Knott’s Boysenberry Festival

Knott’s Boysenberry Festival: it’s all about the food

Boysenberry waffle on the left. On the right, cinnamon sugar FLOUR tortilla chips with soft-serve boysenberry ice cream. Photo by James Wiedel.
Boysenberry waffle on the left. On the right, cinnamon sugar FLOUR tortilla chips with soft-serve boysenberry ice cream. Photo by James Wiedel.

As we stalked boysenberry delights around Knott’s Berry Farm, we saw a lot of people wearing boysenberry-themed clothes, including hats in the shape of an uncut lattice-topped boysenberry pie. A popular T-shirt proclaimed “I’m all about the food” in Festival-appropriate hues of purples, pinks, and blues.

Although the air temperature was a bit warmer than optimal, a nice breeze kept a lid on the heat. Nothing melted except the boysenberry soft-serve ice cream (with cinnamon-sugar tortilla chips). Lines for the Festival specialties, doled out at free-standing booths speckled around Ghost Town, looked long but moved quickly. We did not take part in the wine and craft-brew tasting at the Wilderness Dance Hall so cannot comment on the featured wines and suds.

The longest line was for the log ride. Big Foot Rapids is undergoing renovation. It is scheduled to re-open as Calico River Rapids this coming Summer.

Homemade Chili on the left, Sausage on the right. No sourdough bowl! Photo by James Wiedel.
Homemade Chili on the left, Sausage on the right. No sourdough bowl! Photo by James Wiedel.

The Festival specialty foods can be sampled by anyone who purchases a Tasting Card ($35 each). As media representatives, we received two free Tasting Cards. Each Card had eight tabs to snap off to redeem for a Festival specialty, but you could spend them in whatever fashion you like. If you wanted seconds, for instance, on Boysenberry Homemade Chili, you could get back in line, hand over another tab and get another helping. (The Chili is normally served in a sourdough bowl, but you can ask that it be served without the bread. When I requested that, I was asked if it was because of an allergy. When I said yes, the servers conscientiously removed their serving gloves and put on new gloves before handling my portion. Ten points for Knott’s training, and ten points to each server! Thank you!)

Boysenberry and lemon hummus on the left, BBQ chicken with boysenberry aioli on the right. Photo by James Wiedel.
Boysenberry and lemon hummus on the left, BBQ chicken with boysenberry aioli on the right. Photo by James Wiedel.

Two Festival foods were available on the way to Fiesta Village, beside the elevated stage coach path and the wildly twisting Jaguar! track. BBQ chicken with boysenberry aioli was served on skewers and received hearty endorsement from more than one of our party. Boysenberry and lemon hummus received more subdued appreciation. (I will confess that I can’t eat the pita bread served with the hummus, and I’m not a big hummus fan. Maybe this would have converted me — stranger things have happened, and we haven’t come across a clinker yet at a Boysenberry Festival.)

The size of helpings was generous — no complaints there! We munched our way through half the offerings over the course of our day without feeling at all deprived. Well, we did buy some bottled water at the General Store, and refilled the bottles at water fountains as we found them. I treated myself to a big cup of iced boysenberry punch as we got ready to leave.

Only one person in our group was willing to try the Boysenberry Elote. Rating: great! Photo by James Wiedel.
Only one person in our group was willing to try the Boysenberry Elote. Rating: great! Photo by James Wiedel.

The one Festival food that I couldn’t convince anybody else to try was Boysenberry Elote. It’s grilled corn-on-the-cob with toppings. Exactly which toppings depends on who grills it! At Knott’s, a server basted a short grilled cob with two different liquids before a second server sprinkled on two different toppings. I think that one topping was crumbly cheese, and the other was… finely chopped and purple. I loved it! But I guess everybody else wasn’t convinced.

Ending note: as media, we were given a free sample of Yogurtland boysenberry frozen yogurt — yum! We think that it will be available outside Knott’s Berry Farm, and will go a-hunting for more. (Sorry — no photo! But it was quite good.)

We did not manage to taste all the Festival yummies. We missed out on, for instance, Habanero Baked Mac and Cheese and Pulled Pork Tostada. A complete list of all fourteen available Festival foods can be found at knotts.com. Adjacent Soak City is not yet open — check their calendar for more information.

Boysenberry dry-rubbed flank steak on skewers, topped with boysenberry cream cheese and paired with fingerling potatoes. Photo by James Wiedel.
Boysenberry dry-rubbed flank steak on skewers, topped with boysenberry cream cheese and paired with fingerling potatoes. Photo by James Wiedel.