Foodie fans, rejoice! This summer, your love of food will be rewarded should you choose to attend one of several American food festivals. Food festivals are a fantastic way to get to know new foods, meet like-minded food fans and travel to new places. Which is why we've decided to spotlight five fantastic food festivals that are on this summer in five different American cities.
Pick your favorite, book your ticket, and start getting hungry!
1. Taste of Little Italy, San Diego
This June, travel to San Diego, a notable culinary hub, for a taste of Italy in the city's Little Italy neighborhood. Tickets to the festival, which takes place on Wednesday, June 17th from 5pm-9pm, include a Taste Passport, mapping out the participating restaurants, including 98 Bottles, Bencotto, Monello, Caffé Italia, CookBook Tavola Calda, Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Ironside, James Coffee Co., each of which will open their doors to visitors and give them a taste of their menu.
Unlike many other food festivals, this one takes place within restaurants themselves; there are no street closures or long lines at street booths. Restaurants prepare their tastes in their own kitchens, granting you the opportunity to taste the best of what they have to offer.
Each diner chooses his or her own passport from three choices. For those who are a bit daunted by the 30 participating restaurants and over 40 block radius, choose the south route or the north route, each with over a dozen different restaurants offering samples in exchange for a stamp in your passport. The combined route, at $45 instead of $30, allows you to taste at all 30 restaurants! Live music and public art installations add to the allure of this west coast festival.
2. Salem Willows Seafood Festival
There's perhaps nowhere better to sample all sorts of seafood than in New England, which is why the Salem Willows Seafood Festival makes our list. This festival, which takes place from July 11th to 13th, features top North Shore seafood restaurants for tastings, events and more. A lobster roll eating competition, fireworks display and chef demonstrations are all on the menu -- as well as chowder, fried clams and more!
This is also an ideal festival to attend with kids, as there will be special events proposed just for little ones, including face painting and crafts. Entry is 5 dollars for adults; kids under 10 get in for free.
3. Taste of Chicago
Taste everything that Chicago has to offer with the Taste of Chicago festival, a premier food festival with 30 years of history taking place this year from July 8th-12th in Grant Park.
Taste of Chicago is a festival that highlights local food and music, with a fantastic lineup and free admission to peruse the different stands in search of your next taste. Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 12 tickets for $8.50, which can be exchanged for food and beverages at different stands. You can also opt for a $45 high-end, three-course meal.
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While different vendors attend every year, some notable favorites from the past have included Jerk Chicken, Carbon's tacos and even a vendor selling alligator!
4. Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival
Where better to sample local cheese than in one of the American capitals of cheddar, with the highest number of cheesemakers per capita: Vermont. The Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival will be taking place in Shelburne on July 19th. The festival welcomes cheese lovers and cheese artisans to sample local products on the shores of Lake Champlain.
This festival is great for those who don't only want to taste, but also want to learn about local foods. Workshops and demonstrations at this year's event will include cheesemaking and cooking demos with local artisans. Your $50 ticket includes all sorts of meet and greets as well as tons of free samples. You can also purchase local products directly from the producers on-site. Find out even more about other iterations of this festival from previous years with this review of the festival.
5. Bastille Day in New Orleans
It would be hard to imagine a food festival roundup without New Orleans -- a capital of both food and festivities! This summer, check out the New Orleans Bastille Day celebration, which takes place every year on the Saturday closest to July 14th. The festival itself boasts costumes, games like pétanque, a mime showand live music as well as a host of French foods to nibble on.
Food fans can not only take cooking classes in a variety of French regional cuisines in the days leading up to the festival, but they can also sample French foods from local vendors like crêpes, cheese, madeleines and more.
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