A TASTE OF BOYSENBERRY FESTIVAL AT KNOTT’S BERRY FARM REVIEW
It’s the most wonderful time of year! Boysenberry time! It is no exaggeration to say that we eagerly await the boysenberry festival each year, and this year even more so! We were absolutely overflowing with excitement to see what new delicious concoctions the team over at Knotts Berry Farm had cooked up for us, as well as which fan favorites would return for 2021!
We decided to treat ourselves to a mini getaway this time around and book ourselves a room at the Knotts Berry Farm Hotel for two nights! And this was definitely the right decision! The hotel had special boysenberry offerings for breakfast which could be ordered for pickup at Amber Waves! We treated ourselves to Boysenberry Pancakes and Boysenberry Mimosas to get the day started on the right foot! Staying at the hotel also saved us a bit of time in the morning, since guests can get their temperature checked in the hotel lobby (and are given a wristband to prove it). With this, you can skip the temperature check at the front gate and go straight to the security checkpoint.
Now of course this year’s event is slightly different from the Boysenberry Festival from year’s past, being primarily a food and retail event; but all that that really means is no rides! Because there was no shortage of entertainment! From live Radio DJs at KNOT RADIO cracking jokes over on Boardwalk, to a virtual easter egg hunt, to crazy Kirk and the Hillbillies performing live on the calico mine stage, there were several things to do and see while you digest your delicious boysenberry treats!
The Easter Egg Hunt is new this year! And instead of using paper and pencils to mark your progress, everything is done through your phone and QR codes. When you enter the park, you’re given a paper that has the first code on it. When you scan it, it leads you to this page:
Then throughout the park, you can find easter eggs hidden with QR codes to scan to keep track of your progress. And when you’ve finished the hunt, it leads you straight to a meeting with the Easter Bunny himself! This is such a fun and cute idea for the entire family. We’ve always talked about how Knott’s does such a great job at engaging kids and this is a perfect example of how they were able to evolve those pieces of entertainment to fit the current state of the world. I honestly see them doing things like this a lot more in the future. Imagine a Haunt related one…
The Radio DJs over on the Boardwalk were absolutely amazing! Whether you were watching live or hearing their broadcast over the speakers, it gave the whole area this buzz of energy and had you chuckling along to all of their corny jokes! The writing for these two were absolutely stellar and never felt stale or old. They even gave Gabe a personal shoutout!
Another favorite of ours would have to be the variety of characters that popped up in windows and on balconies in Ghost Town. From the Deputy Mayor greeting you and offering suggestions for what to use your tastings on, to the quirky baker asking for suggestions for ingredients to add to her recipe from a second story window, every turn offered a new fun surprise! These small moments are just some of the things Knott’s does so very well. The guest interaction, even from feet above or away, are personal and memorable. We are always impressed with the actors and how they easily engage guests and lure into their story. For us, it makes for a much more satisfying experience.
Another standout area of the park had to be Camp Snoopy! This whole area was so beautifully decorated! There were giant easter eggs and little critters scattered throughout the area, as well as one giant photo op with a very cute bunny! Oh, and don’t forget to get your picture taken with the Easter Beagle! And camp snoopy looked even more spectacular at night! It’s honestly a must see for those who love how Theme Parks completely transform at night. Also, Knott’s at night is simply gorgeous.
Now on to the main event: the food! Now, the tasting lanyard can be a little intimidating at first glance, there is so much to choose from! (Nikki always gets overwhelmed at the thought of all the items listed) We recommend taking a minute when you first arrive and really go over the card and see where items are offered. You only get 5 tastings, make ‘em count! There were definitely a few standout items for us this year. For Nikki, it was the Boysenberry Elote! It was pretty, and delicious, and you get such a big serving!
Another favorite of Nikki’s would have to be the Shrimp Taco with Boysenberry Salsa. The sweet and spicy combo of the salsa worked so well with the shrimp. You get a generous serving of shrimp as well!
