Music festivals are OK, but why settle for a burger from a van when you could have a world of delights dancing on your tongue? Food festivals are so much more rock ‘n roll. The only criteria should be a great setting, amazing food and adventure.
Like grub? You’ll love grubs!
Being careful is for namby-pamby people with pristine white carpets. You are daring, right? But are you ready for battered beetles, grasshoppers, eyeball eggnog, jellied brain or HuHu grubs? Or crispy coastal shark? If the thought makes you salivate and not vomit, then the Wildfoods Festival in Hokitika, New Zealand is for you. Held over three days in March, there are also entertainers and a best-dressed competition. You spend time in a Lord of the Rings landscape. What’s not to like? Even their website is delicious.
No animals are killed in this one
The Vegetarian Festival in Phuket in Thailand is five days of meatless delights. Held in Mid-October, this is so much more than food. It’s colour, Chinese opera and the terrifying spectacle of fire and knife walking. There will be a lot of people putting objects not only in their mouths but through their mouths. There will be blood. The island's Chinese population endures a nine-day diet to cleanse their souls, then stab themselves silly with knives and axes. Don’t forget your camera!
Open wide and say braai...
South Africa is known for its outdoorsy lifestyle. Most families cook outside and the braai is a national institution. At the Good Food and Wine Show, held in Cape Town, Durban and Gauteng - there is a gourmet celebration of all things South African, including outdoor cooking. It begins in Cape Town in May. Forget the cholesterol and indulge in pastry demonstrations, Lindt chocolate and of course, those famous wines.
Can't stand the heat…
…then go somewhere cool. How about Reykjavik in Iceland? Þorrablót, also known as the ‘Stinky Food Festival’ and dedicated to the God Thor, began in the late 1950s and runs from January to February. Are you a Viking at heart dreaming of rotten shark (hakari), boiled sheep’s head and rams’ testicles cured in lactic acid? Love wonderful Icelandic storytelling and music? This one is for you. That shark dish once made chef Gordon Ramsay vomit on TV – so there’s a challenge, right?
How to pull a mussel.
The idea for Ireland’s Connemara Mussel Festival festival began in a pub with a bucket of mussels, where a ‘fine feast’ was had. It is a relaxed and charming event but also includes many sea-themed activities like diving and angling. There is also fresh fish, dancing and the Mussel Walk along the Killary – with beautiful landscape and sweet air. It’s a joy.
So what are you waiting for? Time to don a bib, grab your passport and meet that rotten shark delicacy head on. You’ll be dining out for quite a while on that story.