Weekend Trips for the Cheese Lover

These festivals, trails and classes are a must for the cheese-obsessed.

Photos

Turkey: Raki

Turkey: Raki

Known as the national drink of Turkey, raki — pronounced “raka” — can be found at most large-scale liquor stores in the US. The trick to making the drink correctly? Use 1 part raki and 2 parts ice-cold water. Because the anise oils in the raki emulsify when mixed with water, the clear liquids combine to form a white beverage known as Lion’s Milk. It’s named that because Turks believe that raki gives you the strength of a lion. 960 1280

  

Russia: Vodka

Russia: Vodka

According to legend, a monk named Isidore -- from Chudov Monastery inside the Moscow Kremlin -- made the first Russian vodka. Since then, Russian vodka producers like Smirnoff, Stolichnaya and Russian Standard have become popular among vodka connoisseurs. This spirit is traditionally drunk neat, but it is also commonly used in cocktails like the vodka martini, Bloody Mary, Sex on the Beach, Screwdriver and White Russian. 960 1280

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Peru: Pisco Sour

Peru: Pisco Sour

Chile and Peru both claim the Pisco Sour as their national drink, but the cocktail originated in Lima, Peru. American bartender Victor Vaughn Morris invented and then served the first Pisco Sour at the counter of Morris’ Bar in the early 1920s. This concoction is usually made with bourbon or whiskey, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener. 960 1280

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Japan: Sake

Japan: Sake

With its origin dating back to the 3rd century, sake is the beverage of choice in Japan. Sake is made from fermented rice. Undiluted, it contains 18 to 20% ABV (alcohol by volume). That’s double the amount of alcohol found in most beer. So sip slowly -- and savor its taste. 960 1280

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Mexico: Tequila

Mexico: Tequila

Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, located in the city of Tequila, in Jalisco, Mexico. And if you didn’t know already, Mexico has claimed the exclusive international right to the word “tequila,” which allows the country to take legal action against countries who manufacture the distilled blue agave spirits. Mexico’s national drink is the Paloma -- made by mixing tequila with a grapefruit-flavored soda, a lime wedge, and served in a glass rimmed with salt. Tequila is also mixed to make cocktails like the margarita, Tequila Sunrise, Matador and Tequila Slammer. 960 1280

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France: Champagne

France: Champagne

Wine and absinthe are popular spirits in France, but champagne is, too. The sparkling wine is produced from grapes grown in the country’s Champagne region, which includes Aube, Côte des Blancs, Côte de Sézanne, Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne. Since the 17th century, champagne has been associated with luxury and power among royalty throughout Europe. Times have changed and now the tasty beverage is mixed with orange juice to create a mimosa, a tangy breakfast concoction. 960 1280

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New Orleans: Sazerac

New Orleans: Sazerac

In New Orleans, the Hurricane is a popular cocktail, but did you know about the Sazerac -- sometimes referred to as the oldest American cocktail? Mixologists believe this drink originated in the period before the American Civil War. This stiff drink is a mixture of cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe or Herbsaint, sugar and Peychaud’s Bitters. 960 1280

Patrick, Flickr  

Puerto Rico: Piña colada

Puerto Rico: Piña colada

Puerto Rican bartender Ramon Marrero created and sold the piña colada in 1954, while working at the Caribe Hilton International Hotel. He received numerous accolades, which included receiving an award from Coco Lopez -- the maker of the coconut cream used in the drink -- for selling his 3 millionth cocktail. In 1978, the government declared the piña colada the official drink of Puerto Rico. 960 1280

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Brazil: Caipirinha

Brazil: Caipirinha

Sit back and sip on Brazil’s national drink, the Caipirinha. The sweet, but refreshing cocktail is made with cachaça (sugarcane rum), sugar and lime. Looking for a more fruity taste? Try the caipifruta, made with cachaça, crushed ice and crushed fresh fruit or fruits, including tangerine, lime kiwifruit, passion fruit caju, mango, grapes, lemon, caja and/or pineapple. 960 1280

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NYC: Manhattan

NYC: Manhattan

Dr. Iain Marshall was the genius and creator behind the Manhattan cocktail first served at a banquet in honor of US presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden in 1870. Usually garnished with a maraschino cherry, the Manhattan is closely related to the Brooklyn cocktail, made using dry vermouth and Maraschino liqueur. A Manhattan is made with sweet vermouth, whiskey and bitters, an alcohol flavored with herbal essences. 960 1280

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Greece: Ouzo

Greece: Ouzo

A symbol of Greek culture, ouzo is an anise-flavored aperitif usually served with a small plate of appetizers that usually include small fresh fish, fries, olives and feta cheese. This drink is popular in Greece and Cyprus. It evolved from tsipouro, a beverage created by a group of 14th-century monks living in a monastery on Mount Athos. 960 1280

