Whether you’re an expat, an aspiring expat (like us), or one who loves travel, one of the best cultural experiences you can enjoy upon arrival in a new land is the food. Of course, there are McDonald’s and KFCs and Starbucks galore, along with Teremoks, Quicks, and Telepizzas, but there’s more to cuisine than how quickly you can receive your meal and be on your way.
The best way to experience every taste imaginable is, of course, a food festival. There’s at least one festival in Europe every week celebrating all a given city, region, or country has to offer. Let us at Dispatches Europe take you through mid-July to a handful of festivals you should consider marking on your calendar.
Do you love chocolate? How about a month-long festival devoted to the food of the gods? The Óbidos 14th International Chocolate Festival, held along the central coast of Portugal in the medieval town of Óbidos, guarantees chocolate — from sculptures and live cooking demonstrations, to children’s chocolate classes and chocolate-themed fashion shows — every Friday through Sunday (and Thursday through Friday during the first weekend of the festival) throughout the month of April.
You can see the full list of activities here (in Portuguese; Google Translate helps if you don’t already know the language).
Here’s the link to the schedule (in Portuguese).
From spring to winter every year, the BBC hosts a handful of weekend-long food festivals all over the United Kingdom under the Good Food moniker (think Food Network and Kitchen Channel, with their cadre of chefs and media).
From the Good Food Shows main website:
For more than 25 years, the BBC Good Food Shows have been bringing your love of good food to life. Thousands of food lovers come to the Shows each year to see, smell, touch and taste new flavours and ingredients. Be inspired by the best chefs in the business and share their passion for food with family and friends. 2016 is set to be our tastiest year yet! Expect a new programme of inspiring cookery demonstrations as your favourite chefs show off their latest recipes live on stage. Plus, you can discover dozens of new food and drink products, enjoy tasting experiences, and even explore an entirely new Show by joining us at the first ever BBC Good Food Show Summer in the City, coming to London this May.
Our first stop for 2016 is the beautiful spa town of Harrogate. Join James Martin, Paul Hollywood and more for a seasonal celebration of great food and drink. Don’t miss your favourite chefs live in the stunning Edwardian Supertheatre, plus treat yourself to a Betty’s VIP Plus package to watch the action from your own exclusive box with a glass of fizz.
You can see the full list of activities here. Corporate sponsors include main sponsor Lexus, Kenwood, and Hotpoint.
Over 120 food trucks from all over Europe and the world will descend upon the Belgian capital in early May for the third annual Brussels Food Truck Festival, attracting over 100,000 visitors over three days while parked among the most spectacular sites located in the city’s heart.
From the website:
During 3 days, the historic city center of Brussels will host for the third consecutive year the largest food truck festival in Europe which includes original and qualitative food trucks. Discover artisans who will delight your taste buds, that are passionate by “real fresh” food, by quality, proximity and seasonal fooding… The Brussels Food Truck Festival offers a diverse gustatory journey that is innovative, surprising or just traditional. Open to “Food lovers” and “gourmets” of all ages!
No tickets needed, for admission is free; you can buy passes linked to specific food trucks. Be sure to bring cash, however, as none of the trucks will be able to take your chipped debit/credit card.
From the website (translated from Dutch, edited for clarity):
Welcome to the festival which stands for good taste in the broadest sense of the word. Tens of thousands of happy foodies know every year to visit the Amsterdam Amstelpark for inspiration, fun, and above all, the delicious dishes and drinks. The upcoming edition will once again have the best (inter)national chefs cooking live in many restaurants and theaters. You can look forward to the most surprising signature dishes, get to work under the watchful eye of a top chef, and enjoy a special drink while taking in the infectious music from the best DJs around.
You can see the full list of activities here (in Dutch; Google Translate will be your friend if you don’t already know the language). German electrical equipment company AEG is the corporate partner.
You can get your tickets here (in Dutch).
The annual Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth Harbour “brings together champagne and seafood, family entertainment and a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the superb seafood available” to all from the seaside community’s shores, with proceeds going to The Fisherman’s Mission, a non-profit established in 1881 to help care for the United Kingdom’s fishermen and their families. Guests can expect to sample seafood galore from over 100 stalls, watch live cooking demonstrations from some of the region’s best seafood chefs, and even enjoy fresh oysters and tapas with champagne.