From truffle hunting to seeking out the finest vegan fare
Whether you’ve got a sweet tooth, fancy straight-from-the-sea shellfish or like your food festival with a side of live music, next year is shaping up to be an epicurean extravaganza. From the ‘Big Apple’ to tiny Italian villages, here’s where to travel for the finest foodie events of 2019.
FOR MICHELIN STAR QUALITY…
When they're not busy running renowned restaurants, a handful of the UK's celebrity chefs are launching food festivals. Tom Kerridge is set to continue his much-loved summertime Pub in the Park tour, following the success of the inaugural events in 2018, with events across the UK, including Marlow and Bath. Expect to be able to sample small plates from his Michelin-starred chef friends and dance as the sun goes down to musical blasts from the past.
Mark Hix's Food Rocks festival in September showcases the freshest seafood in Dorset and across the South West, with supper clubs and chef demos. While Alex James brings his own brand of festival fever and irresistible Cheese Hub to the Cotswolds with the Big Feastival. Perfect for families, there are street food stalls, circus-inspired fun and storytelling for children, and a Glastonbury-worthy music stage.
Stay at Danesfield House Hotel & Spa for Marlow's Pub in the Park or The Franklin to be on the right side of London for the Chiswick edition. If the bell tents at The Big Feastival don't set your campfire alight, there's nowhere quite like family-pitched and foodie favourite, The Fish Hotel.
FOR THOSE WITH A SWEET TOOTH…
In autumn, leaves turn crisp and Paris takes on a golden glow, making this is the perfect time of year for the city's annual (and the world's biggest) celebration of chocolate. Beginning on October 30th, Salon du Chocolat draws together 200 pastry chefs and chocolatiers from 60 countries. Expect live demos, workshops for children through to connoisseurs, celebrity book signings and incredible sculptures crafted from chocolate. 2019 will even feature a chocolate catwalk show.
For sweet dreams, check into Grand Powers. This boutique retreat's glamorous roots stretch back to the 1920s and Paris' must-visit sites are almost all within strolling distance.
FOR TREASURE HUNTERS…
While some cherish diamonds and others prize pearls, in Italy there's another treasure that locals seek out each year. The white truffle, one of the world's most deliciously distinctive flavours, sees huge crowds come to some of the tiniest towns in Italy each October and November – a short window in which to find this rare jewel.
The main event is arguably Fiera Internazionale Tartufo Bianco d'Alba, in the wooded hills of Langhe. The air is infused with the unmistakable musky scent of truffles as chefs put this precious ingredient centre stage in cooking shows, experts present 'Sensory Analysis' events, and a busy market hall offers every kind of truffle product imaginable. Paired with regional Barbaresco wine tastings, and the traditional medieval parade and Donkey Palio, this is a cultural celebration with a uniquely local flavour.
Down in the southern hemisphere, Australia hosts its own brand of truffle fiesta. The weekend-long Truffle Kerfuffle in black truffle-rich Manjimup shines a spotlight on its farmers and foragers. Attendees can hunt, cook and taste the prized produce at this back-to-nature event.
Perfectly placed Relais Villa D'Amelia is just minutes from Alba – a contemporary country retreat tucked into the beautiful hills of Piedmont. On the flip side of the world, Margaret River is just 90 minutes from Manjimup, and where you'll find gastronomic gem Smiths Beach Resort.
FOR LIFE ON THE VEG…
With more and more people choosing veganism, a delicious selection of festivals dedicated to plant-based eating have popped up. If you're planning a North American adventure in 2019, Houston, Chicago, Toronto and New York are all set to play host to Vegandale Food Drink Festival. While on the west coast, Los Angeles' Vegan Street Fair lets you buy bite-size dishes from its creative cooks – perfect for sampling a little or a lot. And the city's Eat Drink Vegan is as much about tasty drinks as fine food. In Europe, Vegan Foodie Festival is a twin-centre affair – choose tickets for either Dublin or Amsterdam.
In the 'Big Apple', new kid on the block The Frederick Hotel is ideal for east-coast festivals.