Sure, music festivals are great. But a food festival? It’s a like a dream come true: a little whole world full of the most glorious food all only a fork or spoonful away. These food festivals feature some of the best cuisine around the world, as well as highly esteemed chefs and wine and beer experts. Mark your calendars, book a flight, and start saving up for these amazing foodie destination events that are sure to be an experience of a lifetime.
1. The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (Miami, Florida)
Of course the Food Network’s most anticipated event of the year makes the top of this list. Over a 5-day period, your favorite Food Network stars gather in Miami Beach to show off their illustrious cooking skills live. Greats like Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart and Guy Fieri have made appearances in the past. The festival also features more than 80 events, ranging from seminars, intimate dinners, parties, tastings, and the popular Oyster Bash. Additionally, you don’t want to miss the Grand Tasting Village, where you’ll find a full range of exquisite dishes, wines, and spirits.
2. MTL à TABLE (Montreal, Canada)
This 11-day food festival in Montreal showcases 150 different restaurants offering three-course meals at price points of $21, $31, or $41. The festival takes place in the fall, right before the entire country is covered in a soft blanket of snow. But the food definitely distracts from the cold Canadian temperatures. Featured esteemed restaurants in the past include Le Local, BEVO Bar + Pizzeria, and Bonaparte.
3. Charleston Wine + Food Festival (Charleston, South Carolina)
Charleston‘s already amazing food scene gets even better during their annual four day food festival in March. The heart of the fest is Culinary Village, which takes place in the center of downtown Charleston’s Marion Square. Get a day pass to experience great food, activities, and other new and exciting events that change every year. The festival celebrates the culinary excellence of Charleston, featuring the best restaurants and chefs in the area. While you’re sure to find plenty of Southern classics like shrimp and grits and fried chicken, they also feature excellent wine, seafood, burgers, and tons more that you don’t want to miss.
4. Mid-Autumn Festival (China)
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival, celebrates the year’s harvest and the moon. One of the traditions of the holiday is making and sharing mooncakes, made from lotus paste with an egg yolk centre, to signify the completeness and unity of families. Other foods served during the occasion are lotus roots, which symbolize peace, watermelon, cassia wine, and tea. At night, families place their teacups outside and wait for the full moon’s reflection to appear in their cups. Now that’s a food festival with some meaning behind it.
5. Hawaii Food & Wine Festival (Hawai’i Island, Maui, and Oahu, Hawaii)
Nothing says paradise like a food festival held in the lush island paradise of Hawaii. The festival takes place over three weekends on three islands, with over 100 internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers in attendance. You’ll experience the best food Maui has to offer while overlooking Black Rock Beach during the Chef’s Paradise event, a 6-course dinner showcasing Hawai’i Island’s diverse cuisine, and a lūʻau with a modern twist on the island of Oahu. Can I get an aloha?
6. Vegas Uncork’d (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Vegas Uncork’d is sure to be the most lit food festival you will ever have the pleasure of attending. Look forward to tastings held in Caesar’s Palace, lunches and dinners in The Venetian, rooftop parties at The Cromwell, and a list of other events held at various locations off the strip. You’ll have the opportunity to watch and learn from celebrated chefs, and taste various foods and drinks in the heart of Las Vegas. You may just find yourself stuck on a roof somewhere the day after this whirlwind food festival, as was the case in The Hangover.
7. St. Moritz Gourmet Festival (St. Moritz, Switzerland)
Each year the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival in Switzerland celebrates the cuisine of international master chefs for 5 days. This past year the festival was dedicated to Japanese cuisine and its rich culinary variety. During the week there were over 40 events, including the Grand Julius Baer Opening, an introduction to each chef’s specialized cooking skills, the Japanese Tea Ceremony, nightly gourmet dinners, and the Chocolate Cult, an occasion where guests can taste a range of diverse delicacies made from the finest chocolate. Get ready to be chocolate wasted.
8. NYC Wine & Food Festival (New York City, New York)
In the city that never sleeps, you’ll never go hungry during this four-day extravaganza of food, wine, seminars, parties, and more. This year, the festival is bringing in over 500 world-renowned chefs, culinary personalities, entertainers, 100 wine and spirit producers, and all of your favorite Food Network and Cooking Channel stars. With over 100 events and 55,000 visitors, it’s considered the largest food and wine festival in New York City. It’s probably the only place you’ll get to have a food fight with Guy Fieri, enjoy an Italian feast with Giada De Laurentiis, or sample fried chicken with Whoopi Goldberg. Goals, amirite?