As far as Gabe’s Favorites go, the winner would have to be the Boysenberry BBQ Brisket Tater Tots with a Boysenberry Aioli. The crispy tator tots work perfectly with the juicy Brisket and the slight sweetness of the aioli takes it to the next level. Honestly, it seems like with each event, the tater tot stand gets some of the best items. Next was the Boysenberry Meatloaf with Scalloped Potatoes. The star of this dish was by far the meatloaf. The sweetness of the Boysenberry BBQ sauce mixed perfectly with the rich meatloaf. We only wished we got triple the serving because we could eat that much of this tasting.
Lastly, we have the Boysenberry BBQ Carne Asada Pizza! This was a surprise hit for us. Although there is a good amount of crust, the Boysenberry BBQ sauce and cheese make up for it. The Carne Asada was also extremely tender.
While most of the items we tasted were on the range of good to great, there was one that left us a bit disappointed. That was the Philly Cheesesteak Fries. They were drowning in cheese sauce, which some people might love, but we didn’t. The only piece of food that had Boysenberry in it were the onions and you could barely taste it.
After we had our fill of savory boysenberry goodness, (and after taking a good stroll around the park to make room in our tummies) we moved on to dessert! Now we both have very different tastes when it comes to desserts, so we each had a different winner in this category. Gabe LOVED the Boysenberry Bread Pudding! It was the item he was most looking forward to trying, and one of his favorites of the whole event!
Nikki had the Hint of Lemon Churro Bites with Boysenberry and White Chocolate Dipping Sauce. Strangely enough, while Nikki absolutely despises white chocolate, she loved this dish! The slightly lemony churro worked so so well with the boysenberry dipping sauce!
We also tried the Boysenberry Dippin Dots, and while they weren’t bad, they just weren’t our favorite offering of the day. We would recommend using your tasting for something else, and maybe buying these separately if you really want to try them.
One of the great things Knott’s implemented early on in their first Tasting Events was multiple locations for a single item. This way, crowds are easily disbursed through the park. Especially for the most sought after items. So make sure to look at your lanyard or the map displays around the park. Because you can probably find the food you want with little wait.
Finally, no trip to Knotts would be complete without some beverages! We both could not wait to get our hand on a boysenberry bite (or snakebite)! This drink is 50/50 Boysenberry beer and boysenberry cider, and 100% delicious! We took a break to enjoy this beverage at an out of the way table to people watch and (safely) catch up with some friends! Also, we want to make a point of saying we never use our tasting cards on drinks. I believe we’ve talked about this in prior reviews of Knott’s Tasting Events. This time around, we noticed the tasting sizes of Beer and Cider to be much bigger than previous years. So the size disparity between a full serving and a tasting size isn’t as great. But, we still choose to purchase a full beer and use our tastings on the food. Our thought is this, use the tastings for the unique offerings.
If you’re like us, then you’ll need those breaks between food tasting to make room for more Boysenberry deliciousness. But, if you don’t feel like a drink, there are plenty of craft stands to peruse at your leisure. Anything from flavored nuts, to art and clothes. There is a wide variety of items to choose from and even Knott’s has their own stand selling Boysenberry plants guests can take home.
Overall, The Taste of Boysenberry event at Knotts Berry farm is definitely a can’t miss experience. it provides great food, great entertainment, and a great bang for your buck! Not only that, but Knott’s continues to show how well they can handle crowds and enforcing mask rules. We felt safe our entire visit. For only $45 you get parking, entrance to the park, 5 tastings and so much free entertainment! Not to mention just the pure enjoyment of being back in the park with friends and loved ones, making memories.
I feel like I can speak for so many of us when I say that the events that Knotts Berry Farm has been able to safely put on in these difficult times have been much needed and appreciated! We have continuously been impressed with the amount of effort and passion that has been put into making these events happen over the last year. We would sincerely like to thank Knotts Berry Farm for giving us something to look forward to. We made the joke over the weekend that the event should really be called a “A Taste of Normalcy” because that’s exactly what Knotts was able to offer to so many people. A taste of normalcy, and a bit of hope that there are brighter days ahead.
You can also listen to our latest podcast episode where we talk more in depth about our visit to Knott’s Berry Farm for Taste of Boysenberry Festival!