Food festivals are a great way to learn about an area’s culture, sample their favourite foods, and enjoy a party too. Most food festivals focus on locally grown produce and local cheeses, wines or other delicacies. If you’re looking for something with a bit of a twist, why not try a traditional food fight, celebrate your love of Spam, or head to Iceland to sample ram’s testicles and fermented shark? There’s a whole new world out there of exotic foods and food-related fun.
1. Cheese Rolling, Gloucestershire
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Festival is a long-running Gloucester tradition, which sees racers run down a steep (1 in 2) slope, chasing a rolling double Gloucester cheese. The event is quite hazardous, and is no longer run “officially” by the Gloucestershire council, but there are unofficial events held for those who fancy taking their chances on the steep slopes of Cooper’s hill. After the event you can get together with fellow cheese lovers to sample some of the tasty rounds.
2. Rabechilbi Turnip Festival, Switzerland
For more than 100 years, the people of Richterswil have honed the art of carving turnip lanterns. Each year, they gather on the shores of Lake Zurich to display their works. A parade consisting of 10,000 turnip lanterns takes place around the lake. The designs range from simple shapes to spectacular faces and motifs that will make your halloween pumpkin carving efforts look like child’s play.
3. The Spam Jam, Hawaii
This annual festival sees Spam lovers from around the world get together to celebrate the world’s most beloved canned meat. This year, the festival is being held in Waikiki during the month of April. The festival features a family-friendly, fun-loving atmosphere, and it is ideal for people who want to enjoy the party atmosphere of Hawaii, even if they aren’t normally a Spam fan. In addition to canned meats, there are plenty of other unique Hawaiian dishes on offer for you to try.
4. Thorrablot, Iceland
The Thorrablot festival offers visitors a rare opportunity to sample some of Iceland’s most unusual traditional dishes. Choose from pressed ram’s testicles, rotten shark, whale blubber, singed sheep’s heads, or seal flippers. These foods have been a staple of the Icelandic diet for centuries, but you’ll need some brave taste-buds (and a tolerant sense of smell) to sample them. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, you can still enjoy a drink of Brennivin, or local Black Death hooch, and eat at a restaurant with a less exotic menu. The festival runs from January 23rd to February 23rd 2015.
5. La Tomatina Festival, Bunol, Spain
The La Tomatina festival has been running since the end of World War II. This festival involves tasty food, and a huge food fight. Each year, around 45,000 people turn up at the festival, which takes place on the fourth Wednesday in August. They throw a collective 250,000 pounds of tomatoes at each other. If you attend this, consider wearing old clothes and goggles to protect your eyes!
Have you ever been to any of these festivals? Let us know in the comments!