The 10 Best Wine and Food Festivals in the World
Wine connoisseurs and foodies have plenty to get excited about this year, with a packed roster of gastronomic events taking place around the globe. From celebrity studded culinary masterclasses to grape-stomping competitions, here are 10 Wine and Food festivals that you don’t want to miss.
Food and Wine Classic, Aspen
One of the most prestigious epicurean events in the States, Aspen’s annual Food and Wine Classic festival is organized by the team of gastronomes behind the monthly Food & Wine Magazine and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012. Each June, a world-renowned team of wine experts and celebrity chefs descend on the Rocky Mountains resort, bringing with them thousands of ravenous foodies to participate in a series of workshops, cooking competitions, parties and dinners. Most notable is the famous Grand Tasting Pavilion, showcasing a mouthwatering display of foods and wines from around the globe.
Festival Gourmet International
Mexico’s most popular food and wine extravaganza has been running for almost 20 years, with local restaurants inviting a roster of celebrity chefs to collaborate on a range of creative regional cuisine. Held annually in Puerto Vallarta, the Festival Gourmet International spans 10 days, during which each restaurant produces a special nightly menu, and activities include cooking workshops, talks and the famous Chef’s Hell-Raising Party.
Taste of Amsterdam
The Netherlands might be better know for its coffee culture than as an epicenter of global cuisine, but the Taste of Amsterdam festival looks set to change that. The three-day festival is held in the capital each June, drawing around 15,000 food lovers to the city for a series of wine tastings, culinary demonstrations and food exhibits, culminating in a giant alfresco feast produced by a team of the city’s finest restaurants.
New Zealand’s Wildfoods Festival
From the gourmet to the grotesque, even the most adventurous gastronomes will be amazed with the foods on offer at New Zealand’s annual Wildfoods Festival. Held each spring in Hokitika on the South Island’s West Coast, the wacky food festival is one of the most unique culinary events in the world, with a banquet of daring delicacies on offer. This isn’t one for the weak of stomach, but where else can you dine on sautéed Lambs’ testicles, snack on fried huhu grubs and wash it down with a side of Sheep brain? Even the drinks come with a twist – pressed flower wine or worm milkshakes, anyone?
Wurstmarkt Festival, Germany
Renowned as the world’s largest wine festival, Germany’s Wurstmarkt, or ‘Sausage Market’, is the ultimate event for European wine lovers, with a long history dating back to 1417. Held on the second and third weekend of September in the town of Bad Durkheim in Germany’s Pfalz region, the Wurstmarkt pulls in crowds of over 600,000 visitors and features over 150 different wines from locations all over the country. Wine tasting is the main event, with a dedicated Wine Village and Winegrower’s garden set up to showcase local wines, two giant wine and beer halls, and dozens of Schubkärkchler – traditional tasting stalls where wine is served up with the region’s other specialty, homemade sausages.
World Gourmet Summit, Singapore
Singapore’s biggest food and wine festival has been bringing the gastronomic glamour to Asian shores for 16 years now, with 10 days of food themed events focusing on ethnic cuisines from around the world. Cooking workshops taught by master chefs, celebrity-studded charity dinners and tastings with world renowned winemakers are all on the schedule, but most impressive is the giant alfresco Gourmet Village and 5,000 square meter Gourmet market, where mere mortals can pick up the skills and ingredients to indulge their culinary creativity.
Good Food and Wine Show, South Africa
With annual events held in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, there’s no excuse for missing South Africa’s largest and most popular food and wine show. The giant culinary industry exposition brings together internationally acclaimed chefs from all over the globe, for a weekend of gourmet events. Expect cooking demos and culinary art displays held in the four state-of-the-art Kitchen Theaters, wine tasting, hands-on cooking workshops and a gourmet restaurant area. Those with a sweet tooth will likely enjoy the annual gelato competition, whereas coffee drinkers can head to the dedicated coffee theater, host to the National Barista Championships.
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
Roving gastronomes have long had the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival on their agenda and the huge 20-day event is the biggest of its kind in the Pacific. Australia’s cultural capital has been hosting the event each March for over 20 years now, featuring the country’s most prestigious sommeliers and culinary masterminds in an array of food and wine centered events. Whether you’re interested in watching celebrity chef demonstrations, sampling artisan food products, attending gourmet gala dinners and Australian wine seminars, or taking a cooking master class, there’s something for all tastes and experience levels. Even if you don’t get tickets for one of the main events, the city will be going food-crazy throughout the festival, with farmers markets taking over the streets, fun family-friendly activities being held around town and special menus and promotions running at many of the city’s top restaurants.
Food & Wine Festival, Austin
With so many Food and Wine Festivals taking place around the US, it’s hard to choose the best, but for a super size festival with bags of character, head to the Austin Food & Wine Festival. The Lone Star State casts away its Tex-Mex staples and barbecue grills for an annual weekend of gourmet cuisine and fine wine. Events include live cooking demonstrations from top culinary experts, wine seminars, live music and the legendary Grand Tasting Pavilion where over 80 wine, spirit and artisan food producers will be showcasing their products. Alternatively, wine lovers might prefer the annual autumn Grapefest – a riotous celebration of America’s 5th largest wine-producing state complete with endless wine tastings, an International Wine Garden, wine-themed culinary demonstrations and an hilarious grape-stomping contest.
Real Food Festival, London
The UK hosts a plethora of food festivals but the most patriotic has to be the Real Food Festival, specializing in homegrown, sustainably and ethically produced food and wine from around the British Isles. Held each spring in London’s Southbank center, the 3-day festival celebrates the country’s most delicious food products with a series of events and tasters run by top chefs, farmers markets and live demonstrations. Visitors will get the chance to sample and purchase artisan cheeses, chutneys, meats, hand-made chocolates and a range of regional delicacies from around the UK. Even if you can’t make it for the annual mega-event, you can get a taste of London’s finest at the weekly Real Food Markets held along the Southbank waterfront.
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