Fun Food Festivals Around The World
1. Wild foods Festival (Hokitika, New Zealand)
Held mid-March in the quaint town of Hokitika on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the Wildfoods Festival has visitors feasting on things they probably never thought could be cooked into a meal. Or even eaten raw.
OK, seagull eggs are nothing to write home about and mountain oysters can be an acquired taste, but what about possum cutlets washed down with gorse wine?
Earthworms? Huhu beetle grubs?
The less adventurous needn’t worry — there are always the more conventional platters of frogs’ legs and snails in garlic to fill up on.
2. Annual Golden Spurtle (Cairngorms, Scotland)
No food has been associated with Scotland more than porridge — a breakfast classic that can be as rough as gruel or as refined as muesli.
The Scots celebrate their superfood with a highly competitive festival at Carrbridge, a village in the Cairngorms National Park.
This is the World Porridge-Making Championships, a quintessentially Scottish event that awards one winner a Golden Spurtle — a wooden stick traditionally used to stir the porridge pot.
Successful contestants at the late September/early October event will be mindful of the superstitions surrounding the preparation of the oat-based dish.
For reasons lost in the mists of time, or at least the steam from the saucepan, porridge must always be referred to as “they.”
The pot must always be stirred clockwise. The finished product must always be eaten from a pottinger, or porridge bowl, standing up.
Fussy, perhaps, but this meal and its traditions have kept Scots healthy and hardy for generations — and even inspired poetry.
3. The Onion Market (Bern, Switzerland)
The Onion Market is the biggest folk festival on the Switzerland’s capital’s calendar.
Yes, there are 50-tons of onion braids, rings and single bulbs on display, but textiles, jewelry, ceramics and children’s toys are also on sale.
A highlight is the confetti war, which, this being Switzerland, starts at 4 p.m. sharp.
Officially the festival begins at 6 a.m., but the city center fills with that distinctly pungent smell from 5 a.m, when the first onion soups start boiling and onion tarts are put in the oven.
If your eyes start to water too much, there’s always a Gluhwein stand close by.
4, Watercress Festival (Hampshire, England)
This quirky little festival celebrates the humble watercress; a versatile aquatic herb liberally used in traditional English cooking in soups, salads and sauces.
On the third Sunday in May the center of the village of New Alresford turns into a street fest where farmers bring local products to sell and celebrity chefs create special meals.
Past years have seen recipes such as trout with watercress, beetroot and apple, beef Wellington in watercress and watercress sushi rolls.
The early highlight comes around 10:30 a.m. when a brass band followed by Morris dancers announces the arrival of the Watercress King and Queen.
They enter the festival in a horse and cart and distribute the first shoots of this year’s watercress harvest to visitors.
5. Salon de Chocolate (Quito, Ecuador)
There are many chocolate festivals around the world, but none deserves a mention more than Quito’s.
Ecuador produces more high-quality chocolate than any other country, and this is the best place to get a choc hit in the tasting sessions and cookery classes.
Eager locals come early, so by 10 a.m. there can be quite a line to get in.
It’s worth turning up an hour or so later, when the crowds have thinned out a little — but leaving it too late risks missing out on all the free chocolates.
About 15,000 visitors are expected at the mid-June event but the climax occurs on the final day, when the winners of the various awards are announced, including everybody’s favorite, the chocolate sculpture competition.
6. Bacon Festival (Sacramento, California)
Bustling with bars, farm-to-fork restaurants and numerous breweries and wineries, California’s capital has raised its game for the foodie traveler with a festival focusing on everyone’s favorite: bacon.
Chefs cook the meat right outside on the street from organically fed hogs — factory farm animals aren’t allowed — and their dishes are accompanied by local craft beers.
With bacon gelato, bacon salad, bacon ramen and bacon tater tots on offer, no wonder the festival is popular.
There’s even a Kevin Bacon tribute band on the third night of the January festival.