Good Food Blog
Fabulous food festivalsPosted at 2:02PM, 12 August 2008 by Carol Wilson - Food writer
Every summer, hundreds of food festivals celebrating locally produced food and drink are in full swing throughout Britain. I love visiting food festivals, both here in the UK and whenever I travel abroad - whether I'm sampling local strawberries in glorious sunshine or tasting artisan cheese in a leaky tent as the rain teems down outside!
As you'd expect, France and Italy seem to be the food festival capitals
The rest of Europe also celebrates local produce with food festivals. As you'd expect, France and Italy seem to be the food festival capitals, with fairs and festivals galore associated with almost every food you can think of - garlic, goats' cheese, pasta, cherries, honey, sea urchins, snails - even fried fish; whatever the food, it's sure to have a festival somewhere! Along with the particular food and other regional produce, there are usually colourful parades, music and artisan crafts on offer, and larger festivals also feature exhibitions and markets.
In France, summer food festivals include the Carrot Festival in the small town of Créances in Normandy, when the local farming community celebrates with a market, food stalls and music. The four-day Melon Festival in Cavaillon includes tastings and tours and culminates in a contest to find the best melon. Carnivores will enjoy the Fête du Charolais in Saulieu, Burgundy, a three-day beef festival. If seafood is more to your taste, don't miss the Fête des Huitres (Oyster Festival) in Bouzigues in the Hérault, which is famous for its splendid oysters. Anyone with a sweet tooth will enjoy the the Fête du Sucre in Erstein, Alsace, where sugar in all its forms is celebrated.
Italians love festivals and there are plenty to choose from - Naples, the home of the pizza, holds a ten-day Pizza Festival, where the mouth-watering aroma of freshly cooked margheritas, quattro stagioni and calzone suffuses the air. Correzzo holds the Sagra del tortello e del raviolo (Ravioli Festival) and the Sagra Della Rana (Frog Festival) in Sartirana Lomellina in Lombardy (frog is a delicacy there) is the place to sample stewed frog and frog's liver.
If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, head to Spain to La Tomatina (Tomato Festival) in Buñol, near Valencia, on the last Wednesday in August. The focal point of the festival is the tomato fight which takes place between 11am and 1pm, although the revels start earlier in the week. Make sure you take a change of clothes! Less messy is La Pourcailhade, (Pig Festival) in Trie sur Baïse (once France's largest pig market) in mid August. Apart from the feast of pork products, the main attraction is the pig squealing competition, where contestants compete to imitate pigs' squeals!
Have you come across any unusual food festivals?