These delicious little biscuits named “Miss Jewel” were my favorite. They were by Flour Head Bakery/Tomato Head. They tasted like sausage balls.
The International Biscuit Festival, held this past weekend in downtown Knoxville, was an absolute delight. In fact, if you ask me, it was the best one in the six years of its existence.
Why? Because the organizers, reacting to the many complaints about overcrowding and gridlock last year, expanded the footprint this time so that 20,000 folks could walk around and actually enjoy the day rather than being constantly jostled. In addition to Market Street, the festival spread out across two blocks of Church Avenue, leaving plenty of space between booths. For a $10 fee, you could sample any five biscuits you wanted.
And the biscuits were just fabulous. They ranged from sweet and cakey to savory and tender — with everything in between. I didn’t taste a bad one, to tell you the truth. We had out-of-town guests and I loved seeing their reactions. We — and they — couldn’t get the smiles off our faces.
Here’s a glimpse at just a small portion of the biscuits and activities.
It didn’t take long for a big crowd to swamp “Biscuit Boulevard” — actually Market Street on a normal day.
A view along Church Avenue facing Gay Street. This is the new part of the festival’s footprint.
Meanwhile, his wife, Sharon, was passing out samples.
The folks from King Arthur Flour brought their awesome truck. I love the rolling pin as a bumper!
My husband, Alan Carmichael, right, with our friends from Montana, Carol Bradley and Steve L’Heureux.
Here’s Carol’s favorite biscuit. It’s called “Sprinkles” and it’s from The Biscuit Shop in Starkville, Mississippi.
Nikki Miller-Ka was not having any problem giving away samples of Southern Biscuit Flour.
Tupelo Honey Cafe was passing out whipped cream cheese and orange jalapeno marmalade biscuits.
Erin Donovan, left, from Visit Knoxville, is the Biscuit Queen! Here she’s with my buddy Shanna Browning.
These beauties from The Plaid Apron are called “Grittin’ Porky in the Jam Patch.” I overheard this comment, “They taste weird. But good.” Ha.
Here’s a 1-minute video featuring Mark. It was created by Whole Foods Market, where you can purchase his products. (Click here.)
Speaking of Whole Foods, its folks were giving out smoked fried chicken biscuits with red pepper bacon jam. Wow.
These guys playing on the Flatbed Music Stage were Subtle Clutch from Farragut High School. They were such fun to hear and watch.
Click here for a short News Sentinel article about Subtle Clutch and their Americana Music.
WATE and Sapphire went in together to make buttermilk cathead biscuits with Benton’s bacon jam.
Pam Treacy had a good idea. She took along a Tupperware container and put all her biscuit selections in it to eat later while sitting down.
The Hilton offered applewood smoked bacon scones with pecan brittle topping.
And over at the Crowne Plaza booth, Hubert Smith was giving away so-called “Sugar Crown Biscuits.”
Lipton was introducing its new sparkling iced teas with a truck that blew bubbles!
From Cosmo’s Cafe located in Gourmet’s Market came “The Big Nasty.”
Here’s the gang from B97.5. From left, Shane Cox, Brad Jeffries, Michele Silva, Ashley Adams and Valerie Anderton. Michele, currently with WVLT-TV, joins the radio station next week.
They were passing out biscuits and gravy. Nothing wrong with that!
Mountain Dew brought its Dewshine car.
I personally loved the Murray’s Cheese offerings. On the front plate, clockwise from top left: estate gouda with peach marmalade, biscuit topped with goat cheese and Tennessee honey, and Grafton cheddar wrapped with La Quercia prosciutto.
Here are some of our downtown neighbors, Robin Thomas and Chris Crouch, in line at the King Arthur Flour truck. I love the company’s philosophy: We believe baked goods and doing good go hand in hand. The company is 100 percent employee owned.
Meanwhile, the iconic “Man in a Boat” statue at the corner of Church Avenue and Gay Street was popular all day.
At 11, it was time for the Blackberry Farm Biscuit Brunch, set up under a big tent at the Krutch Park extension.
Always a good sign.
Sweet little centerpieces.
Another good sign! The Bloody Marys featured my favorite vegetable: okra!
Ellen Robinson and Peter Acly. Her hat was a showstopper.
Mason Foley was up from Atlanta to visit with his mother, my pal Mickey Mallonee.
Laurens Tullock’s cap was the perfect choice.
Chris Zuhr, left, and Greg Horne provided perfect mood music.
And then biscuits arrived! I had promised myself not to eat any more biscuits. But, somehow, one of these spring onion temptations disappeared into my mouth before I could give it a second thought! They were melt-in-your-mouth wonderful.
Between courses, Carol got a chance to catch up with former Knoxville mayor and ambassador to Poland, Victor Ashe. Carol worked with me long ago at the now defunct Knoxville Journal and also knew Victor from her days covering politics for the now defunct Nashville Banner.
The next course was beautiful, I thought. Cured Sunburst trout with pickled ramps, fava beans and cornbread.
Herb rubbed wood grilled leg of lamb with tomato braised greens on grits.
OK, this lamb course was a little controversial. I don’t eat lamb (due to growing up with tales of Mary’s and all), but I ate everything else on the plate and thought it was excellent. I just assumed the lamb would be, as well. But numerous folks complained that the lamb was “tough” or described it as “hard to cut.” My tablemate from Montana, Steve, who ate his lamb and most of his wife’s, too, is a lamb lover. He said the lamb was delicious and the reason it seemed tough and hard to cut was because we were only given dinner knives. “We should have had steak knives,” he noted. “Then it wouldn’t have been hard to cut. But I tackled it with my butter knife and it was well worth the effort.” What does everyone else think?
This course was not controversial at all. Everyone raved about it. Lavender Demerara cake with South Carolina strawberries and lemon curd.
Melinda Meador, left, and Sheena McCall try to make this event every year.
So, there you have it. Another fantastic International Biscuit Festival. Thanks to John Craig, the “biscuit boss,” for heading it up. And to all his staff, sponsors and volunteers for making it happen. You did Knoxville proud.