6 Best Food Festivals From Around The World

It’s summer and you know what that means… Food festival time! Here are the best food festivals for the foodies out there. Our discussions made over food have shaped the modern world as we know it. We as human beings LOVE food, even vegetarians. 

It pervades into every aspect of our lives and with the proliferation of the travel and tourism industry in the last 50 years, cuisines from every corner of the globe have been exported, translated and transferred.

Best Food Festivals

Whether it’s an international gathering or a lone street stall, why not get inspired the next time you are on your travels. Recreating your favorite dishes from the other side of the neighborhood or the other side of the world is a wonderful way to relive the adventure and the memory.

Food festivals offer a smorgasbord for aficionados at all levels of culinary sophistication. Going to one can be an enlightening and educational experience, as well as a chance to sample interesting offerings from numerous countries or regions.

Top 5 Food Festivals

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago
Taste of Chicago

Described as the world’s biggest picnic Taste of Chicago continues its tradition summer tradition. Taste of Chicago runs for three Saturdays in June, at different areas in Chicago: Chicago Austin, Pullman and Little Village. It also runs for a July weekend in Grant Park.

Innumerable vendors, large and small, and leading restaurateurs from across Chicago participate in the event which sees days of annual feasting. From traditional Chicago-style pizza to South American delicacies, Caribbean and Creole cooking to European and Asian food – there is something to suit every palate.

Celebrate decades of foodie festivities which promise a smorgasbord that unites the entire city. Bands also play and there is a fireworks display as well. 

July is a wonderful month to visit Chicago which is a fascinating and vibrant city at any time of the year with a host of museums, galleries, cultural attractions and free events making up a busy annual calendar.

Ribfest in Wheaton (Chicago suburb)

If you are visiting the Chicago area in June, be sure to check out Ribfest at the DuPage Event Center & Fairgrounds in Wheaton, Illinois. Naperville, a nearby suburb, was the host for decades but Wheaton, now hosts the annual event. Come out and taste ribs like you never imagined. There is also a full lineup of bands.

Wheaton is located in the far western Chicago suburbs. If you want to use public transportation, you can take a train from Chicago and Uber or Lyft over to Ribfest 

The Crave Sydney International Food Festival

The Crave Sydney International Food Festival
The Crave Sydney International Food Festival

From the land where livestock seemingly outnumbers the people, the waters are bountiful with seafood, and where sun ripened fruits and vegetables grow perennially it’s no wonder that Sydney hosts one of the biggest food festivals in the world.

Taking place throughout the month of October annually, events are organized across the Sydney area with celebrity chef conferences, cook offs, pop-up restaurants and specialized features such as the ‘Sugar Hit’ for those with a serious sweet tooth or the ‘World Dinners’, celebrating signature dishes from across the globe.

For an early morning treat there is also the Bondi Breakfast, masterminded by celebrity chef Bill Granger which last year saw 5000 tourists and locals descend upon Bondi Beach to enjoy the sunrise with a bite to eat.

Taste of London

Taste of London
Taste of London

Part of the larger ‘Taste Festivals’ organization which sees events take place in Amsterdam, Dublin and Edinburgh from the end of May to early July, Taste of London is the pinnacle of these gastronomic galas.

The festival features a range of activities from the colorful ‘Taste of Jamaica’ celebrating London’s Caribbean community to celebrity demonstrations from the likes of Gary Rhodes and Theo Randall; there’s even a Circus Bar where patrons can sample innovative cocktails while gazing at the weird and wonderful.

Culinary master classes, cookery schools and even a flyby experience from British Airways demonstrating the link between taste, smell and dining at 50,000 ft, round off this four day extravaganza.

Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival

Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival
Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival

Not that we’d ever need much of an excuse to jet off to the idyllic Caribbean island of Barbados, but every November the country’s leading culinary lights gather to launch the now renowned Food, Wine and Rum Festival.

The Bajan people are known the world over for their generous hospitality, sincerity and warmth and food (and alcohol) are a central feature of this social identity.

Run in conjunction with the Visit Barbados tourism board the event brings together the entire island with food, dance, drink and music; events include late night soirees, cooking demonstrations with the island’s finest chefs, wine tasting lessons, exclusive luncheons and a Bajan fiesta.

Let’s not also forget that most enjoyable Barbadian staple of rum; with a series of tastings and tours dedicated to the liquor that has become synonymous with the island.

Brusselicious – Brussels, Belgium

Brusselicious - Brussels, Belgium
Brusselicious – Brussels, Belgium

The Belgians can be described as an eccentric bunch- the home of Tintin and Renee Magritte – the country’s capital also plays host to an ambitious yearlong food festival, the first of its sort, in 2012.

With a name as flamboyant as Brusselicious one might anticipate as so often seems the case a rather reserved or underwhelming affair but the organizers have been true to their word and arranged some rather spectacular events.

Dominating the skyline is the aptly named ‘Dinner in the sky’, a 22 person dining platform that every week throughout the course of June is transported to a different iconic location within the city and hoisted high into the sky by an industrial crane.

The diners will be joined at each site by a Michelin award winning chef who will prepare in mid-air, a sumptuous feast. Another familiar site in Brussels is the tram and it seems appropriate that this most faithful of public servants should be rebooted for the 21st century.

Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) Oaxaca, Mexico

This yearly celebration called Night of the Radishes, is held every December 23rd. This food festival celebration involve the carving of elaborate radish based sculptures depicting deistic scenes.

Interesting Food Fests

Other food fests to checkout include:

  •  World Testicle Cooking Championship: Held in Ozrem, Serbia.

Yes it’s exactly as it sounds, bulls’ testicles or Rocky Mountain Oysters as they are also known fried to your liking.

  • Road Kill Cook off and festival: Held in Marlington, WV, USA – Only in America.

Best Food Fests

Many cities all over the world are organizing various food fairs to promote various culinary cultures. The ones on this list span all around the globe. There are a variety of different foods, drinks and other treats to indulge in and enjoy. Most food fests have music and are a fun way to spend a day and/or an evening with friends. 

It once was conventional wisdom that meat made up the major part of food markets. Nowadays, though, plants rule when it comes to international markets. 

It’s best to not make purchases the first time you step into the fest. Everything will look mouthwateringly delicious. Take your time looking at everything from vendor stations and seeing what they have before deciding on purchasing food.

If you are staying all day, you can be prepared to eat your way through the day. Some food vendors may offer smaller portions for sampling and others will offer full meals. There will also be sides, munchies, and creative desserts a plenty!

We all have our favorite foods, and it can be a lot of fun to go try new, unique cuisine and authentic dishes, especially those local to an area. (Chicago pizza, anyone?)

When traveling outside your own country, visiting food festivals is a true cultural experience. It will be a way to easily see what restaurants are popular, what the locals eat, and what the region is famous for.

Whether your craving tamales, truffle fries, Guinness pie, fried Twinkies, or warm apple cider, this list has the tastiest and best food festivals all over the world. Go hungry…. There’s something for everyone!

(Best Food Festivals photo credit: 1 – 1 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 )