food festivals around the world

30 Food Festivals Around the World the Foodie in You NEEDS to Visit

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Updated on May 14, 2024

Reviewed by AFAD Team

Food festivals are a great way to try new foods and expand your culinary horizons. Thankfully, there really is no shortage of food festivals around the world. From massive events that take over entire cities to intimate gatherings in a single square, there’s something for everyone when it comes to food festivals. 

If you consider yourself a foodie or even someone with an adventurous palate, read on for our list of 30 must-visit food festivals from all corners of the globe. From street food markets in Asia to gourmet extravaganzas in Europe, these festivals offer you a chance to sample the best of each continent. So whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a homebody who’s just curious about new cuisines, odds are you will probably find your new favourite culinary destination here. Bon appetit!

1. La Tomatina, Bunol, Spain 

La Tomatina is a food festival held annually in Bunol, Spain. Participants hurl tomatoes at each other for the pure enjoyment of it. The festival has been held since 1945. More than 40,000 people attend the event every year.

The origin of La Tomatina is unclear. Some say it started as a protest against the town mayor. Others say it was simply a way to have fun and use up excess tomatoes. Whatever the case, the festival has become a popular tourist attraction.

If you’re interested in attending La Tomatina, you should know a few things. Firstly, the festival takes place on the last Wednesday of August. Secondly, only participants who are 18 or older are allowed to take part. And finally, you’ll need to bring your own tomatoes – around 200!

If you’re looking for a unique and fun experience, add La Tomatina to your travel/food adventure list. It’s an event you won’t soon forget.

2. Giant Omelette Celebration, Bessières, France 

Every year, the town of Bessières in southwestern France celebrates one of the country’s most beloved dishes: the omelette. The Giant Omelet Celebration (La Fête de l’Omelette Géante) sees locals and visitors alike come together to enjoy a mega omelette made with about 15,000 eggs.

The omelette is cooked in a gigantic pan measuring over six meters in diameter and is served with salad and bread. The event is usually held at Easter and has been running for over 50 years. If you’re in France during this time, head to Bessières to taste this delicious tradition!

3. Pizzafest, Naples, Italy

Food festivals are a great way to celebrate cuisines from all over the world; they offer a chance to sample new foods, learn about different cultures, and expand your culinary horizons. Pizzafest is a prime example of all of the above and more. It is dedicated to everyone’s favourite Italian dish: pizza. 

Held annually in the city of Naples, Pizzafest has been attracting visitors from all over the world since 1995. For one week, guests can enjoy unlimited pizza from over 100 different vendors. There are also cooking demonstrations, live music, and chances to win prizes. Whether you’re a longtime fan of locally-made Italian pizza or looking to try it for the first time, Pizzafest is the perfect event for you.

4. Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea, Italy

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The Battle of the Oranges is an annual food festival in Ivrea town in Italy. The festival commemorates a battle that took place in the 13th century, and it features a massive food fight where thousands of local participants hurl oranges at each other.

As massive of a national event as it is, participation is only restricted to locals. Visitors and tourists can only watch and enjoy the event’s festivities.

The Battle of the Oranges is one of Italy’s largest and most popular food festivals. Although participation is restricted to locals, it still attracts visitors from all over the world. If you’re looking for an unusual sighting during your stay in Italy, then a visit to the Battle of the Oranges deserves a place in your itinerary.

5. Salon du Chocolat, Paris, France

Salon du Chocolat is a food festival that celebrates chocolate in all its forms. Held annually in Paris since 1996, the event has always attracted some of the world’s leading chocolatiers, who come to showcase their latest creations. 

Visitors can sample hundreds of different types of chocolate and participate in workshops and demonstrations. The festival also features a range of activities for children, making it the perfect family-friendly event. Whether you’re a chocolate lover or simply looking for a fun day out, Salon du Chocolat is sure to offer something for everyone.

6. Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland, Maine, USA

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The Maine Lobster Festival is a food festival that takes place every summer in Rockland, Maine. The festival is a celebration of lobster, a seafood delicacy native to the state of Maine. 

The Maine Lobster features a variety of lobster-themed dishes, live music, carnival rides, and other family-friendly activities. The Maine Lobster Festival is one of the biggest and most popular food festivals in the United States, attracting over 20,000 visitors each year. If you’re looking for a delicious and fun-filled way to celebrate the summer, make sure to check out the Maine Lobster Festival.

7. Taste of Chicago, Illinois

Taste of Chicago is an annual food festival held in Chicago, Illinois. The festival features a wide variety of food from local restaurants, as well as live music and entertainment. It is one of the largest and most important food festivals in the United States, attracting more than two million visitors each year.

