Hungry for a festival that offers the best local fare and global flare? We’ve got you covered. The foodie fiestas on this list will whip your taste buds into a frenzy and keep you coming back for more.
Here are some of the most sought-after, savory, and special food festivals in the world.
Annual Golden Spurtle, Cairngorms, Scotland
Keeping tradition alive, the Scots celebrate their most famous superfood with The World Porridge-Making Championships at Carrbridge each year. The lucky winner takes home a Golden Spurtle — a wooden stick used to stir the porridge pot.
And I know what you’re probably thinking… How hard could making oatmeal really be?
Thanks to all the Scottish superstitions surrounding this famed dish, winning isn’t as easy as it seems. For instance, the porridge must be referred to as “they.” Also, the pot must be stirred clockwise. Always. When it’s done, the final product can only be eaten from a pottinger, or porridge bowl, while standing up. The stories behind these “musts” have been lost in translation over time, but the Scots still take their porridge eating as seriously as always.
National Street Food Festival, Delhi
Attention all street food lovers! In late December, this is the place to be.
Once a year, the locals come out and whip up the best street delicacies Delhi has to offer. Whether you’re craving some chaat, chhole kulcha, bhalle papdi, or quintessentially spicy gol gappe, you’ll find the best of the best rounded up at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
One of the most famous on the list, Oktoberfest is often dubbed the world’s greatest celebration of beer. But there’s more to it enjoy than a local brew or two.
Here, the culinary delights are endless. Come for the best bratwurst, pretzels, and roasted meats you’ll ever put in your mouth. Stay for the jubilant company. These days Oktoberfest is about so much more than beer. It’s one of the most famous food festivals in the world.
Salon Du Chocolat, Paris, France
Into fashion? How about chocolate? If your answer to both is “oui,” this food festival was designed for you.
This traveling delight of visual and tasty pleasures makes its way to Ecuador, Paris, and the Big Apple every year. And what they can make with chocolate is not only delicious, it’s downright incredible.
Gilroy Garlic Festival, California
This renowned festival lasts for three days, and it’s among the USA’s most awaited food events in existence, attracting people from all over the globe. Thanks to its massive garlic production, Gilroy is often considered the Garlic Capital of the World. So it only makes sense that garlic is the star ingredient of all dishes you’ll find here.
For those looking for more than a garlicky feast, this summertime snack fest is full of fun rides and games, opportunities to meet celebrity chefs, live music, and family-friendly cooking contests.
New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
One of the most applauded culinary events in the world, the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience attracts more than 7,000 gourmands, connoisseurs, and true foodies from all over the planet each year. In the sea of food experts and chefs, art and music lovers also make their way to the Big Easy for this one. Musicians endlessly keep festival-goers entertained with even more local flavor.
Don’t miss your chance to indulge in all of the delicious delicacies and fine wine. Rumor has it, NOLA’s biggest foodie fiesta is about to claim the title of finest food festival in the world very soon. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Pizza Fest, Naples, Italy
If you’ve ever wanted to pay your respects to pizza in all of its glory, we’ve got just the festival for you. For 5 to 11 days, zillions of people flock to Naples and consume more than 100,000 pizzas of every kind imaginable.
From 50 historic versions you may have never heard of to classics like Napoletana, Margherita, and Marinara, this pizza lovers paradise has something for everyone and more than anyone could ever eat. It takes place at a beautiful seaside promenade, Lungomare Caracciolo, so you’ll be able to take in the best of Italy long after you’re full.
Dumpling Festival, Hong Kong
If you’re anything like me, there’s no such thing as too many dumplings. And the Zongzi Dumpling Festival comes prepared.
On the fifth day of the fifth Chinese lunar month, swim in a sea of dumplings and engulf yourself in the tastiest of Chinese traditions.
Vegetarian Festival, Phuket, Thailand
This nine-day Thai celebration is swirling in colorful parades, lively music, and the best of vegan dishes you’ll ever try. All dishes are made out of vegetables, fruits, soybean, and protein products, and for a little over a week, the locals are more than happy to skip meat.
Considered one of the best fruit festivals around the world, even non-vegetarians race to this international food fest every year. It’s just that good. It’s officially one of the most prominent festivals in Thailand for good reason, and steadily becoming one of the most respected food events in the world.
Blue Food Festival, Bloody Bay, Tobago
In its 18th year, this world-renowned festival on the Caribbean island of Tobago creates dishes using dasheen, a locally popular root plant of the taro family. Dasheen is able to grow during harsh conditions, including floods, and the Blue Food Festival was created to honor it while innovatively using it in as many ways possible.
