Food festivals are a fabulous way to explore local culinary cultures and to sample unique flavors from around the world. If you’re willing to travel to taste something special, check out 10 of our favorite international gastro celebrations.
At this 10-day festival held every year in March, you can sample the finest food and wine from one of the world’s top culinary destinations. Workshops and dinners by celebrity chefs, wine-tasting rooms, themed food crawls, and live entertainment are just some of the highlights. Try to reserve a seat at the World’s Longest Lunch, where you’ll enjoy a 3-course meal at a quarter-mile-long table on the waterfront.
Feast on Canada’s favorite comfort food at this artery-clogging three-day festival in mid-May, which features exotic and traditional poutines from around the world, along with live music, a beer garden with craft brews (including Ottawa’s own Broadhead Brewery), demonstrations on poutine pairings, and a best poutine contest with celebrity judges and local food personalities.
Singapore is a crossroads for a variety of southeast Asian cultures, and its amazing food is a reflection of these diverse (and delicious) influences. Every May, the Savour food festival shows off this diversity, featuring everything from demos and workshops by Michelin-starred chefs to cocktails and gourmet bites from Singapore and further afield.
Chocolate festivals are a dime a dozen, but what sets this one apart is its location at the source: Ecuador produces more premium cacao than any other country in the world. At this mid-June festival, you can choose from a series of tasting sessions and cooking demonstrations. Don’t miss the impressive chocolate sculpture competition on the final day.
Africa’s biggest culinary event, the Cape Town Good Food & Wine Show draws thousands of food lovers from around the continent and around the globe every year. Focusing on sustainability, healthy eating, and the global move toward urban farming, the festival offers cooking demos by celebrity chefs, baking, wine, and kids’ workshops, and a marketplace highlighting the best of local food and drink.
Part of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival in Hong Kong’s picturesque Victoria Harbor, the Dumpling Festival is centered on eating sticky rice (zòngzi) dumplings wrapped in lotus, bamboo, or banana leaves and stuffed with meat, egg, and/or vegetables. Between dumplings, be sure to catch the dragon boat races, in which teams paddle wooden boats carved and decorated to resemble the Chinese dragon.
At this legendary June festival on the waterfront, the best pizzerias in Naples serve up more than 50 versions of what may be the world’s finest pizza. Drawing upwards of half a million visitors, the festival also features the World Pizza Championships, where pizzaiolos from around the globe compete in eight categories, including classical, deep-dish, gluten-free, and freestyle.
Claiming to be the largest food festival in the world, Taste of Chicago is a five-day culinary carnival with a diverse food line-up that features everything from deep-dish pizza and jerk chicken to tacos, hot dogs, gelato, and much, much more. A celebration of one of America’s greatest food cities, the annual July festival includes top-notch entertainment from the likes of Carlos Santana and The Roots as well as three-course meals by the city’s celebrity chefs.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary in September, 2017, the Mistura food festival is the largest in Latin America. Besides showcasing the extraordinary cuisine of Peru — which fuses indigenous ingredients with flavors from Asia and the Middle East — this year’s festival will feature cheeses, wines, soups, and Peruvian tapas, along with international dishes from Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, and Morocco.
A favorite of chefs and food lovers in the know, this annual fall festival in the picturesque northern Italian town of Alba focuses on the prized white truffle. Booths serve up savory and sweet dishes infused with the precious ingredient, and you can buy truffle oil, truffle cheese, and fabulous wines from the region to take home. The festival culminates in an invitation-only truffle auction that attracts luminaries from the food world.