The festival began in 1980 as a way to promote the city’s diverse culinary scene. As well as showcasing the city’s many restaurants, the festival provides an opportunity for chefs to showcase their skills. As a result, Taste of Chicago has become a noteworthy event for both locals and tourists.

8. Hokitika Wildfoods Food Festival, Hokitika, New Zealand

New Zealand‘s Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is an annual event celebrating the country’s unique native cuisine and best West Coast food. Held in the beautiful small town of Hokitika on the west coast of the South Island, the festival offers a chance to sample a wide range of local specialities. There is something for everyone to enjoy at the Wildfoods Festival, from seafood and shellfish to venison and berries.

There are also plenty of opportunities to learn about the region’s food history and culture, with demonstrations and workshops led by some of the area’s top chefs. In addition to traditional Maori dishes, there are also plenty of international cuisines available. So whether you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons or enjoy some delicious food, the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is definitely worth visiting.

9. The Vegetarian Festival, Phuket, Thailand 

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Street vendor selling vegetarian food at The Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, Thailand

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event celebrating the local Thai-Chinese community’s commitment to vegetarianism. For nine days, participants abstain from eating meat, dairy, and eggs to purify their bodies and minds.

The food festival is held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar when it is believed that the gates of hell are open and spirits are able to roam the earth. To please the spirits and ensure their protection, participants wear white clothing and engage in various acts of self-mortification, such as body piercing and firewalking. The festival culminates with a grand procession through the streets of Phuket Town, where participants carry elaborate altars to the Chinese shrine. Along the way, they offer vegetarian meals to onlookers as a sign of goodwill. For those looking to experience something truly unique, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival surely fits the bill.

10. Bugfest, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina, USA

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Bugfest is an annual food festival that celebrates the culinary delights of the insect world. Visitors to the Bugfest can sample various insect-based dishes, from grasshopper guacamole to chocolate-dipped scorpions. 

The event also features educational exhibits on the many different types of insects found in North Carolina, as well as live music and entertainment. The Bugfest is an excellent opportunity to learn more about these fascinating creatures and enjoy some delicious -and surprisingly healthy- food if you feel adventurous enough to embark on such a culinary adventure!

11. Olney Pancake Race, Olney, Buckinghamshire, England

Every year on Shrove Tuesday, the people of Olney in Buckinghamshire race through the town to the sound of church bells. The Olney Pancake Race has been held since 1445 and is believed to be one of the country’s oldest and most popular food festivals. The race is run by women, who must toss a pancake as they run. The winner is crowned “Pancake Queen” and receives a silver trophy.

The festival is also a time for community bonding, as runners and spectators enjoy pancakes together. Whether you’re a pancake enthusiast or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, the Olney Pancake Race is sure to be a fun-filled event that you won’t want to miss!

12. Bibimbap Festival, Seoul, South Korea

Food festivals are a great way to experience different cultures and cuisines. The Bibimbap Festival in South Korea is a perfect example. This annual event celebrates the dish of bibimbap, a rice and vegetable bowl that can be filled with any number of delicious toppings. 

During the festival, dozens of vendors set up stalls selling their own unique versions of bibimbap. There is also live music, traditional dance performances, and other entertainment. The Bibimbap Festival is an excellent opportunity to sample some of the best food in South Korea and learn about the country’s culture. So if you’re ever in Seoul, be sure to check it out!

13. Tokyo Ramen Show, Tokyo, Japan

The Tokyo Ramen Show is an annual food festival that celebrates the dish of ramen noodles. Held in late October, the event features over 50 different vendors from across Japan, all of whom serve up their own unique take on the classic soup. 

In addition to ramen, there are also stalls selling a variety of other Japanese dishes, as well as various drinks and snacks. With so many different options, the Tokyo Ramen Show is the perfect place to sample some of the best dishes Japanese cuisine has to offer. Whether you’re a ramen lover or just looking to try something new, the Tokyo Ramen Show is guaranteed to have something for you.

14. Chef Fest, Hawaii

Since its inception in 2009, Chef Fest has become one of Hawaii’s premier food festivals. The event is held annually on the island of Oahu and features some of the state’s most talented chefs. Guests can enjoy a variety of culinary delights, from traditional Hawaiian dishes to innovative fusion cuisine. 

In addition to the mouthwatering food, there are also wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and other fun activities. Chef Fest is an excellent opportunity to sample the best culinary delights that Hawaii has to offer. So if you’re looking for an exceptional dining experience, make sure to check out Chef Fest.

