My name is Kerry and I’m a food festivals addict. Just mention these words — chef demonstrations, producer stands or food trail — and I’m hitting the road.
I can see my partner’s shoulders sag every time I talk about my long list of food festivals. It’s my wish list for when my luck finally comes in and I take off to follow my dreams.
At the top is a food festival that combines oysters and Ireland. I get a little shiver even saying both words in one sentence. The Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival runs from 24 to 27 September — and I’m probably not going to be there, sigh.
Here’s a list of five food festivals that are worth adding to your list this year.
Chinchilla Watermelon Festival, February 12 to 15, Chinchilla
Get your skates on if you want to be part of the festival fun this year as it’s only a week away. Make sure you take clothes to get messy in if you are intending to involve yourself in watermelon skiing, try the watermelon bungy and watermelon bullseye or wear watermelon in weird and wonderful ways. There are markets that stretch over several streets and a huge street parade with inventive floats, great vintage cars and shows of local machinery power. Chinchilla is about 300 kilometres west of Brisbane which is about three and a half hours driving time.
Madrid Fusion Manila, April 24 to 26, Philippines
Spain and the Philippines combine in Manila for this festival celebrating 300 years of shared history. Madrid Fusión Manila is an opportunity for chefs, food aficionados and food and beverage company professionals to come together, learn new things and share their talent, expertise, as well as products with the market with the International Gastronomy Congress and Flavours of the Philippines Festival. The Flavours of the Philippines Festival runs for the whole of April and includes a tapas festival, roving food trucks, bar crawls and food tours.
Noosa International Food & Wine Festival, May 14 to 17, Queensland
There’s a wild food dinner and a 1970s Beach Party BBQ & Clam Bake on Noosa’s Main Beach, a seafood trail in the Mooloolah River, a farm experience and more internationally renowned chefs and wine buffs than ever before. This is a foodies dream as you mix it up with the big names in the culinary world while you wander the festival and the streets of Noosa. There’s also the chance to spend time in Noosa, which is wonderful in itself. One of my favourite festivals.
Port Douglas Carnivale, May 22 to 31, Port Douglas
There’s a feast of food options at this community carnivale which celebrates everything that makes this tropical part of north Queensland special. Expect long lunches and degustation dinners, a seafood extravaganza and a street parade packed full of colourful floats.
Margaret River Gourmet Escape, November 20 to 22, Western Australia
Set in the picturesque Margaret River, the Gourmet Escape is a combination of a Gourmet Village culinary hub and multiple extraordinary satellite events around the region. Expect harvest-to-table dinners, gourmet food trivia, farm foraging, gourmet beach barbecues and wine dinners. An unforgettable food experience.
Are you adding these festivals to your wish list for 2015?