This is where Blackberry really shines. They’ve coined the phrase Foothills Cuisine to describe its cooking; a blend of Tennessee country food and haute cuisine and seldom have I so eagerly waited for the next meal as I did during my visit here. They have the unique ability to take a standard dish and transform it into something entirely new and often spectacular. Produce and herbs are grown on the property and they make their own cheese and sorghum infused butter. Breads and rolls and muffins are so delicious you’ll never think of a low carb diet again.
Breakfast is not your usual experience here because so much is homemade or produced right on the property. Here’s a sampling; Cornmeal Pudding with Maple Cream Cheese, Blackberry’s Grain and Nut Cereal, Blueberry Cottage Cheese Griddlecakes with Pecan Butter and Spiced Maple Syrup.
The juices are freshly squeezed, the butter creamy and sweet and the muffins and fresh breads so tasty you’ll have to fight the urge to eat the entire basket.
Lunch is an adventure every day because it can be served in the dining room, at the boathouse down by Walland Pond or at the Yallarhammer Pavilion around Singing Brook Pond on the other side of the property. They’ll even pack you a picnic lunch and provide you with a back pack and blanket if you wish to go off and explore the property on foot or bike.
The weather cooperated when we were there in October, so lunch was served at the pavilion around the pond. A bluegrass duo provided the background music and the smell of BBQ wafted through the air as we arrived on our bikes. While cocktails and wine were available, the home-made apple cider, pressed while you waited, was perfect for this crisp autumn day. There were lots of delicious salads, grilled chicken on skewers with three different marinades and scrumptious homemade desserts. My favorite dish was the BBQ sundae; three layers in a mason jar of pulled BBQ pork, baked beans and cole slaw. Yum!
Upon departure, a box lunch was prepared for us that had pressed grilled chicken salad with ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes, roasted root vegetables with shiitake mushrooms, a toasted orzo salad, blue cheese prunes and walnut blondies. What a send-off!
The Dogwood Bar sits just off the veranda in the Main House and is open each afternoon until everyone has gone to bed. They have a wonderful selection of American whiskeys (the surrounding area produces America’s best), but it’s their homemade Blackberry vodka that you have to try either straight up or in one of their innovative cocktails like a Blackberry Cosmo. Sitting in one of the rocking chairs on the veranda with your favorite cocktail overlooking the mountains is surely one of the great pleasures of life.
Dinner is served in two dining rooms, the more formal Main Dining Room and the clubby Laurel Room. The Main Dining Room has beige pastel walls adorned with striking hunt oil paintings. Soft light illuminates from brass chandoliers and table lamps. Heavy drapes frame pine paned windows that look out to the mountains. Chairs and banquettes are covered in a rich green brocade.
The Laurel Room has beamed ceilings, wood paneled walls, illuminated oil paintings, wall sconces and brass chandoliers. The angled banquettes have views out to the mountains. This is my favorite of the two rooms, it is intimate and romantic.
Dinner was a choice of a Tasting Menu or an A La Carte Menu. We opted for the A La Carte so we could try more things. An additional $60 gets wine pairings for each course.
We both started with wild sturgeon wrapped in country ham with a warm BBQ vinaigrette. Not something I would normally choose, but was it ever good. Jen’s second course was a field salad made special with a sesame cheddar wafer, spiced pecans and a blackberry sesame vinaigrette. I had a marvelous country ham wrapped goat cheese with cornbread croutons, radiccho slaw and a sorghum vinaigrette.
For entrees I enjoyed an unusual sweet tea cured pork chop with onion jam jus, mustard mashed potatoes and tobacco onions. Jen’s grilled Angus filet was served with a thyme jus, smoked Portabella mushrooms, crisp fried carrots on mustard glazed Yukon Gold potatoes.
Unbelievably we still had room for dessert and shared a Tennessee chocolate whiskey cake with mint chocolate sauce and whiskey ice cream.
The wine list is magnificent, one of the best I have ever seen for a number of reasons. First, the sheer depth of the list is breathtaking, second, there are wines even the most sophisticated wine buff won’t know, third there are tons of half bottles and finally, there is a wonderful balance between the high end and more modestly priced wines. It is obvious that this list is a labor of love between Sommelier, Andy Chobot and Proprietor Sam Beale. Chobot was particularly helpful during our stay, leading us to some delicious wines, all priced under $50. Go for the wine list alone!
Each evening a huge bonfire is cast in the fire pit, just a short stroll from the Main House. Guests congregate on stone benches surrounding the fire and the pit area is stocked with hot chocolate, cider and blankets. One night when we were there a guest entertained with a guitar and songs as coyotes howled in the distance.
Dinner is included in the room rate. Liquor and wine is extra.
WHAT OTHERS SAY…
Forbes 4 Star-The Barn