20 Food Festivals Worth Traveling For in 2020
One of the greatest joys of travel is discovering different cultures through cuisine. And with an upswing of food festivals popping up around the world — often bringing together top chefs, renowned mixologists, beverage experts, and celebrities for extravagant multiday celebrations — there's never been a better time to take a trip solely for the food.
The best fests offer globe-trotting gastronomes an opportunity to broaden their horizons, experience local flavors, and connect with superstars of the culinary world — all while creating delicious memories along the way. And lucky for us, 2020 is full of amazing ones we want to attend. So mark your calendars, book those flights, and start planning your getaway to one (or more!) of these fantastic food destination events.
Set along the exquisite Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman, this annual festival brings together talented chefs, wine and spirit experts, and culinary influencers for five days of laid-back island fun. Hosted by acclaimed chef Eric Ripert, the Cayman Cookout includes an unforgettable lineup featuring José Andrés, Emeril Lagasse, and other cooking superstars and beachside bashes, boating excursions, extravagant tastings, and nonstop good times in paradise.
2020 Dates: Jan. 15-19
Charleston Wine + Food
With a vibrant culinary scene and Southern charm for days, the Holy City is an ideal place for a food-fueled getaway. In 2020, the milestone 15th installment of Charleston Wine + Food will champion the Lowcountry's rich food culture through five days of exceptional experiences. Expect an incredible lineup featuring top chefs, winemakers, artisans, and gourmands from around the globe; hands-on cooking classes and excursions; and exciting new additions like intimate dinners in local chefs' kitchens.
2020 Dates: March 4-8
New Orleans Wine & Food Experience
The Big Easy is famous for its legendary food, drinks, music, and lively atmosphere, so it's no surprise that its annual festival (the ultimate celebration of all these things) attracts thousands of culinary enthusiasts to the Louisiana city each Spring. Now in its 28th year, NOWFE festivities include parade-filled food crawls down Royal Street, fine-dining experiences in the French Quarter, and expert-led seminars, along with boatloads of live music.
2020 Dates: March 18-22
This relative newcomer to the food festival scene has quickly grown into a culinary experience worthy of a trip to Switzerland. Food Zurich features hundreds of innovative events, workshops, and tasting sessions highlighting the culinary richness of the Swiss city and beyond. Showcasing everything from street food to slow food to fine food, the fifth edition will include festivities at Zurich's hottest restaurants, as well as more surprising backdrops (think centuries-old castles), museums, and other countryside locations.
2020 Dates: May 7-17
Yo ♥ Mexico
This fun-filled fiesta pays homage to the diverse culture and culinary heritage of Mexico. Host chef Juan Pablo Loza, of the five-star luxury resort Rosewood Mayakoba, will host a roster of internationally celebrated chefs who will prepare signature dishes at indulgent gatherings throughout the weekend — from intimate events to lively beachfront parties under the stars. Guests of Yo ♥ Mexico can discover locally made delicacies and hand-crafted goods, as well as plenty of beer, wine, tequila, and mezcal.
2020 Dates: May 21-25
What sounds better than celebrating one of the world's most glorious foods (pizza, obviously) in the birthplace of the beloved dish? Every year, the lovely seaside promenade of Naples, Italy, transforms into a comfort-food paradise for 'za-lovers. The globe's most talented pizza masters will dish out more than 100,000 wood-fired, classic Italian, freestyle, and even gluten-free pies to enjoy until your heart's content. In between munching, Pizzafest features live concerts, cooking classes, workshops, contests, and lots of vino.
2020 Dates: May 29-June 7
Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
The nation's premier gastronomic festival welcomes the crème de la crème of the culinary world to Colorado's stunning mountain town for the 38th year in 2020. Attendees will join celebrity chefs, world-renowned winemakers, and epicurean insiders for one of the most spectacular weekends of Summer. The wonderfully indulgent Aspen soirée includes grand tastings, cooking demos, expert panel discussions, exclusive mountaintop parties, and so much more.
2020 Dates: June 19-21
Dragon Boat (Dumpling) Festival
The fifth day of the fifth month on the Lunar calendar is when many Chinese families worldwide feast on dumplings. Also known as Duanwu Festival, Hong Kong's Dragon Boat Festival is a 2,000-year-old celebration and day of worship for the patriotic poet Qu Yuan. The annual spectacle famously centers on ancient myths and thrilling boat races, with rowers paddling furiously to the beat of drums. Crowds will gather on riverbanks to cheer them on while drinking local wine and eating lots of zongzi, sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo or lotus leaves.
2020 Date: June 25
National Cherry Festival
Sweet and juicy Summer cherries are one of life's greatest simple pleasures. And this mid-Summer jubilee in Traverse City, MI, celebrates the red fruit in all its glory. The festival began in 1925 and now takes place in July to coincide with the cherry harvest season and Fourth of July holiday. The weeklong celebration in America's cherry capital includes pie-baking contests, pit-spitting competitions, and even a Grand Cherry Parade complete with a Cherry Queen crowning.
