Although summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, the 2018 summer food festivals are already rolling. Here are the world’s top summer food festivals this year.
Philadelphia Burger Brawl (June 10)
The Philadelphia Burger Brawl is a great place to start your summer festival tour, with 60+ chefs and restaurants presenting their best burgers. In the end, one will be crowned Philly’s Best Burger. With that competition under your belt, move on to the Taco Takedown and the Cuttthroat Cocktail Competition taking place at the same location as warmups to the Burger Brawl.
Taste of London (June 13–17)
One of the top foodie events every summer is Taste of London. Located in Regent’s Park, Taste of London presents exciting street food and shopping that will delight the most hardcore foodie. Master classes are also available for cocktail and cookery enthusiasts.
Taste Theatre gives festival goers a chance to rub elbows with their culinary heroes. Celebrity chefs for 2018’s Taste of London festival include Sean Gray, who’s representing David Chang’s two Michelin-star Momojuku Ko. He’ll tear down the food borders where East meets West leaving only fantastic flavors behind him. Sweden’s Niklast Ekstedt, a titan of open-flame cooking, presents his radical take on ancient cooking by harnessing the power of fire. Brazil’s representative in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is Manoella Bufarra. A protégé of Alex Atala, she’ll delight guests with her distinctive, meticulous, and utterly delicious dishes.
Taste of Chicago (July 11–15)
This American festival is not for food snobs. Held every year in Grant Park, the world’s largest food festival has a vibrant energy and offers the best people watching as you queue for your samples. Taste of Chicago has been a city mainstay for 35 years, attracting over 1.4 million visitors each year. It’s a true food and live music festival with multiple stages all designed to entertain the whole family. Book your trip early as hotel rooms get gobbled up even faster than the food.
Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival (Aug. 14–27)
Lost Angeles is known for so many fun things it just doesn’t seem fair that it also has one of the best food and wine festivals. Festival presenters come from all corners of the southland to Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. (DTLA) and other festival locations. They’ll feature culinary personalities from the L.A. restaurant scene as well as TV food celebrities, and of course California wines will be a highlight for every palate.
Meatopia (Dublin: July 6–8, London: Aug. 31–Sept. 2)
You’ve got two chances to experience Meatopia. First, Dublin hosts the festival at The Open Gate Brewery in July. Then, London’s Tobacco Dock will host Meatopia over Labor Day Weekend. Twenty-five chefs will be creating unique dishes on the spot for all to try. Live music will fill the air so festival goers can dance through their meat sweats. Attendees will use the festival’s currency, “Meatbucks,” to spend during this carnivorous weekend of food, drink and meaty madness.
Street Food Festival ZA (Johannesburg and Cape Town: Sept. 1–9)
Travelers to South Africa can add spice, fine foods, music and panel discussions by local chefs, writers, producers and entrepreneurs. The festival features a cornucopia of food trucks celebrating South Africa’s vibrant food culture. Local favorites include smoked brisket jaffles (a toasted sandwich), artisan ice cream, local wines and spirits. A toast to the beginning of your South African food experience.
Gouda Cheese Market (Gouda, Netherlands: April 5–Sept. 15)
It’s all gouda at the Gouda Cheese Market. This market brings a festival atmosphere for cheese lovers. Visitors will enjoy cheese specialty dishes from soup, croquettes, and fondue, while strolling through Gouda’s Fairy Tale City Hall built in 1668. Before you go be sure to practice your haggling skills as the farmers and traders of cheese and local produce are experts. Set aside some time for one of their cheesemaking and the history of cheese workshops.
Food and Words (Sydney: Sept. 15)
To cap off our tour of our favorite food festivals for 2018, a trip down under to Sydney’s Food and Words festival is a must. Blending an annual writing festival with food was a perfect pairing just waiting to happen. Classes include cooking, food writing and talks with chefs and authors. Food and Words blends tall tales with real world stories about food.