Rockland is a bustling town in the U.S. State of Maine, where every summer the streets fill with locals and visitors to celebrate the region’s most coveted delicacy: Maine lobster. There is a 10k race, a parade and a pageant to crown Maine’s Sea Goddess. This yearly event brings more than 70,000 lobster lovers to this quaint New England corner.
Date: August 2-3.
International White Truffle Fair
The village of Alba, in Italy’s Piedmont region, is at the center of the international commerce of white truffles. The expensive delicacy can reach exorbitant prices up to $300,000 for 1.5 kg. Known as the diamonds of the kitchen, tartufi bianchi from Alba are in great demand by the world’s most exclusive restaurants for their organoleptic properties and intense flavor. The town’s historic center hosts a program of related events, such as the nights of white truffle, awards to the best products, music and choral concerts, parades and galas, among others.
Date: the four last weekends of the month of October and the first two of November.
Laruns Cheese Fair
Laruns is a French village in the Aquitaine region at the foothills of the Pyrenees. The area hosts one of Europe’s finest cheese fairs. The village dresses up for the occasion, which celebrates regional cheeses. Town folk wear period costumes to recreate a medieval market from the time of King Henry IV. The event culminates with the selection of the best cheeses from the Ossau Valley.
Date: first weekend of October
The Oyster Festival
Considered one of the 12 greatest shows on earth by The Sunday Times, the International Oyster Festival, held annually in the Irish city of Galway, brings together locals and visitors from all corners of the world. The beginning of the oyster season is celebrated with a weekend of contests, tournaments, tastings, formal dinners and all kinds of activities featuring the delicious mollusks as protagonists. A total of 10,000 oysters are consumed during the weekend, paired with white wine or preferably with Guinness Black Lager, the event’s main sponsor.
Date: last weekend of September.
Beer is the main attraction during Oktoberfest, perhaps the most famous gastronomic event in the world. Although celebrated the world over, the original event takes place in Munich, Germany, which holds the record for most visitors, approximately 6 million every year. The center of the action is Theresienwiese, a park known as Therese´s meadow. Since the star of the festival is the beer produced within city limits, Munich sells 30% of its beer production during the two weeks of festivities.
Date: starts the first Saturday after September 15 and ends 16 days later.
This most unusual event is held every year in the Valencian town of Buñol in Spain, but has grown to international fame in recent years. Around 20,000 men and women gather at the town square for a massive tomato fight, which lasts only for one hour. Participants must crush the more than 150,000 ripe tomatoes before throwing them at each other to avoid bodily harm. A brigade of fire trucks is responsible for cleaning the resulting river of tomato juice, a site to behold.
Date: last Wednesday in August.
This annual event takes place in Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester, England, since 1884. From the top of the hill a 7 lb round Double Gloucester cheese is dropped. Competitors run after it, and the person who catches the cheese, or the first to cross the finish line wins the prize. Falls and injuries are common given the large number of participants. The level of inebriation while running down the steep hill also contributes to accidents.
Date: last Monday in May.
Gastronomic Festival of Edible Insects
For the more adventurous gourmands, the city of Morelia, in the Mexican State of Michoacán, hosts an annual event to celebrate traditional entomo-cuisine. In plain English: a banquet featuring worms, ants, bee larvae, beetles, scorpions and forest cockroaches. The more than 25 dishes elaborated with edible insects are prepared in high culinary style: cockroaches stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, fried ants in hot sauce, or fried scorpions with tomato and basil sauce are some of the most celebrated dishes.
Date: second weekend in November.
Christmas Food Festival
After decades of secular dictatorship, Moscow has evolved as a hotbed of millionaires and billionaires. The new purchasing power of the recent years has brought to the Russian capital one of the most exclusive gastronomic events in the world. It features more than 80 stands with the most select cuisine, the finest spirits and most expensive wines in the world, and who could forget the always coveted Russian caviar.
Date: from December 20 until the end of the month. ■