15. The National Cherry Festival, Traverse City, Michigan, USA

Food festivals are a great way to celebrate the unique culinary traditions of a particular region. The National Cherry Festival is a perfect example. 

Held annually in Traverse City, Michigan, the festival features all things cherry, from pies and pastries to cocktails and ciders. Attendees can also enjoy live music, parades, and fireworks. And, of course, there are plenty of opportunities to sample the delicious local cherries. Whether you’re a cherry lover or just looking to try something new, the National Cherry Festival is a great event to check out.

16. Chinchilla Melon Festival, Chinchilla, Queensland, Australia

The Chinchilla Melon Festival is a food festival held annually in the small town of Chinchilla, Queensland, Australia. The festival is celebrates the local melon industry and features a range of melon-themed events and activities. 

Visitors to the festival can enjoy Melon eating competitions, Melon skiing, Melon racing, and a range of other melony goodness. The festival also features a range of local food and drink stalls, live music and entertainment. The Chinchilla Melon Festival is a fantastic opportunity to sample some of the best melons in the world and to experience the unique culture of this small Australian town.

17. Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, California, USA

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The Gilroy Garlic Festival is an annual food festival dedicated to -you guessed it- garlic. Held in Gilroy, California, the festival was founded in 1979 by Linda Beahrs and Rudy Melone. It is now the largest garlic festival in the world, attracting over 100,000 visitors each year. 

The Gilroy Garlic Festival celebrates garlic and all things related to it. Visitors can enjoy garlic ice cream, bread, fries, chicken, and more. In addition to food, the festival also features cooking demonstrations, music, and entertainment. The Gilroy Garlic Festival is a great place to learn about garlic and sample some of the many different ways it can be used in cooking.

18. Monkey Buffet Festival, Lopburi, Thailand

The Monkey Buffet Festival is an annual event held in Lopburi, Thailand. The event was created to provide food for the local population of macaques, who are known to plunder crops and cause mischief in the area. During the festival, tables are laden with fruits, vegetables, and other treats, which the monkeys are free to enjoy. The event has become a major tourist attraction, and it is not unusual to see hundreds of people taking photos and enjoying the spectacle. 

In addition to the food, the festival also features games and other activities designed to entertain both monkeys and human visitors alike. For those looking for a unique and memorable experience, the Monkey Buffet Festival is worth visiting.

19. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling, Gloucestershire, England

Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling is an annual event that takes place in Gloucestershire, England. The event involves participants rolling a round of cheese down a steep hill. The first person to reach the bottom of the hill wins the cheese. The event is believed to have originated in the 18th century and has been held annually ever since.

In recent years, the event has become a popular tourist attraction, with people travelling from all over the world to participate or watch. The event is also a huge fundraising opportunity for local charities. Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a unique and exciting way to spend a day!

20. Night of the Radishes, Oaxaca, Mexico

The Night of the Radishes is an annual food festival in Mexico City that celebrates the humble radish. Held in December, the festival features radish carvings, radish-themed art, and radish-themed cuisine.

The Night of Radishes food festival dates back to the 16th century when Spanish colonists first introduced the radish to Mexico. Today, the Night of the Radishes is a cherished tradition that attracts people worldwide. If you’re in Mexico during December, make sure to check it out!

21. Tulum Taste of Mexico, Tulum, Mexico

From the moment you step into Tulum, you can smell the tantalising aromas of authentic Mexican cuisine wafting through the air. It’s no surprise, then, that this small town is home to one of the best food festivals in the country. The Tulum Taste of Mexico is an annual event that celebrates the rich culinary traditions of this region.

Visitors can sample traditional dishes from all over Mexico at this food festival and enjoy live music and dance performances. There is also a wide variety of artisanal goods on offer, from hand-painted pottery to handmade jewellery. Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a fun-filled weekend, the Tulum Taste of Mexico is not to be missed.

22. Herring Festival, Denmark

The Herring Festival is a food festival held annually in April in the small Danish town of Hvide Sande. As you can deduce from the name, it is dedicated to celebrating the herring, a fish caught in the North Atlantic and Baltic Seas.

The herring is pickled, fried, and even ground into cakes, then served with various side dishes. The festival also features music, dance, and other entertainment. Visitors can purchase herring from vendors or participate in tastings and cooking demonstrations. The Herring Festival is a fantastic opportunity to learn about Danish culture and try some delicious food.

23. The Dumpling Festival, Hong Kong, China

The Dumpling Festival is a famous food festival that takes place in Hong Kong each year. The festival celebrates the traditional Chinese dumpling and features a wide variety of dumplings from different regions of China. Dumplings are typically made with various fillings, including meat, vegetables, and noodles. 

