Not only are these festivals entirely dedicated to the celebration of food, they’re located in some of the most amazing places around the world. Never have we ever wanted to travel so much. International food festivals, here we come.
Taste of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
Held in Grant Park each July, Taste of Chicago is the largest food festival in the world. It has grown over the past 33 years to attract more than one million visitors. Over 3 dozen Chicago restaurants line the streets with outdoor kitchens, and both local and Grammy-winning musicians entertain attendees. Pop-ups, a popular new feature, are restaurants that literally pop up for just a day or two during the festival.
La Tomatina Festival in Buñol, Valencia, Spain
Make sure you wear clothes you don’t mind throwing away because this is the world’s ultimate food fight. Over 30,000 participants flock to Buñol, a small town in Valencia, Spain, on the last Wednesday of August every year to throw more than one hundred tons of tomatoes at each other. The festival begins when participants race up a greased pole to snatch the ham – yes, ham- at the top. Then it’s a free for all for the next hour as you launch, pelt and dump tomatoes on anyone and everyone around you.
The city provides over 150,000 tomatoes for the crowd.
Goggles or protective eyewear are a must.
Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika, New Zealand
Daring eaters wanted. This celebration of local wild foods boasts some of the craziest combinations you’ll encounter. This year’s highlights included wasp larvae ice cream, cucumber fish and wok fried clams. Eating ants on toast will definitely make a unique story. And festival goers dress in costume, ensuring there will be something to look at everywhere you turn. The festival ends with a competition with the top recipes posted online. We’re excited to try the Wild at Heart cocktail, this year’s runner up.
Copenhagen Cooking in Copenhagen, Denmark
This 10 day event is dedicated to celebrating Nordic cuisine and the seasonal produce. With over 100,000 visitors, this is the largest food festival in Northern Europe. The events range from gourmet experiences, focus on ecology and sustainability, a contemporary art fair, and street kitchens and markets. Some of the best dishes this year included herring burger, smoked fresh cheeses and veal sweetbread.
Hatch Valley Chile Festival in Hatch, New Mexico
Calling all chile pepper lovers. This festival boasts over 30,000 visitors, artisan and food booths, a carnival and samples of famous chile recipes. The Labor Day celebration culminates in a chile ristra contest. Did you know one fresh medium-sized green chile pod has as much vitamin C as six oranges? Check out more fun chile facts and this year’s recipe winners here.
Each year the festival crowns a Chile Festival Queen.
People can not get enough peppers.
This family friendly event also hosts a “Celebrate the Future” day that supports science, engineering and aeronautic organizations.
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in Kona, Hawaii
Coffee. None of us would survive college without it. This celebration of coffee is 10 days of coffee games, recipe contests and art shows. Tour the coffee farms and mills and taste the freshest cup of coffee Kona offers. The festival honors nearly 200 years of coffee heritage, culinary delights and working coffee farmers on the island.
The Miss Kona Coffee is chosen at the beginning of the week and then participates in the week’s events.
Mistura in Lima, Peru
With over 600,000 attendees, Mistura is the largest food festival in Latin America. The word mistura is Portuguese for mixture, which is fitting for the variety of food. This year’s most popular selections included a colossal fish from the Amazon called paiche, a coastal dish of raw fish in citrus juices known as ceviche, and plates of quinoa, a grain recently popular in the health food world. Not to be forgotten are the coffee and chocolate stands, two world-renowned Peruvian products.
So when can we book our tickets?
If that isn’t enough wanderlust, check out these amazing international recipes you can make at home:
- 7 International Frozen Desserts You Can Make at Home
- 4 Authentic Chinese Foods You Should Consider Instead of Takeout
- Salsa Inspiration from Around the World