With the second International Biscuit Festival under its belt, Knoxville, Tennessee is fast approaching the title of ‘˜Biscuit Capital of the World’. Last year’s festival attendance was estimated at 5,000 with this year’s crowd well over 15,000 according to festival organizers.
“There is something about a biscuit, like a lot of foods, that triggers memories,” event organizer and Biscuit Boss John Craig, explained to reporter Mike Blackberry in the Knoxville News Sentinel. “People will smile and then tell you their biscuit story.”
The International Biscuit Festival had a little bit of everything that makes festivals fun including a; Biscuit Breakfast, a Biscuit Boulevard Tasting Area, Music, a Miss and Mr. Biscuit Pageant, biscuit Folk Art, a biscuit songwriting contest, biscuit art, biscuit related vendors, cookbooks and authors , and a biscuit cook off.
New this year was the International Biscuit Festivals Benefit Dinner hosted by Blackberry Farms with James Beard Award Winning Chef Michelle Bernstein. The sold out event raised money to fight hunger with proceeds going to, Share Our Strength and Second Harvest Food Bank.
Biscuit Boulevard offered visitors an opportunity to taste the best biscuits around with over 20 area restaurants offering their unique biscuit creations. The People’s Choice Award went to Caf© 4 for their Orange Cranberry Streusel Biscuit. Callie’s Biscuits and Pimento Cheese, from Charleston, South Carolina was one of the most popular vendors giving away a whopping 1,000 samples in two hours.
Southern cook book author and television personality Nathalie Dupree demonstrated a biscuit recipe from her latest cookbook ‘˜Southern Biscuits’. Local top chefs and restaurant owners teamed with last year Biscuit cook off winners to provide demonstrations throughout the day.
Music kicked off the festival with Thursday night’s performance of the Cleverlys and King Super and the Excellents, and finished with The Black Lillies with Tift Merritt in concert at the Bijou Theater on Saturday night.
The biscuit cook-off brought in entries from around the country in four categories; Traditional, Kids, Dessert and Most Creative. The winner of the traditional category was Doris Bolalek from Greensburg, PA with her Buttermilk-Yogurt Biscuits. Parker Davis from Knoxville won the kids division with his Garlic Cheddar Biscuits. The Dessert Winner and Grand Champion went to Kim Randall of Hixton, TN with her Sweet Potato Casserole Biscuit. Yours truly, Jackie Hardin won most creative with my Bacon, lettuce and fried green tomato biscuit with Chipotle Mayonnaise.
Knoxville knows how to throw a party and the International Biscuit Festival was no exception. Southern hospitality, music and biscuits, who could ask for more?