The Dumpling Festival is an excellent opportunity to try different types of dumplings and learn how they are prepared in various ways. The festival is also a fabulous opportunity to explore the other regions of China through their cuisine. In addition to trying different types of dumplings, attendees can also enjoy traditional Chinese music and dance performances, making it a truly memorable experience.

24. Maslenitsa Pancake Festival, Russia 

Every year around the last week of February, Russians across the country celebrate Maslenitsa. This food festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The festival’s highlight is Blini, a type of pancake traditionally made with wheat flour, milk, and yeast. Blini are often served with butter, honey, or sour cream and can be sweet or savoury. 

During Maslenitsa, Russians also enjoy other traditional foods such as pryaniki (gingerbread cookies) and kvas (a fermented bread drink). In addition to food, Maslenitsa is also a time for outdoor activities such as sledging, skiing, and ice skating. For many Russians, Maslenitsa is a cherished tradition that helps to chase away the last remaining traces of winter.

25. St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, St. Moritz, Switzerland

Foodies worldwide flock to St. Moritz, Switzerland, each year for the Gourmet Festival. This epic event features some of the best chefs in the business who come together to create culinary masterpieces. 

Visitors can sample dishes from all over the globe and enjoy live cooking demonstrations and wine tastings. There is also a strong focus on local produce, with many chefs sourcing their ingredients from nearby farms. Whether you’re a passionate foodie or just looking to try something new, the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival is definitely worth checking out.

26. Savour Tasmania, Tasmania, Australia 

For an authentic taste of Tasmania, there’s no better place to be than the Savour Tasmania Food Festival. This annual event celebrates all that is great about the island’s food and drinks, with a diverse range of stalls and exhibitors available. From locally-produced meats and cheeses to freshly-caught seafood, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

The food festival also offers the perfect opportunity to meet some of Tasmania’s top chefs and producers and learn more about what goes into creating the state’s unique culinary delights. So if you’re looking to discover the very best of Tasmania’s food and drink, make sure you don’t miss the Savour Tasmania Food Festival.

27. Texas Hot Sauce Festival, Texas, USA

Food festivals are one of the best ways to try new things and expand your palate. The Texas Hot Sauce Festival is no exception. This annual event features some of the best hot sauce makers in the state, who come together to share their wares with spicy food lovers from all over.

In addition to sampling all the different sauces, you can enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations, and more. You can even enter the hot sauce eating contest if you feel brave enough. Whether you’re a lover of all things hot or just looking to add a little spice to your life, the Texas Hot Sauce Festival will surely be a fun and memorable experience.

28. The Cayman Cookout, Cayman Islands

The Cayman Cookout is an annual event celebrating the best of the island’s culinary scene. The festival features cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and a variety of other food-related events and is held for three consecutive days. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just enjoy eating good food, you will indeed have a ball at the Cayman Cookout.

You can’t find a better view to complete the perfect dining experience than the beautiful Cayman Islands. With its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, the Cayman Islands is the ideal place to relax and indulge in some delicious food. So mark your calendars and start planning your visit to the Cayman Cookout!

29. The Erfoud Date Festival, Erfoud, Morocco

The Erfoud Date Festival is a food festival that takes place annually in Erfoud, Morocco. The festival celebrates the date palm, an important crop in the region. There are culinary demonstrations, traditional music and dance performances, and various other activities during the festival. 

Visitors can also purchase dates and date-based products from vendors at the festival. The Erfoud Date Festival is an excellent opportunity to learn about the culture and cuisine of Morocco. It is also a great chance to sample some delicious date-based dishes.

30. The Mid-Autumn Festival, China & Vietnam 

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The Mid-Autumn Festival is a food festival celebrated in many parts of East Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam. It typically falls in September or October during the harvest season. The festival is also known as the Mooncake Festival because mooncakes are traditionally eaten during this time. Mooncakes are round or square pastries filled with lotus seed paste, considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. 

Other popular foods eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival include Chinese lantern fruit, Jiaozi (boiled dumplings), and Peking duck. The festival is a time for family and friends to get together and enjoy the festive atmosphere. It is also a time to give thanks for the bounty of the harvest season.

Make sure to mark your calendars and start planning your next food adventure. Luckily, our list of food festivals will take you and your palate all around the world. From La Tomatina in Spain, where you get to let loose and throw around tomatoes, to Hokitika Wildfoods Food Festival in New Zealand, where you can try exotic new foods like huhu grubs (a type of beetle larva), this culinary itinerary will leave you and your stomach with some long-lasting memories. 

What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today! Just don’t forget to let us know which of these food festivals are you planning to go see first. Let us know in the comments below!

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