The US has innumerable food festivals around the country, some featuring regional cuisines while others focus on specific samplings from local restaurants or even a type of food. Either way, at American food festivals there is plenty to eat and drink in any part of the country during almost any time of the year. Here are just a few of the best and unique food festivals the US has to offer.
No. 1 Taste of Chicago
Undeniably one of Chicago’s best festivals of the year, the Taste of Chicago brings over 65 restaurants to Grant Park, the city’s lakefront park. The event has been hosted each year since 1980, highlighting some of the best food the Windy City has to offer. More than just a food festival, the Taste also serves up great musical performances to enjoy along with the tasty treats. The event takes place each summer in July and is free to enter, but you have to buy tickets to sample the amazing food offerings.
- Must Try – Robinson’s #1 Ribs. Even if you can’t make the Taste, it’s worth a visit to this BBQ mainstay just west of downtown on I-290 to Oak Park for a sample of the subtle yet slightly spicy BBQ sauce with which they coat their mouth watering ribs.
No . 2 South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Every February Miami welcomes the South Beach Wine and Food Festival; a 4 day festival that brings together the best wines and culinary experiences from around the world. The event benefits Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and has raised over $20 million for the school. Though it takes place during the end of the winter season, Florida’s warm climate promises the perfect weather for this outdoor event.
- Must Try – Wine seminars. Some of the top wine experts in the country descend on South Florida not only to share some of the world’s best wines, but to teach novices more about the vintages. Use this as a great opportunity to increase your wine knowledge and impress friends at your next dinner.
Photo by Landlopers.com
No.3 New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
For a similar event just a few states west and a few months later in the year, head to the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience held in May. For over 20 years this event has provided the Big Easy with cuisine from local restaurants and wine tastings from wineries both local and from around the globe. You can also learn more details about the wine you’re sipping by participating in one of the many seminars hosted during this annual event. Stay in the French Quarter or Warehouse/Arts District with 18th-19th century architecture to add to the cultural experience.
- Must Try – Po Boy. One of my favorites bites in New Orleans is the classic Po Boy. As simple as it sounds, it’s a sandwich with your choice of meat or seafood served on baguette-like New Orleans French bread, known for its crisp crust and fluffy center. While at the festival see how many reinterpretations you can find!
Photo by smoorenburg CC BY
No. 4 Portland Eat Mobile Festival
For a street food scene in the northwest of the United States, head to Portland, Oregon’s Eat Mobile Festival. Described as half food festival, half food cart competition, this event will be in its eighth year in 2015 and features over 400 food carts. General admission for this one-day event is $30, which covers the cost of food samples. For a more catered experience, VIP tickets are sold at $50 each and allow early entrance into the event to beat the crowds and sample from a more curated menu. For a true Portland experience, rent a bike to get to the event in local style. The city is very bike friendly and the festival naturally has ample bike parking. Portlandia at its best!
- Must Try – Taste of Fiji truck. For a taste of the South Pacific in the Pacific Northwest, look no further than Taste of Fiji. Specializing in Fijian curries and other island cuisine, they also serve up a mean bubble tea – perfect to cool down a spicy meal.
What’s your favorite food festival in the US?