Meticulously planned itineraries typically include visits to restaurants and bars. Feel free to congratulate yourself, though, when your trip coincides with an upbeat food festival. While some of the world’s high-visibility fêtes might already be familiar to you, many lesser-known events are also worth exploring.
From savouring fresh oysters in Toronto to dining on the grounds of Prague’s majestic castle to enjoying the nuances of peanut-fuelled Indonesian cooking, here are 10 under-the-radar culinary bashes that illuminate their locales through a cultural lens.
Winter in Florida is seductive enough, but one good excuse to savour the mild weather in December is the Palm Beach Food and Wine Festival. This popular culinary event attracts powerhouse chefs like Daniel Boulud, Ken Oringer and the Sunshine State’s own Michelle Bernstein to a number of local venues, including Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach. Beyond the capstone Grand Tasting, buoyed by book signings and the sounds of a DJ, there are multi-course dinners revolving around themes such as sustainable seafood and Southern cuisine.
Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
Colombia’s capital has emerged as a centre of South American gastronomy. Highlighting its rapid ascent is the Bogotá Wine & Food Festival, held in April at multiple Bogotá venues not far from Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá and Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogotá. Recent festivals have included renowned local chefs such as Harry Sasson and Mila Vargas, and international culinary experts such as California’s David Kinch and Nicolas Masse of France. Partake in their cooking classes, and then unwind with events like a French-inspired dinner or a showcase of stellar regional meats.
Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogota
Since 1987, Rodney’s Oyster House has been a Toronto institution, turning out garlic shrimp, lobster rolls and of course its shucked-to-order specialty. It’s an apt venue for the Ontario Oyster Festival in July, just 15 minutes by car from Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. Along with a robust selection of bivalves to taste, live music and a spirited shucking competition maintain the cheery, casual vibe.
Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
Stately Geneva struts its more casual side at Le Geneva Street Food Festival, an animated mix of stalls and trucks held each spring and fall on the Promenade-de-Sante-Antoine, minutes from Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva. Survey the scene for choice morsels such as bulgogi, flaky beef-and–Pinot Noir pies, and Punjabi snacks, then enjoy your finds at a picnic table amid the trees. Health-conscious diners, rejoice: There are tapioca calzones and cold-pressed organic juices to counter that banana cake.
Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues Geneva
Chef Fest, Hawaii
An intimate group of chefs like Jessica Koslow, George Mendes and Ludo Lefebvre descend upon the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in November, on Hawaii’s Big Island, for Chef Fest. Interactive cooking classes with such experts are the main draw, but beach cookouts, al fresco tastings where local farmers make cameos, and pre-brunch paddleboarding excursions further enhance the tropical surroundings.
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai
Held each fall at the Porte de Versailles expo centre about 15 minutes from Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris, Salon du Chocolat is one of several such shows around the world – but this one’s in Paris, a city famous for its sophisticated chocolate confections. The ganache and éclairs here are enough to exhilarate any chocophile, but the centrepiece is the Salon’s unusual fashion show: Designers and chocolatiers collaborate on haute-couture outfits embellished with or delicately spun from chocolate.
Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Chances are a visit to Prague will lead to its majestic castle, a ninth-century marvel that is home to St Vitus Cathedral and the Renaissance-era Royal Garden. Here, just across the Vltava River from Four Seasons Hotel Prague, the Prague Food Festival unfolds each May. Don’t pass up a chance to consume the best dishes of Czech chefs – steak tartare and lamb ragout with bread dumplings, or perhaps sushi or empanadas – with the added zest of a most majestic dining spot.
Four Seasons Hotel Prague
Verdant Centennial Park, minutes from Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, is the site of Taste of Sydney, held in March in partnership with Electrolux. (There are also events in Perth and Melbourne.) More than 60 dishes from notable Sydney chefs like Frank Camorra and Nelly Robinson claim the spotlight. Sample barbecued octopus, shrimp toast okonomiyaki and lamb skewers, then retreat from the hubbub with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills.
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
The Dubai Food Festival in February and March reflects the city’s diversity, attracting chefs like Jun Tanaka, Nikita Gandhi and Tim Read. Throughout the gustatory celebration, at various locations near Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre, local restaurants roll out limited-edition menus that emphasize standout dishes. Sit down in one of their dramatic dining rooms, or head to the Ibn Battuta Mall for a cooking demo. You may discover how sea bass gets the Mediterranean treatment, courtesy of pomegranate.
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
From tofu to turmeric, the Ubud Food Festival – sister event to the Ubud Writers & Readers and Bali Emerging Voices festivals – puts Indonesia’s vast culinary landscape front and centre each May. Learn how to make the healing herbal drink jamu, take a sourdough bread–making class with Chef Duncan McCance and draw a deep breath at a fiery sambal cook-off. Read the story of the woman who adopted Bali as her home and launched this annual festival, minutes from Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan
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