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  

St. George Spirits in California
St. George Spirits; Alameda, California

St. George Spirits; Alameda, California

St. George is stretching the boundaries of traditional styles of gin, very successfully. More than 30 years ago, a young German man named Jorg Rupf fell in love with the Bay Area’s food culture and the quality of fruit growing in California, and subsequently founded St. George Spirits in 1982. He began making eau de vie (a clear, colorless fruit brandy) from pears, raspberries, cherries, and even kiwi fruit before there was a craft distillation movement in the U.S. to speak of. A lot of early gin distillers here kept to a London Dry style, which is very juniper-forward, but as the editor of Bevvy.co notes, now distillers are creating modern gins that are a lot more diverse. “Citrus peel is one of the botanicals that has come to the forefront, and local herbs and spices are becoming popular with people who want to make gin with a bit of hometown pride. St. George Terroir Gin is a great example of that, it tastes like the California coast.” 960 1280

  

Koval Distillery; Chicago, Illinois

Koval Distillery; Chicago, Illinois

The first distillery in Chicago since well before Prohibition, Koval was founded by a dynamic husband and wife duo who are changing the way America distills. Dr. Robert Birnecker and Dr. Sonat Birnecker-Hart have won countless awards for their dry gins, 100 percent Midwestern grown organic rye whiskey, millet-based bourbon, and more. The power couple also prioritizes education, hosting a selection of cocktail classes and whiskey workshops at their North Ravenswood Ave location. Talent seems to run in the family—their distinctive laser-cut labels have also received a lot of attention, designed by Sonat’s sister and her firm Dando Projects. 960 1280

Jaclyn Simpson  

Seven Stills; San Francisco, California

Seven Stills; San Francisco, California

Tim and Clint of Seven Stills Distillery started out by coming at everything backwards—no one was pushing whiskey from the beer angle, but a huge craft beer segment in the San Francisco Bay Area along with their extensive beer knowledge provided a nice segue into making whiskey from extremely high-quality craft brew. Now their robust road map of spirits includes “a still for every hill” in San Francisco using a different artist to design each bottle (Chocasmoke is made from a chocolate-oatmeal stout in honor of Twin Peaks, and Fluxuate is distilled from a coffee porter to celebrate a rapidly-changing, post-Gold Rush Rincon Hill), to add to their collection of small-batch, seasonal bitters like Meyer lemon, prickly pear, and cranberry. 960 1280

  

Clear Creek; Portland, Oregon

Clear Creek; Portland, Oregon

For the past three decades, Clear Creek Distillery has been honoring the intimate marriage between farming and distilling, utilizing the world-class fruit from the farms around their Portland, Oregon home base. Well known for its eau de vie (a clear, colorless fruit brandy), Clear Creek’s diverse portfolio of more than 25 products rivals the best of their European counterparts, and is anchored by the flagship Williams Pear Brandy, which has been named one of the top spirits in the world. 960 1280

  

House Spirits Distillery; Portland, Oregon

House Spirits Distillery; Portland, Oregon

Beloved and very well respected in the industry, House Spirits Distillery is making whiskeys that have been listed among the best in their categories. Their Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey matures in new American oak barrels for at least two years, allowing Oregon’s dry, hot summers and wet, cold winters to contribute to its rich, smooth flavor. Accompanied by Aviation American Gin, Krogstad Aquavit, and Volstead Vodka, almost everything in their line of spirits is ideal for mixing a cocktail. Their new distillery and tasting room on Portland’s famous distillery row opened to the public in November 2015, and hosts regular classes on making whiskey, cocktails, and bitters. 960 1280

  

Kings County Distillery; Brooklyn, New York

Kings County Distillery; Brooklyn, New York

The founders of Kings County Distillery quite literally wrote the book on making whiskey a thome. Their Guide to Urban Moonshining is a look at America’s indigenous spirt, from the whiskey made by the early colonists and sprawling distilleries of Kentucky to the adventurous, modern-day craft distillers across almost every state. This is all quite fitting, as they run NewYork City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery, the first since Prohibition, located in the iconic Brooklyn Navy Yard and just steps from the legendary site of the Brooklyn Whiskey Wars of the 1860s. Their moonshine, bourbon, peated bourbon, and barrel strength bourbon have all won numerous awards, along with their recent accolade of being named Distillery of the Year in 2016 from the American Distilling Institute. 960 1280

Valery Rizzo  

Corsair Distillery; Nashville, Tennessee

Corsair Distillery; Nashville, Tennessee

Corsair founders Darek and Andrew are Nashville natives who have been collaborating since high school. They began by home brewing beer and wine in Darek’s garage, but soon decided that whiskey would be “much more satisfying.” Their adventurous, innovative, and big-flavored craft whiskeys—including a quinoa whiskey, a handful of rye whiskeys, some malt whiskeys, and more—consistently receive high marks among respectable critics, along with countless international spirit awards. Ones to try: Triple Smoke Malt Whiskey and Wry Moon Unaged Rye Whiskey. 960 1280

Andrea Behrends  

Few Spirits; Evanston, Illinois

Few Spirits; Evanston, Illinois

Named after suffragette and temperance advocate Frances Elizabeth Willard (FEW), Few Spirits is a true grass-to-grain distillery, sourcing all of their grain (corn, wheat, rye, and barley) from no more than 150 miles away. It is also the first (legal) alcohol-production facility of any kind in Evanston, a city that banned alcohol sales for four decades beyond the end of Prohibition. Their bottles show up everywhere among the craft spirit community, and their rye whiskey has received acclaim as Whisky Advocate’s 2013 Craft Whiskey of the Year, as a gold medal winner in the 2014 World Whisky Awards, and was rated one of the top five whiskies in the world by the Beverage Tasting Institute. 960 1280