When the dasheen is cooked, it turns blue. The weekend-long festival draws thousands of people from all walks of life, all ready to cook inventive dishes with the local root. There’s also live music, limbo dancing, and rum tastings.
Castagnades Chestnut Festival, Ardeche, France
Ardeche is famous for being France’s largest producer of sweet chestnuts. They boast 62 varieties and in France, the chestnut has always been a pretty big deal.
For centuries, many survived primarily thanks to the “bread tree,” as the locals call it. Chestnuts remain an important ingredient in Ardeche cuisine, frequently ground into soups or baked into a flat cake called the Pisadou. At this world-famous festival, chestnuts are the main event. They’re sold fresh, made into sweet treats like “marron glaces,” converted into a brown flour, and even brewed into a smoky (and highly alcoholic) liqueur.
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
For ten straight days, the MFWF does its best to spoil the tastebuds of all who participate.
You’ll be offered award-winning wines, leisurely lunches, divine dinners, and some of Australia’s most avant-garde culinary creations. It’s the perfect food and wine lover’s playground, and one of the most successful festivals in the country.
Maine Lobster Festival
Nobody does lobster quite like Maine! So it’s only right that they devote a five-day coastal festival to it each year. During the first weekend of August, seafood lovers unite for this internationally-recognized celebration of local seafood, and there’s nothing like it anywhere else.
Get your hands on some fresh catches like crab, lobster, squid, calamari, fish, shrimp, and more. All the while, enjoy the local music, cooking contests, carnival shows, art bazaars, and coastal views. Adding to its enduring appeal, all of the proceedings are donated to Midcoast Maine’s communities every year.
St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, St. Moritz Switzerland
In the mood for a fancier festival? Make your way to St. Moritz to feast with legends from famous kitchens around the world as they concoct fine dining delights. You won’t be sorry.
This 9-day long food festival is one of the most celebrated culinary events in the world. Top guest chefs not only come to cook, but they share culinary highlights, tips, and tastings from the best cuisines around the globe. For instance, 2020’s theme was Japanese cuisine. No matter the theme, one of the most anticipated events each year is the Chocolate Cult, offering a diverse array of delicacies created from the finest chocolate ever made.
Herring Festival, Hvide Sande, Denmark
Each Spring, schools of herring swim in to spawn in sheltered waters near the village of Hvide Sande. And the fishermen have taken notice.
The Herring Festival is a local tradition where the fish are caught, consumed, and frequently pickled, fried, or ground into fishcakes.
Those who want the full experience can take part in the angling rituals. Or, you can take fishing classes and filleting workshops. Believe it or not, there’s also a fashion show meant to show off the latest “couture” for outdoorsy types, with the models donning rough, tough, and presumably waterproof clothing.
Bacon Festival, Sacramento, California
There are a lot of great bacon festivals out there, but this one is internationally crowned the best of them.
Every April, this meat-lovers mecca offers bacon every way you could dream it up. From bacon gelato to bacon ramen, there is no way bacon doesn’t prove itself the star of the show at this one. And those who come from all over say they just can’t get enough.
Wildfoods Festival, Hokitika, New Zealand
Do you have an adventurous palate that’s looking for something truly new? Now’s your chance. On the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the Wildfoods Festival offers its participants the chance to feast on things they never thought about putting in their mouths, and often things nobody even thought could be cooked. Or eaten raw, for that matter.
Have you ever wanted to try seagull eggs? How about possum? Beetle grubs? If not, have no fear. There are more tame dishes on the menu, like frogs’ legs and snails stuffed in garlic.
The Onion Market, Bern, Switzerland
Onions, onions everywhere! That’s the general theme of this one. And you might be surprised by just how beautiful some of the bulbs on display really are. Another annual highlight with this one is the confetti war, which starts at 4 p.m. on the dot.
But the lure with this one is the pungent smell of onions that fills the city center. Sublime dishes are are all over the place, from onion soup to onion tarts and onion souffle. And yes, many of the delicious dishes will definitely bring a tear to your eye.
PoutineFest, Ottawa, Canada
Of all the things Canada is most proud of, poutine is pretty high on the list. And I can’t say I blame them for that. This Canadian concoction of fries, gravy, and cheese curds has its own three-day festival each year. There’s live music, eating contests, cook-offs, and of course, poutine in its most traditional and exotic forms.
Some of the most innovative versions include pad Thai poutine, butter chicken poutine, beef jerky, smoked salmon, and pulled pork poutine. All equally rich, all equally to die for.