9 Tips for Food Festivals

Spend less time in line and more time trying new foods with these tips.

 

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Giant Omelet Celebration

Giant Omelet Celebration

Legend has it that Napoleon enjoyed the omelet he had in Bessieres, France so much that the next morning he ordered every egg in town be broken to prepare a giant omelet for his troops. Bessieres carries on the tradition to this day, with a 15,000-egg omelet, usually at Easter. Several other cities with French heritage host their own omelet festivals each year as well, including Abbeville, Louisiana, which celebrates with a 5,000-egg omelet in October. 960 1280

REMY GABALDA  

La Tomatina

La Tomatina

Billed as the world’s biggest tomato fight, Bunol in Spain’s Valencia region has been hosting La Tomatina since the 1940s. If you want to participate, plan your trip to Spain for August.

 

960 1280

David Ramos  

Bugfest

Bugfest

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Annual Bugfest, every September, features the popular Cafe Insecta where festival-goers can sample a variety of culinary treats featuring – you guessed it – insects. 960 1280

FREDERIC J. BROWN  

Olney Pancake Race

Olney Pancake Race

Legend has it that residents of Olney, England have been running an annual pancake race on Shrove Tuesday since 1445. A 400-yard run by the town’s
women while carrying pancakes in cast iron pans, the race has developed into an international competition, with a second race run in Liberal, Kansas on the same day. Other activities include children’s races and a pancake lunch.
960 1280

Carl Court  

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Melon skiing, melon ironman, melon bungee, pip (seed) spitting and melon tossing are just a few of the events featured in February’s annual Melon Festival in Chinchilla, Australia. 960 1280

Newspix  

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy Garlic Festival

The centerpiece of Gilroy, California’s late-summer Garlic Festival is Gourmet Alley, featuring an outdoor kitchen with an enormous fire where chefs prepare garlicky dishes including garlic-laced calamari, garlic fries and garlic bread. Away from the flames, you can even find garlic ice cream. 960 1280

Mardis Coers#102006  

Night of the Radishes

Night of the Radishes

In this annual carving contest each December in Oaxaca, Mexico, local artisans carve elaborate scenes from giant radishes. Because the radishes are perishable, much of the handiwork has a lifespan of just a few hours, so competition to see the best pieces can be intense. 960 1280

PATRICIA CASTELLANOS  

Maine Lobster Festival

Maine Lobster Festival

Love lobster? How does 20,000 pounds of it sound? That’s how much lobster gets eaten the first weekend of August at Rockland Maine’s annual Lobster Festival. Other popular festival events include the sea goddess coronation, a parade and a foot race across lobster crates bobbing in the water. 960 1280

Portland Press Herald  

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

In this annual event each May, a nine-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth, England (near Gloucester) and then chased by contestants trying to catch it, no small feat as the wheel can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. 960 1280

JUSTIN TALLIS  

Battle of the Oranges

Battle of the Oranges

A three-day food fight dating to the Middle Ages, the annual Battle of the Oranges takes place just before Mardi Gras each year in Ivrea, Italy, just north of Turin. During the battle, townspeople, divided into nine uniformed squads, throw oranges at attacking enemies who arrive –in armor–via cart in the center of town. 960 1280

Pacific Press  

Amaro, Italy
Amaro, Italy

Amaro, Italy

The savvy traveler would be remise to not try a local Amaro while in Italy. The word translates to bitter and is often drank after a pleasing dinner. One of the popular choices is Amaro Nonino. Try it neat or over a few ice cubes while watching the sunset. 960 1280

Luca Tassotto  

Pisco, Peru

Pisco, Peru

While Chili also claims to be the origin of this spirit, most experts lean toward the Peruvian story. Pisco is a grape-based spirit that is somewhere between brandy and grappa when it comes to ingredients and preparation. The Pisco Sour is the way to go and will quench any palate. 960 1280

Matthew Noel FindingFlavors.com  

Cachaça, Brazil

Cachaça, Brazil

During the 2016 games in Rio, Cachaça was seen around the world, drank in cocktails and sipped pool side. Next time you are in the largest South American country, try a Caipirinha which is lime, sugar and Cachaça. 960 1280

  

Fernet, Argentina

Fernet, Argentina

All bartenders know the deliciously bitter flavor of Fernet, which finds is origins in Argentina. A neat shot of the drink is known as the bartenders handshake. But if that is too much for you, try it mixed with cola. This cocktail is very popular in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country. 960 1280

  

Genever, The Netherlands

Genever, The Netherlands

Call it jenever, genever, Dutch gin or genievre, all are correct. This spirit is the granddaddy to gin and is a much more lucious and slightly sweet version. Next time you find yourself in The Netherlands ask for a Martinez served with Genever and not gin (the classic way). 960 1280

  

