Hungry for a fulfilling cultural experience? Europe offers no shortage of delicious choices when it comes to food-centric festivals and gastronomy trails. From a bizarre city-sponsored tomato-throwing event in Buñol, Spain, to a celebration of oysters in Galway, Ireland, there is a food festival that is sure to please any palate.
Craft your European itinerary to include a gastronomic festival or event for a chance to sample the local culture as well as the cuisine. As flavorful as it is fun, it’s often an excellent opportunity to take in local theater and music performances and shop for unique handicrafts as well. Embark on a food or wine trail and you’ll also get to enjoy a sightseeing feast for the eyes while learning about a particular food, wine or spirit.
Join the party with literally millions of other food lovers at one of the larger European food festivals, such as Oktoberfest in Munich, or Pizzafest in Naples. Go for smaller, lesser-known food and wine festivals, as they can be a real treat if you have an adventurous taste. Love chestnuts? There are four different festivals in four countries that celebrate them in all forms. Other up-and-coming niche festivals like the British Asparagus Festival in Vale of Evesham or the EuroChocolate festival in Perugia, Italy, are also gaining in popularity among discerning food tourists.
There are hundreds of food festivals throughout Europe. Many will take place over a long weekend, but some will last for several weeks at a time. A few choice festivals last for only a day. Cheese lovers will enjoy the Gruyère Cheese Festival in the medieval village of Gruyères, just northeast of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Or plan to attend Hapje-Tapje in Leuven, Belgium, another popular one-day food event in summer that will take you on a walking tour of the city center where you can sip, snack and swap recipes with other foodies in a convivial atmosphere.
No matter what your tastes might be, there’s a food festival in Europe waiting to feed you with an inspiring gastronomical experience.