By: Lauren Durden
Details on the best food festivals worldwide.
Epicurean Twippers are known for their love of all things culinary – from the pursuit of the next great bite to the search for that special ingredient. They wholeheartedly celebrate food holidays, seek out farmer’s markets when traveling and take snaps of their plates to add to their stacks of photos from their travels. Sound familiar? You may be an Epicurean Twipper yourself.
While celebrating food holidays may be fun enough, food festivals offer days of delectable treats, meet and greets with culinary celebrities and a peek into the culinary traditions of different cities and countries around the world. You may know of the New York City Wine and Food Festival or La Tomatina in Spain, but what about a festival dedicated to truffles, or one all about hot chicken? These five food related festivals are TWIP’s picks for some of the best culinary celebrations our Epicurean Twippers can visit on their next travels. Don’t forget to mark your calendars!
The LuckyRice Festival celebrates the cuisines and cultures of Asia through a gastronomic lens.Originally the festival began in New York City, but the tastings, dinners and culinary events surrounding the festival have also recently spread to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Toronto.
With big culinary names like Anita Lo, David Chang, Masaharu Morimoto and Sang Yoon on their culinary council, festival attendees know they are in for a treat. Guests of the festival can learn the proper slurping technique at LuckyRice’s ramen Slurpfest or enjoying a cocktail inspired by Asian ingredients at the Moon Festival Cocktail Feast, among other events. Events are now ongoing throughout each city.
While fried chicken has always been a much loved dish, hot chicken is a regional specialty of Nashville that has been steadily gaining national popularity. Hot chicken is made by frying chicken, then saucing it with a spicy paste made with cayenne pepper, chili powder, garlic, brown sugar and paprika to give it a special kick and serving it over a slice of white bread with pickles atop the chicken.
The festival, which takes place every 4th of July in Nashville, is free to the public and offers festival attendees free samples of hot chicken, endless vendors of hot chicken, beer, a parade and even an amateur hot chicken cook off.
Though Acqualagna is home to both a Black Truffle Festival and White Truffle Festival, it is the National Truffle Festival in late October through early November that the town is known for worldwide. For two weeks in fall, the luxurious and delicious tuber is celebrated for its importance to the Marche region surrounding Acqualagna. The Marche region produces two-thirds of Italy’s annual crop of truffles, with more than four varieties found throughout the area.
During the festival, the small town of Acqualanga bursts with visitors and vendors alike. Guests can peruse vendors offering truffle tastings, classes to learn more about the elusive treat, food stalls and art exhibitions. If travelers are a bit more adventurous, they can even tag along on a truffle hunt, for a fee.
Many visitors of Paris visit the city without ever knowing their close proximity to a vineyard. The butte de Montmartre, where the beautiful Sacre Coeur cathedral sits, is surrounded by more than 1,200 grape vines and plays host to the Fête de Vendanges de Montmartre, or the harvest feast of Montmartre, during the first days of October each year.
The festival includes a week of events featuring visits to the vineyards on the sloping hillsides of Montmartre, a parade, talks on food sustainability and preservation of traditional methods of winemaking, and over 100 food and wine stalls for guests to taste the fares of the local Parisian vendors.
For those that are serious students of the bar, the annual Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans offers cerebral, informative boozy events for attendees who are more obsessed with bitters than baking.
The five day festival began in 2003 as the art of crafting a cocktail had begun to sweep throughout the United States. Today, the festival brings together some of the best mixologists, bartenders, distillers and purveyors of all things related to liberal libations to show off their skills and fares. There are tastings, distillery and cocktail tours, and opportunities to learn more about everything from the latest garnish trends to the history of the daiquiri. The festival culminates with the Spirited Awards, which crowns the best mixologists, bars, brands, writers and spirits in the industry – and gives guests a sneak peek into upcoming trends and which bars and restaurants they should be visiting in the coming year.