5 of Europe’s Best Food and Drink Festivals
By Sam Harvey
I love the atmosphere and excitement of a food and drink festival. Enjoying new taste sensations in the company of fellow enthusiasts is my idea of bliss. Europe has such a variety of excellent food and drink festivals on offer it can be difficult to choose which ones to attend. Here are some of my personal favourites.
Taste of Stockholm, Sweden
1st – 6th June 2012
At the beginning of June, I recommend heading north to Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården (King’s Garden), where the Taste of Stockholm food and drink festival proves that there is more to Swedish cooking than lingonberries. Around 25 of Stockholm’s best restaurants set up outdoor stalls. Wandering through the park, listening to the live entertainment and delighting in the delicious smells from the gourmet stalls, I can understand why New-Nordic cuisine is on the rise. My personal highlight is the annual Chef’s Duel, which sees Sweden’s best chefs battle it out on stage.
Galway Oyster Festival, Ireland
28th – 30thSeptember 2012
As if enormous platters of shellfish and copious amounts of Guinness were not enough of a draw in themselves, it is the inimitable Irish hospitality that lures me to the west coast of Ireland every September. While it is possible to join the formal events at the Galway Oyster Festival, if you are prepared to part with 100 Euros, for me the attraction of this event lies in the informal gatherings. From the traditional Friday parade to the street performers and live music events, the city buzzes with excitement for the entire weekend. Firmly ensconced in a local hostelry, with a pint of the black stuff and a plate of oysters, I have to admit that I missed last year’s hotly contested World Oyster Opening Championship. Perhaps this year I will make it along to see Belgium’s Xavier Caille defend his title, or perhaps the lure of a log fire and an Irish whiskey may prove too tempting to resist.
Stuttgart Beer Festival, Germany
28th September – 14th October 2012
While Munich’s Oktoberfest may be the best-known German beer festival, there are plenty of others that are well worth a visit. My favourite is the Stuttgart Beer Festival, held every year at Cannstatter Wasen. I enjoy strolling from tent to tent, grabbing a seat at a table and soaking up the atmosphere as the mood takes me. I would recommend booking a table if you are visiting the festival with a large group, as the marquees can become extremely busy in the evenings. I’m always struck by the number of families who attend this festival. Perhaps the children are more interested in the fairground rides than the food, but it makes for a great family day out.
Turin Slow Food Festival, Italy
23rd – 27th October 2012
Dedicated to local products and sustainable production methods, the pace of the Turin food festival is anything but slow. With so many fascinating workshops on offer during this four-day event, I wanted to split myself in to two or three to cover all the available topics. From wines, cheese and coffee to pork, beer and oysters, this festival covers the full range of slow food. Be sure to book ahead, as the workshops I attended were fully subscribed.
2012 dates to be confirmed
As a confirmed chocoholic, I thought I knew of every possible use for chocolate, until I popped along to the Choco-Laté Festival in Bruge. With chocolate art, fashion and massage therapies, this festival celebrates chocolate in all its many shapes and forms. Despite encountering chocolate in many guises, from fairy wings to a double bed, my favourite chocolate-related activity is still “eating”.
Guest post contributed by Samantha Harvey, on behalf of Covermore.com.au – providers of quality travel insurance.
European Food & Drink Festivals and dining being talked about online
At Volt again. Hands down the best restaurant in Stockholm. Food, wine (oh my god, the wine) and service. All top notch.
Located at the Pompeii Sanctuary (Santuario di Pompeii) is this food festival celebrating typical products of the Campania region (Information about the Sapori e Saperi Festival in English). Upcoming Food & Wine Festivals in Italy.
You know chocolate was at the top of the list and this is the first stop we made when we hit Bruges. Well fueled with chocolate we went to get in line to climb one of the most famous landmarks in Bruges, the 13th century belfry. Today as promised we will begin to explore Bruges, Belgium.
We also went to a Belgian fry and waffle shop called Bruges to get a Liege waffle for dessert (topped with Belgian chocolate and creme fraiche deliciousness). My husband used to live in Italy and I spent a little time in Bruges, so we are both pretty nostalgic about those restaurants.