Southern Cooking at its Best
By Bob & Sue
Located on 9,200 acres outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, and in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, this unique gourmet destination offers the bold flavors of Southern cooking at its best. In addition to hearty breakfasts and lunches with plenty of grits, delicious thick-cut Benton bacon, sausage gravy, and crispy fried chicken, we enjoyed three special dinners in “The Barn” with the teams of Chef Joseph Lenn and sommelier Andy Chabot.
1. Chef Lenn cooked a special tasting menu the first night, which included a number of surprises: pickled-pepper-glazed pork cracklings with a buttermilk panacotta, slow-cooked poached egg with smoked mountain trout, wild mushroom risotto and 25-year-old balsamic, a special shoe-peg pencil cob grits with Tennessee black truffle shavings and Parmesan cream, sous vide chicken with a wild mushroom spread, beef rib eye cap with rice grits, and apple fritters with a sorghum semi fredo and apple butter. A 2002 Coche Dury Meursault Rougeots and 2002 Dujac Echezaux were great accent points to this thoughtful menu.
2. The second night was completely different and included a butternut squash soup with candied basil, caramelized scallops with parsnip purée, bacon wrapped quail with collard greens, grits with Benton ham bits, hollandaise, ramps and sorghum, beef tenderloin with toasted barley and carrot purée, and fried strawberry pie with lemon sorbet and strawberry jam.
3. Our final night’s dinner featured memorable South Carolina shrimp with grits, Andouille sausage, preserved tomatoes and pickled pepper emulsion, fried sweetbreads with carrot puree, cauliflower soup with capers, an amazing Eden Farms pork loin and crispy shoulder with black rice and barley, and the house special “chicken and potato dumplings,” which married the chicken confit with a rich hen of the woods mushroom sauce. We finished with a decadent peanut butter nougat glace with honey gastrique.
Blackberry Farm is currently developing its own truffle-harvesting program under the supervision of master truffler Tom Michaels and specially bred and trained truffle dogs. The property boasts an Orvis-endorsed catch and release fly-fishing program in its beautiful mountain streams. We had one day of exploring the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains National Park which included a ranger lookout station on the Foothills Parkway, a scenic nature preserve and meadow (Cades Cove), and a drive up Sugarland Mountain to see the spectacular views from the Newfound Gap on the Tennessee—North Carolina border. Blackberry Farm is truly one of America’s greatest hidden treasures and a perfect place for a relaxing and totally pampered weekend.
1471 West Millers Cove Road
Walland, TN 37886