Shochu, Japan

Shochu, Japan

Trips to Japan are often filled with sake and beer but expand your horizons and try some Shochu. The spirit is very light and lower in alcohol so you can sip it and enjoy the nuanced flavors. The most popular is Iichiko and is barley based (like scotch). 960 1280

  

Pastis, France

Pastis, France

We've all heard about Absinthe by why not experience Pastis the next time you travel to France. This liqueur is a sweetened spirit that is related to the green fairy. Try it the classic way on ice and water or some of the fantastic cocktails like the one above called the Bastille Day Boisson. 960 1280

  

Pimm's, England

Pimm's, England

Fans of FX's Archer know that Pimm's Cups are amazing. Ever notice that the bottle says Pimm's #1? There are actually five other varieties that rarely make it to the U.S. and most aren't even made anymore. You can still find #3 and #6 in England so go check out an old bar and taste some history. 960 1280

  

Rhum, Martinique

Rhum, Martinique

Rum is great but Rhum is incredible. Rum is made with molasses while Rhum is made with fresh pressed sugar cane. It's a much more artisan product and can be found in many French colony islands especially Martinique. 960 1280

  

Soju, South Korea

Soju, South Korea

Similar to its little brother in Japan, Soju is the national drink of South Korea. Jinro is the leader and is even making its way to the U.S. (slowly). Try this light spirit neat and cold like vodka or mixed in a refreshing cocktail. 960 1280

  

Sotol, Mexico

Sotol, Mexico

Tequila is flowing in the U.S. and even Mezcal but what about other Agave-based spirits? If you can find Sotol on a trip to Mexico, check it out. This small batch spirit is subtle and tasty. 960 1280

Allison Webber  

Unicum, Hungary

Unicum, Hungary

The national drink of Hungry is Unicum. In the U.S. we can sometimes see his brother, Zwack, but they are slightly different. Drink this herbal liqueur neat or in a cocktail but show the locals you can hang with their official drink. 960 1280

  

Raki, Turkey

Raki, Turkey

Turkey is a country of many incredible spices and their national drink, Raki, is no exception. This anise based spirit (similar to Pastis) is often consumed with some water to give it a fantastic opalescent sheen. 960 1280

  

Feni, India

Feni, India

A stop in India might get you a taste of Feni even though it is just starting to become available in the U.S. This is a traditional liquor made from the cashew apples or the fruit that sits above the nut on the tree. Try this spirit neat, over ice or with a local lemon and lime soda called Limca. 960 1280

  

Jamaica: Sorrel Punch

Jamaica: Sorrel Punch

Sorrel, similar to hibiscus, gives this cocktail a beautiful, festive red color. For extra wow, bartender Kat Hawkins of Wright and Co. garnishes with sorrel flowers. 960 1280

  

Bolivia: Biblia Con Pisco

Bolivia: Biblia Con Pisco

Biblia Con Pisco is very similar to the Peruvian Algarrobina but without the namesake syrup and a few other ingredients. Bartender Michael Finsilver of Mudgie's uses pisco, eggs, sugar and a spice blend for a simple, but decedent drink.

 

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Germany: Gluhwein

Germany: Gluhwein

Gluhwein is enjoyed around Europe but especially in Germany and Austria. The cocktail is a sweetened mulled wine variation. Bartender Daniel McCarthy of La Dulce shares an example of serving this for a party. 960 1280

  

Scotland: Hot Toddy

Scotland: Hot Toddy

Hot Toddys are incredibly popular but did you know in Scotland they are traditionally made with Scotch? Bartender David Miles-Cole Martinez of The Last Word garnishes this classic with cinnamon sticks and lemon twists. 960 1280

  

Peru: Algarrobina

Peru: Algarrobina

This Peruvian cocktail revolves around the syrup by the same name. It resembles molasses but is something unique to the country. The drink is similar to egg nog since it includes eggs and evaporated milk but the syrup gives it a definitive South American flair. Bartender Scott Poole, of Sugar House Detroit, created this example with an elegant star anise garnish. 960 1280

  

Kenya: Dawa

Kenya: Dawa

The Kenyan Dawa, a vodka drink with honey and lime, is delicious any time of year but can be made more festive by adding cranberries or flavored vodka. Bartender Liz Cosby, of Sugar House Detroit, gives it another holiday twist by adding orange zest.  960 1280

  

Chile: Cola de Mono

Chile: Cola de Mono

Chile's Cola De Mono could be described as something between egg nog and a White Russian. Bartender Joe M. Schubert, of The Whisky Parlor, points out that both dairy and non-dairy versions can be made for parties. And whether it's made with almond or whole milk, all versions are delicious.