  

Death's Door Spirits; Middleton, Wisconsin

Death's Door Spirits; Middleton, Wisconsin

What was once a robust potato farming region, Washington Island, Wisconsin fell prey to vertical integration in the potato industry in the early 1970s. More than 30 years later, two brothers started growing wheat on the island and soon Death’s Door Spirits was born, focusing from the beginning on how to support local and sustainable agriculture on the island. Death’s Door pioneered white whisky, which became very popular as a cocktail ingredient, featuring an 80:20 ratio of Washington Island Wheat to malted barley from Chilton, Wisconsin. Other Death’s Door family members include a London Dry style gin, a double-distilled vodka, and Wondermint Schnapps Liqueur—the first and only artisan craft peppermint schnapps in the world. 960 1280

  

Montanya Distillers; Crested Butte, Colorado

Montanya Distillers; Crested Butte, Colorado

Montanya Distillers are best known as purveyors of high-altitude craft rum, distilled in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. Not surprisingly, their ingredients list reads as an ode to America’s inspiring outdoor beauty: Non-GMO sugar cane from family farmers in Louisiana who grow and mill for them; water from one of the purest spring and snowmelt charged aquifers in the USA; and they even heat their building from the alembic copper pot stills. Award-winning Montanya Platino and Oro rums are joined by a limited-release Exclusiva rum that is aged for 30 months in American white oak barrels and then finished in French oak barrels that previously held Sutcliffe Vineyards’ Port. 960 1280

  

shawarma, meat, gyro
Shawarma

Shawarma

Delicious Middle Eastern spices are infused into either lamb, chicken, turkey, beef or veal, and then the meat is slow-cooked for nearly 24 hours to create shawarma. The most popular ways to eat shawarma are in a gyro or with flatbread (aka taboon bread). Find shawarma at countless places in Jerusalem, including Hamarosh and Moshiko. 960 1280

Rez-Art/iStock/Getty Images  

Falafel

Falafel

The falafel, made of fava beans and/or chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), is extremely good and healthy. It's normally topped with a variety of ingredients, including tahini, cucumbers, tomatoes and more. Almost always sold alongside shawarma, falafel has found its way to the West, quickly becoming a go-to for a quick meal in large cities such as New York City  and Washington, D.C. 960 1280

Justin Michau/iStock/Getty Images  

Rugelach

Rugelach

This gem is made of yeast-leavened, sour cream or cream cheese dough that’s filled with some of the sweetest combinations around: raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, chocolate, marzipan, poppy seeds or fruit preserves. When in Jerusalem, try rugelach at the popular Marzipan Bakery. 960 1280

Alexandra Grablewski/Digital Vision/Getty Image  

Beigeleh

Beigeleh

A tasty treat similar to its Italian cousin, the pretzel, beigeleh (or ka'ak in Arabic) is rolled-up dough covered in sesame seeds and served with an herb packet of za'atar for dipping. Beigeleh is sold on the streets in the Christian and Muslim quarters of Jerusalem's Old City.

Related: Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock

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Alexeys/iStock/Getty Images  

Musakhan

Musakhan

Incredible flavors, along with a tasty bird, top a piece of taboon bread for musakhan. Cardamom, black pepper, olive oil and onions — to name a few of the ingredients — make this dish very tasty. Enjoy it from vendors in the Muslim Quarter or at Philadelphia Restaurant in East Jerusalem. 960 1280

Paul Cowan/iStock/Getty Images  

Hummus

Hummus

Usually served with taboon bread, hummus consists of ground chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) with sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon and garlic. The Middle Eastern staple comes with almost every dish. New twists on traditional hummus include adding eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, figs, spinach, feta and countless other combinations. 960 1280

Silvia Jansen/Getty Images  

Sachlab

Sachlab

Sachlab, a pudding-drink made from a certain orchid plant, is served hot and enjoyed with coconut shavings, nuts and cinnamon. If you're up for trying something new, sample sachlab at the 24-hour Mifgash HaSheikh café. 960 1280

Kerim Heper/iStock/Getty Images  

Lamb

Lamb

Served a variety of ways (e.g., shawarma), lamb is a staple meat in Jerusalem. Enjoy it slow-cooked at Darna, a fine-dining Moroccan restaurant in Jerusalem.

Related: Moroccan Goat Tagine

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Stok-Yard Studio/Photolibrary/Getty Images  

Beef and Lamb Burgers

Beef and Lamb Burgers

They're probably not the first thing you think about eating in Jerusalem, but burgers made of juicy lamb and tender beef are served at the popular Black Bar 'n' Burger in the New City. Top your burger  with traditional items, such as garlic baked in olive oil, duck breast with hot peppers, and, of course, hummus, if you wish. 960 1280

Danielkrieger.com/Moment/Getty Images  

Kebabs

Kebabs

Kebabs (called shipudim, or "skewers," in Hebrew) are the essential Middle Eastern cuisine. Simple to eat and really tasty, they consist of skewered cuts of meat — and, sometimes, veggies — on a stick. There are plenty of options all over Jerusalem, including Hashipudiya. 960 1280

Robynmac/iStock/Getty Images  

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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