Travel for food is perhaps an evolving trend – with more and more people travelling to experiment with cuisines that their palates aren’t acquainted with. From a burst of flavours to the subtlety that requires a bit of acquiring – each destination you visit has a plate to offer that’s hard to preempt.

While restaurants world over are mushrooming and competing to let you have a piece of their pie, truth be told, the taste can never be the same. And if you happen to be that foodie, who’d do what it takes to get that true authentic flavour on your plate, read on to know about the top food festivals around the world and get planning.

1. Giant Omelette Celebration, Bessières, France

 

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The people of the town of Bessières certainly believe in eating their breakfast like kings. Each year around Easter, the townsfolk gather to fry a gargantuan omelette in the square. Legend has it that Napoleon was once passing through this town when he had a flavourful omelette and fell in love with it. He is said to have immediately ordered a giant one to be made for his hungry troops. It’s the same tradition that continues to date led by a group called the ‘Brotherhood of the Omelette’ (idk what?).

A festival that challenges hyperboles, it makes for a bizarre sight. Thousands of eggs are shelled, a huge fire is lit, and the yolks are thrown in on a giant pan. The delightful yellow mix is churned with large wooden ladles and cooked to perfection, making for an eggcellent feast! Expect to see dances, parades, and people dressed as chickens who know not to cross the road.

Ithaka’s Pro Tip: The Brotherhood’s omelette party has also spread to Pique in Argentina, Abbeville in Louisiana, and Malmedy in Belgium. We recommend you check the dates for these events, as not all are held during Easter.

2. Pizzafest, Naples, Italy

 

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Who doesn’t love a good pizza with sauce and mozzarella oozing through (Read: a party in your mouth). If you’re a fan, then come September head straight to Naples, the birthplace of this delicious invention. People from all across the world compete to win the title of the best pizzaiolo chef.

For the spectators, it’s an eleven-day shindig where you get to gorge on mouth-watering pizzas or learn the art of kneading dough, to make that perfectly round pizza. You’ll also come across people performing pizza acrobatics where pizza bases are skillfully tossed in the air for a trophy!

Ithaka’s Pro Tip: Don’t forget to taste the classic staples like Marinara or Margherita pizzas!

3. National Cherry Festival, Traverse, Michigan

 

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Enter the city of Traverse in July and you’ll see it painted bright red, thanks to the gorgeousness of ripe cherries! Beautiful parades with marching bands serve as an ode to this crimson fruit. It’s practically a summer trend to see fat-cherry-tree-floats with the queen waving at the crowds here!

Stroll through farmers markets or explore stalls to get a taste of everything cherry – from fresh cherry jams, cherry wines, cherry pancakes, and all kinds of desserts stuffed with juicy cherries. The cherry on the cake is perhaps the pie-eating contest, where you get to feast on the cherry goodness. Your palms and mouth smeared with cherry sauce sure leave a sweet aftertaste, even if you lose. 

4. Salon du Chocolat, Paris

 

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Started in Paris, Salon du Chocolat is a rich, creamy, chocolatey heaven that is held at different parts of the world each year. Crunchy cocoa bars, velvety pastries, gooey chocolate balls, all await to be plonked in your mouth. To top it all, there’s also a chocolate fountain – stretch that arm to get a spoonful of whipped chocolate that’s sure to send you into a choco-coma.

Chefs come here to illustrate their crafts, while others can come to try and make some chocolate. Want more? There’s a fashion show with models walking the ramp in dresses spun out of rich chocolate. An extravaganza, a visit here is bound to make you feel like Charlie in a chocolate factory. 

Ithaka’s Pro Tip: Buzz is that the festival will be next held in Seoul, South Korea in January 2020.

5. Maslenitsa Pancake Festival, Russia

 

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A 7-day pancake week, this is a festival held in the last week of February to welcome summer. The star of the show are blinis – a thin round buttery pancake that look like crepes. This round delicacy symbolises the sun, and the Russians consume these in copious amounts – to stock up on energy and warmth before it’s time for Lent (a 40-day fast from meat and festivities till Easter). 

There are huge feasts, where delicious blinis are served with jam, butter, fruit, and beer. Besides the food, you will see flashes of colour amid the retreating snow, where people dance in vivid costumes. They play about in the snow, indulge in ice skating, and meet their relatives, burying negative thoughts and saying goodbye to the long winter. On the last day, they burn the Maslenitsa mascot – a straw doll, dressed in an elaborate costume with a pancake in hand, bringing the end of winter.

6. Poutine Festival, Ottawa, Canada

 

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What’s a Poutine? It’s not Russian, we promise! Poutine is nothing but crispy french fries and cheese curds, all topped with a generous amount of chicken gravy. Invented in Canada, this is a dish that lets you be as creative as you can get. And the best way to experience this, is at the 4-day Poutine festival, where you get to wolf down Poutines prepared by food trucks from around the world.

The festival offers innumerable choices to tickle your taste buds. Poutines are tossed with delicious meats like bacon, lobsters, shrimp, or turkey and sprinkled with fresh veggies, creamy ranch sauces, and lots of cheese. If you’re a happy glutton, don’t forget to try your luck at the Poutine eating contest.

So, is it gonna be fries or the Pizza? Or the cherry overload? Whatever it is, we hope you find your bae in food. When we taste a morsel of local food, we become one with that culture, perhaps only for a moment. So savour it.