 

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Poland: Grzane Piwo

Poland: Grzane Piwo

The Grzane Piwo, a mulled beer, is a classic beverage enjoyed in Poland through the holiday season. Bartender Amas Muhammad, of The Peterboro, adds orange slices for extra holiday cheer. 960 1280

  

USA: Tom and Jerry

USA: Tom and Jerry

The Tom and Jerry, served hot, is an amped up egg nog that is extra creamy and delicious. In the 1950s you could buy a powdered mix but here bartender Jon Foley, of The Laundry, made his restaurant's homemade recipe. 960 1280

  

Sweden: Glogg

Sweden: Glogg

Similar to German Gluhwein, this drink is fortified with Cognac for added holiday cheer. Bartender Beaux Coup Kerin, of Detroit's Sugar House, tops each glass with rosemary.  960 1280

  

Cuba: Crema de Vie

Cuba: Crema de Vie

Many holiday cocktails are variations on egg nog but when you go to Cuba you have to use rum. The Crema de Vie, or "cream of life," is presented above by bartender Majid Abdelnour of Bigalora. 960 1280

  

Mexico: Ponche de Frutas

Mexico: Ponche de Frutas

Cool weather means hot cocktails and if you are in Mexico consider ordering a traditional Ponche de Frutas. Bartender Jon Foley, of Relief and Resource, makes his with stone fruits, spices, rum and the all-important Piloncillo (a Mexican brown sugar).

 

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England: Wassail

England: Wassail

Wassail is a traditional holiday punch for England and the UK. Famed bartender Marlowe Johnson, of Standby Detroit, shared his family favorite in this shot. Bourbon, cider, cranberry and lots of spices warm the soul on any wintery night. 960 1280

  

Photos

Giant Omelet Celebration

Giant Omelet Celebration

Legend has it that Napoleon enjoyed the omelet he had in Bessieres, France so much that the next morning he ordered every egg in town be broken to prepare a giant omelet for his troops. Bessieres carries on the tradition to this day, with a 15,000-egg omelet, usually at Easter. Several other cities with French heritage host their own omelet festivals each year as well, including Abbeville, Louisiana, which celebrates with a 5,000-egg omelet in October. 960 1280

REMY GABALDA  

La Tomatina

La Tomatina

Billed as the world’s biggest tomato fight, Bunol in Spain’s Valencia region has been hosting La Tomatina since the 1940s. If you want to participate, plan your trip to Spain for August.

 

960 1280

David Ramos  

Bugfest

Bugfest

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Annual Bugfest, every September, features the popular Cafe Insecta where festival-goers can sample a variety of culinary treats featuring – you guessed it – insects. 960 1280

FREDERIC J. BROWN  

Olney Pancake Race

Olney Pancake Race

Legend has it that residents of Olney, England have been running an annual pancake race on Shrove Tuesday since 1445. A 400-yard run by the town’s
women while carrying pancakes in cast iron pans, the race has developed into an international competition, with a second race run in Liberal, Kansas on the same day. Other activities include children’s races and a pancake lunch.
960 1280

Carl Court  

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Chinchilla Melon Festival

Melon skiing, melon ironman, melon bungee, pip (seed) spitting and melon tossing are just a few of the events featured in February’s annual Melon Festival in Chinchilla, Australia. 960 1280

Newspix  

Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy Garlic Festival

The centerpiece of Gilroy, California’s late-summer Garlic Festival is Gourmet Alley, featuring an outdoor kitchen with an enormous fire where chefs prepare garlicky dishes including garlic-laced calamari, garlic fries and garlic bread. Away from the flames, you can even find garlic ice cream. 960 1280

Mardis Coers#102006  

Night of the Radishes

Night of the Radishes

In this annual carving contest each December in Oaxaca, Mexico, local artisans carve elaborate scenes from giant radishes. Because the radishes are perishable, much of the handiwork has a lifespan of just a few hours, so competition to see the best pieces can be intense. 960 1280

PATRICIA CASTELLANOS  

Maine Lobster Festival

Maine Lobster Festival

Love lobster? How does 20,000 pounds of it sound? That’s how much lobster gets eaten the first weekend of August at Rockland Maine’s annual Lobster Festival. Other popular festival events include the sea goddess coronation, a parade and a foot race across lobster crates bobbing in the water. 960 1280

Portland Press Herald  

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling

In this annual event each May, a nine-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth, England (near Gloucester) and then chased by contestants trying to catch it, no small feat as the wheel can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. 960 1280

JUSTIN TALLIS  

Battle of the Oranges

Battle of the Oranges

A three-day food fight dating to the Middle Ages, the annual Battle of the Oranges takes place just before Mardi Gras each year in Ivrea, Italy, just north of Turin. During the battle, townspeople, divided into nine uniformed squads, throw oranges at attacking enemies who arrive –in armor–via cart in the center of town. 960 1280

Pacific Press  

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