Who can resist the temptation of food? Fact is, there’s nothing like savouring a truffle dish by one of the best chefs in the world, digging into a bowl of pasta in Italy, or sampling mooncakes in China.
Gastronomy is one of life’s greatest joys. For that reason, food festivals can be found year-round, spanning most continents and a number of countries — from the rolling hills of Napa’s modest wine country to the snowy streets of St. Petersburg to the verdant countryside in the Philippines.
These are the best food festivals around the world.
Best Food Festivals Around the World
Start your year off with a bang. While there aren’t a lot of food festivals happening in the first month of the Gregorian calendar, there are a few culinary goings-on worth flying across the globe for.
Napa Truffle Festival
- Perfect for: Truffle lovers and avid foragers
- Where: Napa, California
A four-day weekend in January must be spent in California’s best-known wine country, Napa Valley, where truffle fans rub elbows with truffle scientists as well as Michelin-star chefs from all over the world. The annual Napa Truffle Festival might just be the best event in the US to sample delicious truffle-based creations and purchase as many fresh black truffles as you can afford.
- Perfect for: Those who adore Spain
- Where: Madrid, Spain
The fourth Monday of January sees Madrid celebrating its ever-evolving culinary scene with Madrid Fusion. The Spanish capital welcomes more than 100 chefs from all over the world to showcase different types of cuisines as well as hold workshops, talks and competitions.
Travel to: Food tours in Europe
The month of February isn’t just for love and romance. It’s also for insane festivals that celebrate everyone’s favourite seed-bearing edibles.
Chinchilla Melon Festival
- Perfect for: Fans of watermelons and messy activities
- Where: Chinchilla, Australia
If you think eating watermelons is messy enough, you might be way in over your head at the Melon Festival held about four hours drive away from Brisbane in Chinchilla. Still, you must come and get your melon on. The self-proclaimed Melon Capital of the World celebrates the festival on a three-day weekend with fun, ridiculously squishy events like a melon run, melon skiing, melon pip spitting, a melon chariot race and a melon ironman and ironwoman race.
Battle of the Oranges
- Perfect for: Those who appreciate a good food fight
- Where: Ivrea, Italy
Forget those small-time, cafeteria food battles. You’ll be in the big leagues during Italy’s Battle of the Oranges, held annually in Ivrea. Every year for three days, the streets of this Northern Italian city turn into a battlefield. The ammunition: more than 500,000 pounds of oranges. Who doesn’t love a food flight?
March sees the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of autumn south of the equator, which means it’s the perfect month to start off a year of outdoor festivals.
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival
- Perfect for: Lovers of adventurous foods
- Where: Hokitika, New Zealand
Perhaps no countries are better at hosting festivals and parties than Australia and New Zealand. Take New Zealand’s Wildfoods Festival, held in the township of Hokitika on the south island on the second Saturday of March. It celebrates all types of grubs, from local Maori fare and well-known dishes to weird bites. Gourmands will appreciate the gourmet sausages, smoked salmon and game meat, while adventure eaters will adore offbeat ones like fish eyes, scorpions, pig ears and duck heads.
Maslenitsa Pancake Festival
- Perfect for: Pancake and crepe lovers
- Where: St. Petersburg, Russia
Russia gives the winter season a proper send-off with pancakes and butter. Taking place the week preceding Russian Orthodox Lent, the Eastern Slavic folk holiday of Maslenitsa revolves around consuming embarrassing amounts of food. The dish of choice is blini (Russian pancake), smothered in butter and topped with jam, sour cream and even caviar.
Though cherry blossom festivals dominate in April, the month that is most often associated with the spring season boasts its share of food festivals as well.
- Perfect for: Pescetarians
- Where: Hvide Sande, Denmark
Spawning herrings draw fish eaters and the world’s most competitive anglers to the town of Hvide Sande at the end of April for the Herring Festival. Denmark’s biggest fish-centric festival holds competitions, tastings, cooking and filleting demonstrations, and even a Mr Herring pageant.
Annual Ottawa PoutineFest
- Perfect for: Lovers of French fries
- Where: Ottawa, Canada
Though Canada’s capital may be known for other local treats — BeaverTails, for example — it’s also known for the biggest poutine festival in the country. Held on the last weekend of April, Ottawa’s PoutineFest showcases over 100 types of poutine, French Canada’s favourite carb. It’s an essential addition to every potato lover’s bucket list.
The month of May shares a handful of cool food fests as well.
Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling
- Perfect for: Cheese lovers
- Where: Gloucestershire, England
There are instances when it’s acceptable to play with your food, and Gloucestershire’s Cheese Rolling event is one of them. During this Cooper Hill funfest, you’re forgiven for hauling yourself down the hill, rolling and stumbling alongside other participants, in pursuit of a Double Gloucester cheese wheel. It’s a potentially dangerous activity, but it’s a hilarious one too.
- Perfect for: Those who love food in Southeast Asia
- Where: Lucban, Philippines
The Philippines are a hot destination right now, giving Filipino cuisine its turn in the spotlight. To experience both the destination and its luscious food, plan your visit in May as the vibrant San Isidro Pahiyas Festival is held on the 15th of that month. The intricately decorated festival lets festival-goers sample the best of Lucban cuisine.