9. Pahiyas Festival (Lucban, Philippines)
Every May 15, the Filipino town of Lucban gathers to honor San Isidro de Labrador, the Patron Saint of Farmers, during the Pahiyas Festival. This festival is considered the grandest thanksgiving festival in the Philippines. To celebrate their bountiful harvest, residents engage in friendly competition to out-decorate their neighbors’ houses with colorful rice wafers, native materials, handicrafts, and fresh produce. As for food, the streets are lined with different food kiosks and bazaars, or marketplaces, offering local food and drink for tourists and natives alike.
10. Food and Wine Classic in Aspen (Aspen, Colorado)
This Colorado food festival has certainly held up to the “classic” title in its name, as over 34 years it’s become one of the most premier culinary events in America. Over 5,000 foodies are in attendance at this 3-day event in the mountains, which features over 550 restaurant and wine professionals and more than 70 celebrity chefs including the like of Jacques Pépin, Gale Simmons, Curtis Stone, and many others. The highlight of the fest is the Grand Tasting Pavilion, a magical place where food lovers go to sample wine and food from around the world. Adding this one to my bucket list ASAP.
11. Maslenitsa Pancake Festival (Russia)
Maslenitsa, or Pancake Week, is one of the most cheerful holidays in Russia. It’s a gathering of the Russian people to celebrate the end winter and the beginning of spring. Pancakes are eaten all week during the festival to symbolize the sun in shape and color, and are enjoyed with a variety of jams, butter, fruits and even caviar. Wednesday is when the open feasts take place in the peoples’ households, featuring pancakes and crepes, brewed beer, and other traditional Russian dishes.
12. Taste of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
Taste of Chicago is the largest food festival in the world, with over 3 million visitors each year and more than 200 menu items offered. The festival, which takes place in Chicago’s Grant Park right on the lakefront, has been around since 1980, but it adds new restaurants, food trucks, chefs, and other exciting events every year. There’s plenty to do during this 5-day festival, including live music concerts, three-course dinners, chef demonstrations, and all the delicious food you could ever dream of.
13. Pizzafest (Naples, Italy)
Pizza lovers, welcome to the food festival of your dreams. It’s only right that a festival is held every year to celebrate the most glorious food ever invented. Pizzafest is the world’s largest celebration of pizza, held in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza. The first pizza day was held in Naples in 1995, and has since become a gathering of both local and global pizzerias competing for the title of best pizza in the world. Visitors of the festival can go around to each of the different competitors and try the different varieties of pizza. I think I would probably die of happiness.
14. New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Think Mardi Gras, but with plenty more food and drink. The four-day New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is centered around a street party atmosphere with food trucks and access to art galleries, seminars, and special dining events at over two dozen local restaurants. There’s also over 1,000 wines featured from around the world, which can be enjoyed while walking throughout the streets or at wine tasting events. Expand your palate by trying out some typical New Orleans fare like seafood and Creole dishes. However, if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, there’s plenty more foods to choose from.
15. Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the highly anticipated annual celebration of brews we call Oktoberfest. The event features 14 “beer tents” that house the liquid gold everyone flocks to the festival for, as well as traditional German fare such as bratwurst, dumplings, potato salad, duck, and freshly baked goods. The 2015 festival brought in 5.9 million guests and sold 7.3 million liters of beer, meaning 2016 can only get bigger and better. Don’t forget your beer pong and your tested hangover cures.
16. Bite of Seattle (Seattle, Washington)
This food festival is one of the premier events of the Southwest, bringing in 60+ restaurants and pop-up vendors, 5 outdoor music stages, live cooking demonstrations, cook-offs, and more. Whether you’re an adventurous eater or a lover of the basics, there’s sure to be a dish to satisfy everyone. The food options range from dim sum to alligator to fried calamari on a stick, as well classic American fare that we all know and love. Once you’ve had a bite to eat (or 1,000 bites, who’s counting?), head over to the beer gardens or a movie on the lawn to nurse your food baby.
17. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Victoria, Australia)
Every year, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival gathers some of the most famous culinary stars around the world for a phenomenal foodie event Down Under. The festival takes place at signature spots around Victoria, including down laneways, along rivers, on farms, and inside cellars, making for an unforgettable 10-day experience. Some of the signature events include the Regional World’s Longest Lunch, which features 24 lunches taking place at beautiful locations across the state, River Graze, a playground of culinary hot-spots and entertainment along the Yarra River. Also notable is City Cellar, an event offering 60 of Victoria’s best wineries to sip on. And that’s only the half of it.
18. Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival (Los Angeles, California)
California is home to some of the greatest food creations you’ve even seen, and at the annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival, you can finally enjoy all those foods over the span of four days. The event takes place city-wide, meaning you’ll have the chance to stroll famous zip codes while chowing down on dishes made by your favorite celebrity chefs. In last year’s attendance was Tyler Florence, Elizabeth Falkner, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Curtis Stone. There’s no easier way to feel like an A-lister than eating A-list food in an A-list city.
19. Feast Portland (Portland, Oregon)
Feast Portland prides themselves on being not just a food festival, but a movement showcasing America’s energy, creativity, and enthusiasm towards food, while celebrating the culinary world of the Pacific Northwest. They offer grand events like daily tastings and a sandwich invitational, but also have more intimate gatherings like the Franklin barbecue and a picnic with professional chefs. During the four-day festival there’s also hands-on classes, dinner series featuring esteemed restaurants, and panels on wine, beer, and spirits. You can feel good about yourself while you’re eating your way through the festival, too, because net proceeds are donated to Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon.
20. Music City Wine + Food Festival (Nashville, Tennessee)
The South sure knows how to throw a food festival. While the Music City Wine + Food Festival might only be a couple of years old, it’s packing a serious punch in the world of food. Held in the historic area of Bicentennial Park, this event delivers over 60 food, wine, and spirits vendors during The Grand Taste. A diverse range of food is served, including octopus, Corn Razeman ramen, and white miso ice cream. And of course you can’t have a Southern food festival without the BBQ. Don’t miss Martin’s barbecue feast featuring whole hog, lamb, goat, fish and a range of other foods slow cooked over a live fire. Don’t worry non-meat eaters—they’ll have veggies, too.
21. World Gourmet Summit (Singapore)
The World Gourmet Summit is a prestigious food festival celebrating global and local cuisine and fine dining. International culinary stars, industry personalities, and home-grown talents gather every year in March through April to show off their craft dishes and wines for the food enthusiasts in attendance. 2016 marks the festival’s 20th year, so guests can expect gourmet dinners, workshops by renowned chefs, parties, and a list of unique restaurants offering only the most top-quality dishes and experiences in Singapore. Classy.
22. Epcot International Wine & Food Festival (Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida)
Only the most magical place in the country could hold the most magical food festival right? This month-long event takes place in Disney World’s Epcot resort, offering tons of global cuisines, wines, and beers. Throughout the park there’s a global marketplace, concerts, seminars, demonstrations, and dining adventures that showcase 270 international chefs. And you thought Disney World couldn’t get any better.
23. Cayman Cookout (Grand Cayman Islands, Caribbean)
Behold the ultimate cookout of the year, held on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The Cayman Cookout takes place in the acclaimed Ritz-Carlton resort, featuring a roster of world famous chefs, wine experts, and spirit-blenders. For three days, guests enjoy culinary demonstrations, tastings, unique pairings, and once-in-a-lifetime epicurean experiences all with the backdrop of crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches. A variety of other events will be held on the islands, including the Barefoot BBQ, Beach Bash, and Champagne Brunch & Cook-Off.
24. Salon du Chocolat Festival (Paris, France)
Saving (possibly) the best for last, the Salon du Chocolat Festival is a chocoholic’s ultimate dream come true. The 5-day event features over 500 chocolatiers, pastry makers, and confectioners from France and abroad coming together to deliver the world’s largest event dedicated to chocolate. There will also be a Pastry Show, where chefs will demonstrate their finest chocolate recipes, a Chocosphere presentation on the world of chocolate, and a Chocolate Fashion Show. The end of the festival brings the Chocolate Awards, which pays tribute to the best chocolatiers and the most remarkable chocolate around the globe.