Top 5 Food Festivals – 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, 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. 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 neighborhood or the other side of the world is a wonderful way to relive the adventure and the memory. Best Beer Festivals in the World
Top 5 Food Festivals
Taste of Chicago
Described as the world’s biggest picnic Taste of Chicago will celebrate 22 years of foodie festivities in 2012 promising a smorgasbord that unites the entire city from July 11- 15.
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 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.
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.
10 Surprising International Food Etiquette Rules
This world is a different place for all of us after all. It may be that we are aware of our table manners, but what about the rest of the world? Are the food etiquettes of others similar to ours or are they too different?
Passing some bread to the other person may seem satisfactory in your culture.
But how will others react if it denotes an entirely different meaning? For example, what if you were on one of our Thailand Luxury Trip? The answers to all these interesting questions are here:
Not Eating With the Fork Is a Norm in Thailand
You can either eat with a spoon or with your hands. Fork plays quite a limited role here: you can just use it to push the rice on your spoon. That’s it! Don’t worry about this tough etiquette because many Thai dishes can be eaten with hands too.
Eating Rice: Sticking the Chopsticks Upright Is Not Allowed In Japan
Remember that even the slightest mistake can be caught easily on the dinner table. So, the best way to use chopsticks according to the Japanese culture is to observe how your Japanese friends are using those. Follow them, and you will find yourself a pro in eating with chopsticks!
Eating With Your Right Hand Is Considered The Norm In Middle East
In the Middle Eastern countries, whether you want to eat food with a spoon or a fork, you can use your right hand only.
You Should Drink Your Coffee before Noon in Italy
Italy has its own culture of excessive coffee consumption. This has also brought up one odd rule into this: drinking cappuccino before noon will save you from getting your stomach upset.
In France, Bread Is NOT an Appetizer
Having lunch with the French will give you an entirely different feeling. Though they speak French, they have their own sets of preferences. Do not ask for bread as an appetizer because the French consider it a part of the main meal.
China: Flipping the Fish Is Not Allowed
Are you wondering how to eat the other side of the fish without flipping it? Since it is the norm in China not to flip the fish, you will have to take out the bone before eating the rest of the fish. This way, the fish will not be flipped!
Do Not Use Your Hands. Instead, Use Knife and Fork in Chile
The main reason behind this etiquette is that the people of Chile are extremely formal during the lunch or dinner. So, even if you want to eat fries, use a fork rather than your hands.
Receive the Glass from the Elders with Both Hands in Korea
This is a symbol of respect. This way, you can also please the elders of Korea.
Shake the Cup of Coffee When You Had It with the Bedouins in Middle East
Ever made Bedouin friends in the Middle East? Just notice how they shake cups when they do not want more coffee. So, if you have had enough coffee, you just need to tilt your coffee cup twice.
Use Tokens Wisely In Brazil
In Brazil, placing orders is carried out by using tokens. There are various token colors used too.
Fun Festivals Around The World
Finally the cold winter weather is starting to subside in the northern hemisphere, giving space for spring to shake things up and give everyone a reason to celebrate!
March, April and May are months full of festivals and events all over the world, giving you an opportunity to experience the best of a country’s culture – or simply an excuse to party and go crazy.
Here are some awesome festivals around the world that will be happening in the next few weeks and are well worth traveling across the globe to experience…
Songkran – Thailand
Dates: April 13th -16th. In Thailand it is time to celebrate the coming monsoon season, which will bring the rain many have been longing for.
They celebrate it with a festival called Songkran, where people head out to the streets with water guns to spray everyone who walks past.
If you walk on the streets where the festival is celebrated, prepare to get soaked!
Get yourself a water gun from the nearest 7/11 and join in with the play fight – Songkran is also celebrated as the traditional New Year.
Naghol – Vanuatu
Dates: Every Saturday from April until May. Every year villagers come together to celebrate the harvest of yams, an important staple in the people’s diet in Vanuatu – the festival is most famous for its “land diving ceremony”. During the ceremony men and boys dive to the ground from high rickety wooden towers – with only two thin vines attached to their ankles..!
It gets worse, the divers’ heads have to lightly touch the ground when they jump – something which is very dangerous if the vines aren’t measured properly.
This celebration was really the first “bungee jump” invention, which inspired the New Zealander AJ Hacket to invent a safer and more modern version.
Whether you choose to try this crazy thing out, or opt for the safer option in nearby New Zealand, you would definitely need travel insurance from Debenhams..!
Cherry Blossom Viewing – Japan
The cherry blossom season has a huge importance to the people of Japan, who celebrate the days when the flowers finally blossom, and when they only a few days later fall to the ground, like pink snow flakes.
This is one of the most beautiful things to see, and in Japan literally everyone has picnics in the parks to view the flowers.
Dates: The cherry blossom season varies from year to year depending on the weather forecast, but this year most of the cherry blossom trees will be blooming during the end of March and early April.
Sinhalese New Year – Sri Lanka
Dates: 13th – 14th April. This is a festival we didn’t actually know about until we realized that we would actually be traveling in Sri Lanka during this festival.
Just like in many other countries in South and South East Asia, this is the time when the Sinhalese celebrate the traditional New Year (the Tamil people celebrate the similar Tamil New Year during the same time), an ancient celebration which marks the end of the harvest season and is one of two times of the year when the sun is straight above Sri Lanka.
There is a lot of focus around food during this celebration, and families practice a variety of rituals in exact timings of which are determined by astrological calculations – from lighting the fire to making the milk rice to entering into the first business transaction and eating the first morsels.
It seems like it’s a very family oriented festival, but we’ll keep you updated and share more about it once we’ve been there and experienced it, and if you have been there during this time we’d love to get some tips!
What are your favorite spring festivals and events?