The start of summer might be known for its music festivals, but it doesn’t mean that food worship has to end. With June being National Dairy Month, it only makes sense for the cheese capital of the United States to hold court.
Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival
- Perfect for: Cheese snobs
- Where: Little Chute, Wisconsin
Celebrate the kitsch on the first weekend of June with a cheese float, a massive cheese parade, a Cheese Jam, a cheese carver, and all types of scrumptious cheese-filled food. Forget your diet; the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival is a much better way to start your summer off.
July’s the month of offbeat holidays like the National Ice Cream Month, World UFO Day, and International Kissing Day. Yet it’s also the month of barbecues, especially in the United States, which celebrates its Independence Day on the 4th of July.
- Perfect for: Meat lovers
- Where: Toronto, Canada
The start of summer must be greeted with a backyard barbecue. However, if you’d rather leave the barbecuing to the experts, then Toronto’s the place for you. During the Canada Day Weekend, the city draws meat lovers and grilling enthusiasts to the Etobicoke Centennial Park for Toronto Ribfest where you can sample some of North America’s best barbecues.
Naples Pizzafest, Italy
- Perfect for: Pizza fans
- Where: Naples, Italy
Pizza might just be the world’s favourite casual dish so it’s no surprise that an entire festival is dedicated it. In Naples, Italy, where the dish originated, local pizzerias compete with other pizza joints from all over the world, vying for pizza lovers’ attention.
With summer in full swing, you’ll be grateful to find any excuse to spend as much time as possible near the ocean. You’re in luck; two of the best food festivals in August will let you do exactly that.
- Perfect for: Food fight fanatics
- Where: Bunol, Spain
Take a break from your coastal vacation and drive 30 minutes inland from Valencia to the town of Bunol, home of the world’s biggest food fight. The squishy, messy, beautifully chaotic La Tomatina, which typically involves about 20,000 participants and one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes is just the ticket for an unforgettable grub-related experience.
Maine Lobster Festival
- Perfect for: Seafood and shellfish lovers
- Where: Rockland, Maine
There is no better way to spend a week of summer than by feasting on every lobster dish you can get your hands on including everything from the typical lobster dinner with buttered corn on a cob to lobster rolls, Mac’n’Cheese and salad. In Maine, lobster capital of the United States, the five-day Lobster Festival held in the first week of August is worth travelling hundreds of miles for.
The beginning of autumn calls for the beginning of harvest fests, mulled cider, hot air ballooning and mid-autumn festivals.
- Perfect for: Those who love sweet treats and autumn
- Where: China and Vietnam
China’s Mid-Autumn Festival, also observed in Vietnam, Taiwan and Singapore, is based on the traditions of moon worship. It’s celebrated by displaying hundred upon hundred of lanterns as well as feasting on delightful mooncakes and cassia wine. Make your way to one of these countries sometime in late September or early October to partake.
Travel to: Food tours in Asia
While Germany is celebrating good beer, other parts of Europe are celebrating delectable food.
Salon de Chocolat
- Perfect for: Those with a sweet tooth
- Where: Paris, France
Many of us have nurtured a great love affair with chocolate and would probably appreciate a chance to experience Paris’ Salon de Chocolat. During this sweet festival, top chocolatiers from all over the world gather to showcase their best concoctions. The French capital will be flooded with chocolate tastings, chocolate shows, chocolate-making workshops and even a chocolate-themed fashion show.
International Alba White Truffle Fair
- Perfect for: Truffle snobs
- Where: Alba, Italy
While Napa, California, has the black truffles, Italy’s got the more expensive white truffles, which takes centre stage for about two months from October through November. The International White Truffle Fair in the Italian town of Alba showcases the rare fungi in a market and show setting. This one’s a festival of the senses.
Take in the autumnal colours and breathe in the crisp air. November is all about fall foliage, fall festivals, and apparently, an omelette fest.
Giant Omelette Celebration
- Perfect for: Fans of breakfast food
- Where: Bessieres, France
A group of 40 grown men cooking a giant omelette made of 15,000 eggs might be a bizarre sight to outsiders. To the people of Bessieres in Southwestern France however, it’s an annual tradition and part of their Easter celebrations. The whole thing takes up to 40 minutes to cook; the good news is, you get to sample the finished product along with your fellow spectators.
Though the holidays are around the corner and you’ll probably be eating your weight in holiday fare, there’s enough time and space in your belly to squeeze in one last food festival before the year is over.
Hong Kong Food Festival
- Perfect for: Foodies and Christmas lovers
- Where: Hong Kong
Hong Kong, famous for its holiday and gastronomic offerings, boasts a food festival that happens over Christmas, blending the two things it does best. The Hong Kong Food Festival, which usually starts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and lasts for five days, is a great way to partake in the destination’s world-famous culinary scene, sample cuisines from all over Asia, and celebrate the holiday season. How could you miss it?
Share with us in the comments below and let us know what food festivals you will be attending.