2020 Dates: July 4-11
Singapore Food Festival
It's no secret that Singaporeans love their food. And nowhere is this national obsession more evident than at the annual Singapore Food Festival. Every July, food-lovers from around the globe gather for a myriad of indulgent feasts and festivities, live music performances, and immersive culinary experiences. SFF's can't-miss signature event — STREAT — spotlights Singapore's legendary street food and hawker culture.
2020 Dates: July 17-24
Maine Lobster Festival
This five-day celebration of all things lobster brings seafood-lovers to Maine during the height of Summer for the ultimate lobster feast. In addition to classic boiled lobster, the tasty crustacean will be served up in a slew of dishes ranging from rolls and salads to dumplings and mac 'n' cheese. The 73rd annual festival will be held at Rockland's Harbor Park, and it's definitely worth cracking into.
2020 Dates: July 29-Aug. 2
Peruvians take their food very seriously, so it only makes sense that the country hosts Latin America's largest food festival: Mistura (which means "mixture" in Portuguese). Every September, Peruvian restaurants and world-famous chefs, along with thousands of natives and visitors, gather in Lima to proudly celebrate the culinary diversity of Peru. This colorful 10-day fiesta is a testimony to how deeply intertwined food is within the country's rich history and culture.
2020 Dates: September dates TBD
Music City Food + Wine Festival
Ya'll ready for a rockin' good time? Music City Food + Wine is one of the country's most dynamic festivals, and it just so happens to take place in one of our favorite cities. Taking over historic venues and outdoor spaces in downtown Nashville, the three-day jubilee boasts a fresh lineup of one-of-a-kind experiences, performances by award-winning musicians, tastings from culinary superstars and beverage experts hailing from the South and beyond, and plenty of honky-tonk fun.
2020 Dates: Sept. 20-22
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Held annually in March, the 10-day Melbourne Food and Wine Festival showcases the best gastronomic offerings from Australia's culinary capital and beyond. With more than 200 tantalizing events and workshops, there's something for everyone to sink their teeth into — from the "Welcome to the Jungle" plant-based party to themed neighborhood food crawls to a Sichuan Snack Fair featuring popular street food.
2020 Dates: March 19-29
Salon du Chocolat
Known as "the world's largest event dedicated to chocolate," this five-day fair in Paris is a little taste of heaven for cocoa-lovers. Salon du Chocolate brings 500 participants from 60 countries — including top pastry chefs and the biggest names in chocolate — to the French capital every Fall. The program is chock-full of workshops and demos, sculpture competitions, live performances, decadent tastings, and even a fashion show where models work the catwalk in chic choco fashions.
2020 Dates: Oct. 21-25
Barbados Food & Rum Festival
Often referred to as the "Culinary Capital of the Caribbean" and considered the birthplace of rum, it's no wonder that Barbados goes all out every October for its festive Food & Rum Festival. During the colorful culinary celebration in Bridgetown, attendees can sip the renowned elixir, sample fresh seafood and island delights, and dance in the sand along with local and visiting chefs and mixologists.
2020 Dates: October dates TBD
Raw Wine, Montreal
Taking place various times a year in different cities, Raw Wine showcases some of the best wine talent in the world. During the impressive Montreal edition, oenophiles flock to a gorgeous century-old church turned event space to sip their way through hundreds of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines while chatting with the growers and producers. And there's more: all across the province, esteemed restaurants and wine bars host special pairing events, grower takeovers, and winemaker dinners.
2020 Dates: October dates TBD
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
Fall escape to paradise? This year marks the 10th annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, which is slated to be better than ever. Taking place over three October weekends on multiple islands — Hawaii (Oct. 2-3), Maui (Oct. 15-17), and O'ahu (Oct. 21-25) — this premier epicurean extravaganza showcases the state's diverse culture through an exciting lineup of events, one-of-a-kind excursions, spectacular entertainment, and a superstar roster of culinary talent — all in a lush tropical setting.
2020 Dates: Oct. 2-25
Taste of Sbe
This series of star-studded events from hospitality group Sbe happens over Fall weekends across its Bahamas, Los Angeles, and Miami properties. Each glamorous soirée showcases Sbe's collection of luxury hotels and award-winning culinary concepts in one destination and features celebrity DJs and intimate live performances (Common, Bob Sinclar, and John Legend brought down the house in 2019).
2020 Dates: October/November dates TBD
The Grand Chef Stars
With its beautiful beaches and magnificent resorts, you probably don't need another reason to visit Cabo, but here's one anyway: The Grand Chef Stars. This annual celebration of cuisine invites Michelin-starred chefs from around the globe to collaborate with resident chefs from luxury resort Grand Velas Los Cabos. The result? An extraordinary weekend of dining that you won't want to miss.
2020 Dates: November dates TBD