It was a lovely evening on March 5th, 2020, when Norm and I went to Knott’s Berry Farm for their Boysenberry Festival Tasting Event. After Scary Farm, the Boysenberry Festival is my favorite time of year down at the old Berry Farm, and we were delighted to get a sneak peek at all the delicious dishes they would be serving up that year. Little did we know that COVID was about to shut down the theme park industry and shutter the 2020 version of the festival.
Fast-forward to March 6th, 2021, and I am walking into Knott’s for A Taste of Boysenberry Festival, the latest in a long line of tasting events for the park over this past year, and one in which folks can finally get their fill of boysenberry goodness.
Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that while it’s not the full-fledged festival we know and love, during these pandemic times, Knott’s continues to excel at creating events that are just enough of what we need to hold us over until the world returns to normal again. And let me tell you, I cannot wait to get back and put more boysenberry goodness in my mouth.
While they can’t offer some of their crazier creations that they presented to us last year, the Berry Farm does have plenty of boysenberry creations to keep us happy. Each ticket purchase comes with a tasting card that allows you to pick 5 different things from the over 30 stations around the park. They have everything, from meals, to desserts, and even alcoholic beverages. To make it easier for everyone, the cashiers at each station scan your tasting card so no money needs to exchange hands (unless, of course, you’re buying stuff that’s off the menu or want more).
We started the day off by heading to Sutter’s Grill in Ghost Town to try the boysenberry brisket tater tots and the beyond meatballs with boysenberry BBQ sauce and cauliflower cilantro rice. I’m not going to lie, the brisket tater tots was my first and favorite dish of the entire event. That’s not to say that everything else wasn’t fantastic, but the brisket just melted in my mouth and tasted great. The boysenberry meatballs are generally my favorite of any event when Knott’s brings them out, so I was a little nervous about trying the “beyond” version made from “Beyond Meat.” That said, my fears were gone in an instant, because it was so good.
We made our way to Coasters after that so we could try the Boysenberry Mai Tai. While it was not very rummy, it was still quite delicious and a good way to quench our thirst a bit. Rounding out our visit to the Boardwalk, we stopped at both the Boardwalk Pier and the Boardwalk BBQ for some more snacks. At the pier, I had the elote with boysenberry mayo, cotijia cheese, butter, and tortilla strips. It was HEAVENLY. From the Boardwalk BBQ, we got the Boysenberry Balsamic Brussel Sprouts, which was also fantastic. In fact, it was so good, we forgot to take a photo of it! We rounded that out with a Boysenberry Cider, because you can’t go wrong with a classic, can you?
The BBQ Meatloaf and Scalloped Potatoes, also from the BBQ, was another great choice. It was basically like a full on meal, and it filled us up quickly. Which brings me to another good point about these tasting events: the portions are usually huge! The $45 price tag for the event is a great value for the amount of food you can get from a single tasting card, and I definitely think this is one of the best “food events” in SoCal currently.
Since we were so stuffed, we decided to end our day with some lighter fare, and went to Mrs. Knott’s Pie Kitchen to take home a cookie decorating kit. We didn’t make it until later on in the day, but it came with two, huge, boysenberry shaped cookies and plenty of frosting / sprinkles to cover both of them. Definitely a good choice! And finally, some popcorn with boysenberry butter ended our day. It was fantastic.
My only gripe with the tastings this time around is that the tasting card, while listing everything available, made it hard to navigate for dietary restrictions. At previous Knott’s tasting events, they had which items were available as Gluten Free or Vegan right on the tasting card. This time, you had to go to the booth to see what you could do. A slight annoyance, to be sure, but nothing we couldn’t handle.
In addition to all the great food, Knott’s continues to stuff their park with a ton of extra things to do to keep you busy. From the characters interacting with you high above the streets of Ghost Town, to visits with the Easter Bunny (and Easter Beagle!), an easter egg hunt, and event live musical entertainment, this was more than just a celebration of boysenberries. This was a whole on event, designed to keep the family entertained for hours.
Knott’s Berry Farm continues to be the best theme park in Southern California, especially during the pandemic. The Taste of Boysenberry Festival is the best food event you can find on the market these days, and we highly recommend it. It’s on select dates March 5 through May 2. Tickets are $45 per person, and you can find more information at: https://www.knotts.com/events/taste-of-boysenberry-festival