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World's Top Fall Food Festivals


Come fall, people around the world will be celebrating the season’s bounty with food festivals. Lots of them. While New Englanders gather to taste the best artisanal ciders, coastal communities feast on fresh seafood. In California, it's time to sip wine. Whether you're craving a foodie getaway or are simply in the right place at the right time, these are five of fall’s top food festivals.

CALIFORNIA: Flavor! Napa Valley
This November, join the Culinary Institute of America and the region's top vineyards for a week of wine and food tastings. Culinary superstars Michael Chiarello, Todd English, and Andrea Robinson will be at the helm of vine-to-table signature dinners and hands-on demonstrations. Learn to make your own cheese, and to note a wine's distinct terroir while blindfolded. November 19-23. 

ITALY: White Truffle Festival of Alba
For more than a month, the small town of Alba, in Piedmont, swells with locals and visitors drawn to the region by the earthy aroma of white truffles. On weekends, peruse the dynamic harvest at the World Market, sniffing out the best tartufi in the world. Cooking demonstrations and wine pairings are accented by jazz performances and a beauty pageant. Watch the invite-only Truffle Auction to see connoisseurs spend more than $130,000 on the best truffles. October 11-November 16.

PERU: Mistura
This year, the theme of the largest food festival in South America is Biodiversity and Nutrition. At the bustling Grand Market in Lima, restaurants, artisans, and mobile food trucks set up shop to provide visitors with an authentic taste of Latin cuisine. Half a million people are expected to attend the festival this year, participating in ten days of wine tastings and cooking demonstrations. September 5-14. 

IRELAND: Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival
Fans of the bivalve rejoice at the historic Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, held annually on the last weekend of September since 1954. Sixty years later, the Oyster Opening Championship will kick off the festivities beneath the Spanish Arch. The event continues with oyster tastings, live music, and a colorful parade. September 25-28. 

CHINA: Mid-Autumn Festival
While not exclusively dedicated to food, this country-wide commemoration of the season's harvest can't be missed. Families pray for a plentiful new year with round fruits, and bake sweet, lotus seed moon cakes. Head to Hong Kong's Victoria Park for the main attractions: A traditional fire dragon dance featuring more than 300 performers, and elaborate lantern displays. September 7-9. 

Melanie Lieberman is an editorial product assistant at Travel + Leisure. 

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto


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