This past weekend I headed down to Knott’s Berry Farm to take in as much of the food at their 2018 Boysenberry Festival as I could. I feel like every year the number of things on offer gets bigger and bigger. This year there were 8 items on the tasting card, as well as numerous other treats at the restaurants throughout GhostTown. There was also boysenberry beer and wine, plus lots of boysenberry treats to take home both from both the park and from third party vendors. In order to focus a little bit, here are the top five things I ate at this years Knott’s Boysenberry Festival!
#5 – Boysenberry Chicken Wings
A regular standby for the festival, the wings were solid as always. The wings are baked (we think) then finished on the grill and covered in the Knott’s boysenberry bbq sauce. The wings are nice and crispy, and the sauce is consistently good (I always try to keep a bottle at home).
#4 – Boysenberry Sausage
The sausage is freshly grilled, basically to order, and itself was really good. There are three sauce options, boysenberry ketchup, mustard, and relish. Of those I think the ketchup had the most berry flavor, so that’s what I went with. A totally filling and tasty “main entree”. I wish it came a “boysenberry” bun like the hot dogs did (which I didn’t get to try), but still pretty good. And with enough ketchup you get the fruit flavor.
#3 – Boysenberry Elote
The street-style elote (grilled corn) is covered in boysenberry butter and mayo, plus cheese, seasoning salt, and cayenne pepper (optionally). The corn itself was surprisingly good (being out of season, I think), and the toppings were all delicious. If I had one complaint it’s that all of the toppings sort of hid the fruit flavor. My main criteria for Boysenberry Festival foods is to really emphasize the berry. So while it was really good, I’d move it up higher if it had been even more berry flavor-centric.
#2 – Boysenberry Fun Bun
The Fun Bun is basically famous at this point, but I haven’t had one if a couple years. Even split three ways, the giant fried funnel cake/cinnamon bun hybrid is a filling dessert (or breakfast in our case). Aside from that delicious and decadent base, the boysenberry icing/sauce covering it has a really pronounced flavor, giving the whole bun a strong fruit taste. I would happily lick up the leftover icing.
#1 – Boysenberry Quesadilla
Finally, my favorite thing this year was definitely the one that highlighted the boysenberry in the most interesting way (and with a lot of berry flavor). Along from the beautiful bright purple tortillas, which really did taste like boysenberries, the quesadilla came with a boysenberry salsa that had both an intense fruit flavor and a bit of a kick. The sweet/spicy combo was really good (think like a spicy jam or chutney), and of course cheese and fruit pair well together. If I were to have just one thing from this years festival, this would be it.
Boysenberry Beer – Last year I found the Knott’s boysenberry beer to be pretty light on the fruit. This year, not the case. It’s still definitely beer (not like a cider or lambic), but there’s a strong berry aroma and a noticeable flavor. Really good, and what I wanted for in a special beer. In the future I really hope they’ll partner with more local breweries for additional styles of boysenberry beer (like the tart Belgian-style boysenberry beer from nearby brewery, The Bruery).
Boysenberry Infused Honey – One of the best things I tried from the vendors at the festival was a boysenberry infused wildflower honey from Flores honey. The combo of fruit and honey flavor seems like the perfect thing to go on a english muffin or maybe in a salad dressing. I got a big jar of it to take home, and would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a unique boysenberry souvenir.
All of the above foods except the fun bun are on the tasting card this year, and unlike in the past you can use your tasting card tickets to get multiple of the same thing (want 8 quesadillas? Go right ahead!). There are a lot of items like the fun bun that aren’t on the card, most of which I didn’t get to taste since I already felt like I was going to explode. So, if you’ve got some other favorite items I haven’t listed, let us know what they are so I can feel bad for missing them!
If you haven’t made it to the festival yet, you’ve still got time. The Boysenberry Festival runs until April 8th. Get more details on the Knott’s website, and if you go (or you’ve been), let us know what your favorite things were! Finally, check out our Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram for more photos and some video from the festival, including some HangTime testing, and the ever hilarious pie “eating” contest.