Food – it is and always will be our most basic of preoccupations – our social lives are organized around it, business deals made over it, from idle chit chat to serious conversation – our discussions made over food have shaped the modern world as we know it; we as human beings LOVE food.
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.
From luxury holidays to budget backpacking great food can be something that is not constrained by price.
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 neighbourhood or the other side of the world is a wonderful way to relive the adventure and the memory.
Taste of Chicago.
Innumerable vendors, large and small, and leading restaurateurs from across Chicago participate in the event which sees 5 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.
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.
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 organised 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.
Part of the larger ‘Taste Festivals’ organisation 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 colourful ‘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 50,000ft, round off this four day extravaganza.
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.
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 organisers 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.
Honorable mentions: A few culinary conventions that didn’t quite make the list but are wonderfully weird in their own right.
Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) Oaxaca, Mexico – a yearly celebration involving the carving of elaborate radish based sculptures depicting deistic scenes - World Testicle Cooking Championship, 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, Marlington, WV, USA – Only in America.
Have you been to a food festival? Tell us about it!