World's Top Fall Food Festivals
Truffles in Italy, oysters in Ireland, and hand-crafted brews from the American South. Get a taste of autumn no matter where you are in the world.
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.
Since 2010, TerraVita Food & Drink has been fostering the American South's sustainable food scene, inviting biodynamic wineries, bean to bar chocolate purveyors, and master chefs from the region to Chapel Hill. This year, the three-day-long fest will start with a Culinary Kick-Off Panel featuring luminaries such as Tasting Table's Kat Kinsman. Enormous feasts (including a new Hill Fire barbecue), two after-parties, a grand-tasting on the green, and the signature Sustainable Classroom (culinary workshops, tastings, demonstrations, and discussions) are best experienced by purchasing The Whole Shebang: a pass for six events and five classes. October 8-10.
Fans of the bivalve rejoice at the historic Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, held annually on the last weekend of September since 1954. Sixty-one years later, the Oyster Opening Championship will kick off the festivities at the Festival Marquee Galway City Centre. The event continues with oyster tastings, a silent disco "for grown-ups," and chef demonstrations. September 25-27.
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, 70,000 incense sticks, and elaborate lantern displays. September 26-28.
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 a Medieval-style donkey race, and a beauty pageant,Bela Trifulera. Watch the invite-only Truffle Auction to see connoisseurs spend tens of thousands on the rare fungus: last year, a pair of truffles sold for $125,000.October 10-November 15.
For the second year in a row, Californians are celebrating—what else? The OC's greatest restaurants and sipping more than 200 wines from the region's best wineries. Celeb chefs Rick Bayless and Hubert Keller will be on-hand to sign books, while mixologist Tricia Carr will be teaching guests how to craft their perfect cocktail.October 2-4
Can't make it to one of the world's coolest fall festivals? Head to DisneyWorld's Epcot for a global culinary extravaganza that is now a destination in its own right. This year, Japanese craft beer samplings and a burger block party have been added to the lineup, which includes tastings of food from around the world, culinary demonstrations, seminars, and a pantheon of celebrity chefs: Robert Irvine, Alex Guarnaschelli, Andrew Zimmern, and Cat Cora. September 25-November 16
Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.