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Scotland: Scotch

Scotland: Scotch

After a long day at work, slowly sipping from a glass of Scotch whisky seems to make the worries of the world melt away. Scotch is a malt or grain whisky made in Scotland and aged in oak barrels for at least 3 years. Notable Scotch whisky brands include Bell’s, Dewar’s, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Chivas Regal and Cutty Sark. 960 1280

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UK: Pimm's Cup

UK: Pimm's Cup

James Kent was the first to serve Pimm’s Cup, in 1823 at a London oyster bar, making it a popular drink in England, particularly southern England. It is the one of 2 staple drinks at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, Henley Royal Regatta and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. There are 7 Pimm’s products, but only Cup Nos. 1, 3 and 6 are still available. For a refreshing summer cocktail, we recommend the gin-based Pimm’s Cup No. 1 with chopped fruit and mixed with ginger ale or champagne. 960 1280

Whitney, Flickr  

Spain: Sangria

Spain: Sangria

Stop and share a pitcher of sangria with friends if you’re strolling through Barcelona’s Plaza Mayor. This tasty wine punch consists of wine (of course), chopped fruit, a splash of brandy and a sweetener, like honey, sugar, syrup or orange juice. Sangria is popular is Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Argentina. 960 1280

Kurmanstaff, Flickr  

Cuba: Mojito

Cuba: Mojito

Historians believe the African slaves who worked in Cuba’s sugarcane fields during the 19th century were instrumental in the mojito’s origin. The traditional Cuban cocktail consists of white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint. The mojito is not only popular in Cuba but was also author Ernest Hemingway’s favorite cocktail. 960 1280

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Singapore: Singapore Sling

Singapore: Singapore Sling

In Singapore, Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore, created the Singapore Sling sometime prior to 1915. The original recipe used gin, Cherry Heering, Benedictine and pineapple juice. Decades later, the hotel served the premixed drink from an automatic dispenser, but customers can request a shaken version from the bartender. 960 1280

Vasenka, Flickr  

Italy: Bellini

Italy: Bellini

Try this delicious cocktail if you’re visiting Italy. The Bellini is one of Italy’s most popular long drinks created by Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry’s Bar in Venice. The color of the drink reminded the mixologist of the color of a saint’s toga in a painting by the 15th-century artist Giovanni Bellini. So what’s in it? This mixed drink consists of Prosecco sparkling wine and peach puree. 960 1280

  

Belgium: Black Russian

Belgium: Black Russian

Belgian bartender Gustave Tops created the first Black Russian cocktail in 1949, at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels, in honor of Perle Mesta, who was (at that time) the US ambassador to Luxembourg. This cocktail contains 3 parts vodka and 2 parts coffee liqueur, owing its name to the use of vodka, a traditional Russian spirit. 960 1280

Todd Lappin, Flickr  

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.

 

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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.
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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  

13 Photos
steak

steak

At Kelsey’s in Valparaiso, IN, if you are "man" enough to finish this hunk of meat then you’ll go home with a prize. 960 1280

  

customer

customer

At Big-Ass Sandwiches in Portand, OR, a customer takes a bite out of a large, juicy, delectable sandwich. 960 1280

  

french fries in sandwich

french fries in sandwich

Filled with hot fries, beef and more, that is one Big-Ass sandwich. 960 1280

  

Ward's House of Prime in Milwaukee

Ward's House of Prime in Milwaukee

If you're ready for the ultimate beef bonanza, head over to Ward's House of Prime in Milwaukee. 960 1280

  

Outside seating at Riscky's Barbeque

Outside seating at Riscky's Barbeque

They say everything's bigger in Texas, and patrons come from all around to devour Riscky's Barbeque ribs in Ft. Worth. 960 1280

  

Bison burger

Bison burger

Bison burgers have continued to pop up on menus across America as a healthier alternative to beef burger. Try one at Tweeds in Riverhead, NY. 960 1280

  

sandwich meat

sandwich meat

The special "secret" to the beef used in the Big-Ass sandwiches? They need to be red and juicy. 960 1280

  

beef shank

beef shank

Next time you're in San Francisco and craving a big meal, head over to Incanto, where their specialty is a whole beef shank also known as the "Leg of Beast." 960 1280

  

sandwich and chips

sandwich and chips

Lunch in Valparaiso, IN, tends to be one of Kelsey’s popular sandwiches and freshly made potato chips. 960 1280

  

steak

steak

Steak for dinner? Kelsey's Steak and Seafood serves up one of the largest cuts of steak around. 960 1280

  

plate of food

plate of food

While they may be known for their "Leg of Beast," there are other delicious options to choose from at Incanto, an Italian eatery. 960 1280

  

Incanto

Incanto

The "Leg of Beast" at Incanto feeds 6, but if you are hungry enough for a whole leg you better make arrangements ahead of time. It takes 3 full days to prepare this delicacy. 960 1280

  

Inside Incanto restaurant

Inside Incanto restaurant

An Italian eatery, Incanto serves a variety of meats. 960 1280

  

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