And this my friends, is why Day 4 may have been the best night of the trip. Blackberry Farm.
Really y'all, I'm having trouble even starting this post. I just know nothing I say or show you is going to even get CLOSE to how spectacular this experience was.
Blackberry Farm is always a place that Ryan and I have wanted to visit. We just didn't think that we would ever get the chance until we were older and retired, or if we won the lottery. If you're not familiar with Blackberry Farm, go check it out now. They were even just rated by Travel + Leisure magazine as the number seven resort in the world for exceptional service, being the only resort in North America to place within the top 10.
Our anniversary present to each other was dinner at Blackberry and Ryan gave me a lot of trust in doing this. He didn't know where we were going until one week before we left for Louisville. But I did give him a clue each (business) day for awhile. He first thought we were going to Dollywood, then he was just confused, and finally on the last clue he figured out where we were going. This is largely thanks to the Blackberry Farm Apple Butter in our fridge right now!
Here are the clues:
1. Involves something smoky
2. Dolly could get there in 40 minutes
3. People have been visiting here for over 35 years officially, although people have enjoyed this area since the beginning of time
4. Its name came from Florida
5. A guy named Juan may have been one of the first to set foot here
6. The owner has four human kids
7. The place where we’ll be the longest involves reclaimed wood and manure, but you must wear a coat and tie
8. Make sure you bring your walking shoes
9. It has been endorsed by a top company that has been around since 1856
10. We’ll visit a bar named after one of my favorite trees
11. Dierks Bently frequents this place
12. The man with the “uni” also frequents this place
13. They spell Pie with a “y” (pye)
14. Things will just get better over the “course” of the night
15. Get ready to be “slap/happy” after you get a “taste” of this place
16. Southern Living and many others think its #1
17. You can find the name in our fridge right now
We got ready at our room at Dancing Bear Lodge where we stayed for the night and grabbed a taxi to Blackberry's property. The drive was so beautiful as we started zeroing in on the resort.
We arrived and went to check in before we were escorted in a new Lexus LX to The Barn where we started with a round of drinks in a lounging area. My night could have ended here and I would be a happy woman. Thank goodness it didn't though!
My Charbay Champagne Cocktail was the best drink I've EVER had in. my. entire. life. No lie. It was Charbay Tahitian Vanilla Rum, House Made Strawberry Syrup, Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters and House Champagne.
Ryan had a bourbon, the E.H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon, with a really cool story. It was extra special to us because we came from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Apparently, when a tornado ripped through the town, some of the barrels were exposed to all the elements that a tornado can impart upon a barrel and then it was pulled and bottled as a very rare and delicious blend.
Then we were so eloquently seated for diner. We each did the Tasting Menu and I had the wine pairings, while Ryan continued with the bourbon drinks and a glass of wine too.
So here we go...
This was our amuse bouche, never have I had boiled egg like this!
The Sommelier for the evening was gracious enough to give me a custom print out of what I had for my courses. I unfortunately didn't grab one for Ryan's dishes, so bear with me as I try to remember.
Here is my first course: Green Tomato and Brebis Cheese Tart :: Roasted Green Tomatoes, Ramp Aioli, Carmelized Onions and brebis Cheese.
My wine pairing was a 2011 Chateau Des Annibals La Jouveneelle from Coteaux Varois en Provence. (Gosh I hope I put that right)
Ryan of course had the Charcuturie Plate with House Made Pickles.
It's no secret by now that dessert is my favorite course. But, y'all let me tell you, this entree made me question my reasoning. Chicken and Dumplings.
And let me tell you, these are definitely NOT your Mama's chicken and dumplings. No gooey. No ooey. No soupy blend of flavors.
I wish I could do this dish justice, but I just can't. Here's how Joseph Lenn and his staff explain them, "Chicken Confit, Potato Dumplings and Hen of the Woods Mushrooms". I rethought my dislike of mushrooms real fast when these babies melted on my tongue. Even Ryan said it was one of the best dishes he's ever had.
My next wine pairing went absolutely perfect with these Chicken and Dumplings. A perfect compliment. It didn't overpower the food, I still could taste every divine taste.
Ryan had the Farm Egg which came highly recommended.
By the time the main course came out, I was sure there couldn't be much food on the plate, but then this appeared:
Wood Roasted Guinea Hen. Deeeeelish! Rice Grits (part of what sold me on this dish), Forest Mushrooms, Cippolini Onions and Broccolini. Again, the mushrooms. So great! The leaves sprinkled around the plate were just beautiful too (look in the bottom right side).
Wine was on par, no doubt. I don't normally love reds, but this 2005 Pinot Noir was just what I wanted and needed, but never knew.
Ryan also knew he wanted wine with his main course, Cabernet's being his favorite. This was no disappointment:
Here is his Beef Tenderloin with Tobacco Onions and so much more (Ryan's entree):
And then the dessert menu came.
Duh I chose the one that had funnel cake. Here's two great snaps of my Honey Ice Cream with Funnel Cake and Blackberry Compote. Out of this world. Just wonderful!
I've found that I can't do a Port by the time my dessert comes, so I was elated to taste the 2003 Kiralyduvar that was brought out.
I was so glad Ryan ordered this deconstructed smores-like dessert (sorry, don't have the correct translation). The presentation was so great too, check out that smudged marshmallow!
And if that all wasn't enough, they brought out a celebratory little cake for our anniversary. It's like they researched everything I loved and made this menu for me. Or hey, even things that weren't on the menu like this little, petite Red Velvet Cake:
I was so excited about the whole night I almost forgot to get a picture of the two of us at our cozy, private little booth. Best night EVER!
Of course we couldn't leave without visiting the shop, gotta love all that Le Creuset. We bought some surcie's for friends and family before buying a Blackberry Farm cookbook for ourselves. Since we collect signed cookbooks, we asked that Sam Beall and Joseph Lynn sign the book for us. I'll let you know when its shipped our way!