critics with their Deep Fried Biscuit with Braised Short Rib and Pickled Onion.  Mmmm. A mixture of savory, spicy, and vinegary all in one. Deserved that Critic’s Choice Award!

IMG_9205

We saved our last biscuit on the ticket for a sweet treat — the Strawberry Shortcake Biscuit from the Southern Living booth served to us by Whitney from Birmingham, Alabama.  (Bet the whole staff wishes they’d had this assignment.)

IMG_9223

If biscuits alone weren’t enough, there was even our favorite East Tennessee syrupy goodness from the Guenther family in a booth down the street: Muddy Pond Sorghum!

IMG_9221

At the Biscuit Festival, even little kids get into biscuit eatin’ — like this happy fella who likes packin’ it in while strolling . . .

IMG_9253

and these rather cooperative brothers in the children’s tent patting and rolling and cutting biscuits just like the chefs do!

IMG_9276

Since we were stuffed from more carbs than we usually eat in a month, we were glad to take a break and enjoy the lively lyrics and thumping, hand-raising sounds of Jimmy Brown Johnson and the Band of Awesome on the Flatbed Music Stage.  No one stood still — or even wanted to!

Click here to watch this YouTube video of “Biscuits in the Front, Party in the Back” as seen and heard on WBIR’s “Live at Five at Four.”

IMG_9244

We stopped to talk to our friends Kathy and Dan Hamilton who were on their way to the Blackberry Farm Biscuit Brunch in Krutch Park Tent.  From all accounts, this is the culinary route to a great Saturday, so we may have to try it next year.

IMG_9255

Harry and David set up a booth for the first time this year . . .

IMG_9256

and B97.5 motioned us over for more freebies on a plate.

IMG_9234

We almost did a double-take when we saw the Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams booth with the owner himself, Allan Benton, serving his nationally-famous smoked country ham and bacon.

IMG_9265

I said to him, It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Benton.  And you’re still smiling after being on your feet all morning?

He politely replied in his Southern gentleman way: Any time I’m holding Benton’s bacon, there’s gonna be a smile on my face!  (Sure enough.  He was still smiling when we passed by a little later in the morning, too.)

We mozied back around to Market Square to take in some of the crafts and farm-fresh foods brought in for the day.  We found Biscuit Festival mugs . . .

IMG_9261

and Blackberry Farm products you can purchase online or from their catalog.  (No surprise: They have blackberry jam!) Click here for more information.

IMG_9257

And wouldn’t you know, we’d find something never seen by us before. Thrifty Girl brought something every biscuit lover needs to wear: biscuit head bands — I kid you not!  One of kind, wouldn’t you say?

IMG_9280

In fact, it’s just the sort of thing Erin Donovan, broadcaster for WBIR, might like to add to her growing wardrobe of must-have wearables with a biscuit theme!  She’s the Biscuit Queen for a reason!

IMG_9190

If you haven’t been to the International Biscuit Festival, make plans for next year: May 14-16, 2014.  It’s a feast.  It’s a fun day.  And as organizer John Craig says, Who doesn’t love a biscuit?

IMG_9286

International Biscuit Festival

www.biscuitfest.com

Click here for another blog on the International Biscuit Festival from Stuck Inside of Knoxville with that Urban Blues Again.

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
This entry was posted in Destination, Festivals, Restaurant, Tennessee, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to “Puhleeze” butter my biscuits in Knoxville at the International Biscuit Festival!

  1. David says:

    Another food festival. You gotta share the food, LOL. 🙂

  2. Tina Schell says:

    So fun Rusha – but the first and last are just wonderful!! Makes me want to start our own biscuit festival here in the south!! LOL.

  3. ciao! a biscuit festival would be just a luvFAB treat. great captures.
    thebestdressup

    • Rusha Sams says:

      Just come on to Knoxville and eat some great biscuits! We love this festival, and one ticket gives you your choice of three biscuits — more than we can possibly down at one time. We leave full and happy!

  4. We need to get ourselves to this festival one day – How awesome!!! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Oh, the Places We’ve Seen: 2013 | Oh, the Places We See . . .

  6. annetbell says:

    Thanks for stopping by and liking Believe Your Eyes! I hope you will return again soon and often. Namaste. . .. . Anne

  7. cmmoxley says:

    My mother, bless her heart, was a housewife of the 50s and 60s. She thought homemade biscuits meant that she slammed the container against the edge of the counter so she could release the refrigerated biscuit dough inside the cylinder. But, as you all said, they were my mother’s biscuits and I thought they were great! Only later did I find out that “real” homemade biscuits are a little different. And I am loving experimenting to determine the best.

    • Rusha Sams says:

      I don’t know how all these vendors at the Biscuit Festival can bring hot, fluffy, delicious biscuits to a tent downtown, but they do. The least I can do is show my appreciation for their efforts by diving in!!! Thanks for commenting, Cynthia!

  8. Now you bake right (uh-huh) with Martha White (yes, ma’am)
    Goodness gracious, good and light, Martha White …

    I grew up in KY, and of course, no one the planet can make biscuits like my Mama’s. But as a southerner, I can say that I’ve had wonderful biscuits, and fair biscuits … but never a bad biscuit. Bring on the butter (and a little gravy wouldn’t hurt either.) ~James

    • Rusha Sams says:

      You’re my kinda guy! I had no idea that this biscuit festival would take off the way it has — so popular now. But I guess it’s the same sentiment you just shared: never a bad biscuit!

  9. Well, this certainly was a festival of biscuits. But, when it comes to eating the best biscuit, I’m sure everyone will agree that their mother’s were always the best, especially when she spent her life perfecting them. I’ve still never learned how she made them. Great posting and I hope you are still smiling, just like Mr. Benton, who evidently never stops smiling especially when you buy his country ham and bacon. PS: Now, you’d made me hungry. Guess what I’m having for breakfast Sunday morning? “

    • Rusha Sams says:

      I have to agree that my mom’s biscuits were great, and so was her cornbread. She didn’t, however, have access to Benton’s bacon!!! Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary.

Please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s