la tomatina

Food is almost always used in human celebrations, but sometimes food is the reason to celebrate! Whether you like trying new ethnic foods, fine wines, garlic ice cream or worm milkshakes, there’s a food festival somewhere in the world calling your name. Here are ten of the best!

1. Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

Taking place on the wild west coast of New Zealand’s scenic South Island, this festival celebrates the weird side of food. Try dishes like wild snails, worm milkshakes, flower wine, huhu grubs and more.

Next event: March 9, 2013

http://www.wildfoods.co.nz/index.cfm/

2. The Taste

Sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, this delicious event features all-you-can-eat-and-drink passes for only $65. Taking place at Paramount Studios, this three-day festival boasts a huge collection of exhibitors: local restaurants, wineries, bakeries, brewing companies, distilleries and more.

Next event: September 1-3, 2012.

http://events.latimes.com/taste/

3. La Tomatina

This Spanish festival celebrates the humble red tomato with the biggest food fight on the planet (pictured above). Held in the town of Buñol, this insane party starts with a rush to climb a ham-topped greasy pole. Once the ham is grabbed, several truckloads of tomatoes drive into the city and the crowd goes wild throwing them at each other and creating a massive mess of marinara.

Next event: August 29, 2012.

http://www.latomatina.org/

4. Maine Lobster Fest

Held in the charming New England town of Rockland, the Maine Lobster Fest is a celebration of the crustacean that the state is known for. The event features live music, carnival rides and a floating lobster crate race. And oh yeah: lobster prepared in more ways that you could ever imagine.

Next event: August 2013

http://www.mainelobsterfestival.com/

5. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Australia’s cultural capital has hosted this 20-day festival for 20 years, a showcase of the continent’s culinary mastery through cooking demonstrations, special tours and food tastings throughout the city. Meet celebrity chefs and artisan food crafters, go to gala dinners and discover Down Under’s most fantastic flavors.

Next event: March 2013

http://www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au/

6. Aspen Food & Wine

Hosted by Food & Wine magazine, this ritzy food festival takes place each June and features a full weekend of cooking demonstrations and samples prepared by celebrity chefs.

Next event: June 14-16, 2013

http://www.foodandwine.com/classic

7. Gilroy Garlic Festival

One of the biggest food festivals in the United States, this pungent party in Gilroy, California celebrates the mighty aromatic known as garlic. Discover garlic cooking demonstrations, garlic braiding classes and a spectacular array of garlic-infused food, including garlic ice cream, garlic pop corn and garlic mussels.

Next event: July 2013

http://gilroygarlicfestival.com/

8. Cayman Cookout

As the Caribbean’s biggest culinary event, this food festival on Grand Cayman Island celebrates all the fantastic flavors of the islands – cooked outdoors in paradise. You’ll find cooking showcases by famous chefs, culinary tours of the island, catamaran cookouts and more.

Next event: January 17-20, 2013

http://www.caymanislands.ky/eventsoffers/caymancookout.aspx

9. Hatch Chile Festival

New Mexico’s Hatch Valley is known for its prolific production of spicy Hatch chiles, and these red firecrackers take center stage at this spicy celebration. Expect chile eating competitions, cook-offs, carnival rides and a huge assortment of spicy food to sample.

Next event: September 1 & 2, 2012

http://www.hatchchilefest.com/

10. The World Gourmet Summit

An epicurean event of magnificent proportions that is suited to the most discerning palates, this gourmet festival takes place in Singapore each year. Sample the most sought-after flavors in the world, from fine wines to ethnic specialties, and attend celebrity cooking demonstrations and workshops taught by master chefs.

Next event: April 2013

http://www.worldgourmetsummit.com/wgs2012/main.php

Image by RenoTahoe