Food gets much love from all over the world come September as many countries hold festivals celebrating their affinity for it. From blueberries, barbecue and beer, to the bountiful fare found in Brussels, Bruges and Bicol, people are pulling out all the stops to celebrate humble produce and national specialties. Some of them may have postponed their annual festivities this year, but that only makes us look forward even more to the one set the following year.
Chinese Moon Festival
It’s the counterpart of Thanksgiving for many Chinese families. Also known as the Mooncake Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival, this occasion is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. Typically, they celebrate by gathering over a meal, admiring the full moon, exchanging mooncakes, and lighting paper lanterns.
Singapore Food Festival
Now in its 28th edition, the Singapore Food Festival usually has the country celebrating food via different gastronomic experiences such as street parties and chef collaborations. Because of the pandemic, it has taken on a digital format. There will be more than a dozen live masterclasses with some of Singapore’s culinary experts, as well as a virtual tour of some of the island’s food neighborhoods such as Little India.
Bicol Food Festival
A relatively young festival, this festivity celebrates what Bicol has to offer food-wise. It aims to champions their most popular dishes such as pinangat and laing (variations of gabi leaves in coconut of a particular age) and inolokan or tinolmok (a mixture of freshwater crab and the meat of young coconuts, spiced and wrapped in gabi or tender squash leaves, gently simmered in coconut oil). This year, the local government unit decided to postpone it for public safety.
Brandon Cranberry Festival
On the south side of Oregon, the community at Bandon celebrates one of their most beloved produce, the bright and tart cranberry. The schedule of activities usually include a food fair, a parade, quilt show and eating competitions. Visitors can also expect a cranberry-counting tête-à-tête and a chance to pet cows and perhaps, even milk them.
Redwood Salsa Festival
Towards the end of the month, Redwood City in California celebrates salsa—yes, both the dance and the edible kind. There are delegated venues for dancing as well as a stage for the salsa tasting competition, joined by amateur and professional chefs, and judged by the public.
Also in the lineup are tequila tastings and hands-on art projects. Due to state regulations, this year’s festival is postponed.
Shrimp and Grits Festival
For the citizens of Jekyll Island in the state of Georgia, eating shrimp without grits is a crime. The two just go together. In fact, they even celebrate the marriage of both items come September through a roster of events such as an amateur cook-off where an amateur cook is paired with a professional chef. Guests also get the opportunity to attend shrimp bout tours and join the much anticipated peel-and-eat competitions.
On the first weekend of the month, chefs and foodies gather at Tobacco Dock, Shadwell for a hip and happening meatlover’s party. This snout-to-tail festival was actually founded in the US by the late great Josh Ozersky then brought to the UK by passionate food enthusiasts. What it tries to champion is local, ethically sourced meat that’s been wood and charcoal-grilled and barbecued to perfection. Big-named chefs work together to hold demonstrations as well as feed the people.
Ludlow Food Festival
Considered as one of the gourmet capitals in UK, Ludlow has become home to an annual food fair participated by over 180 food and drink producers that set up camp all over the grounds of the Ludlow Castle. There will be a lot of talks hosted by renowned food writers, bakers, foragers, butchers and chefs; as well as tastings—from local produce to the best beers in the land.
Nyetimber Dorset Food Festival
Taking place on the Weymouth Peninsula, at the very end of Weymouth’s beautiful sandy beach and the start of the historic harbourside, the UK’s biggest seafood celebration not just encourages the locals and tourists to indulge on oysters that have been harvested fresh out of the water, but also encourage them to try other species of fish. There will be live accostic music as well as discovery workshops for kids.
The concept is pretty interesting and engaging. Over 10 days, 10 teams composed of all locals (three chefs, a pastry chef, a cheesemaker, a mixologist and a brewer) will be serving a 5-course menu composed of a two starters, a main, a cheese platter, a dessert, (plus 4 glasses of Bordeaux wine and an aperitif) at the Gare Maritime in Brussels, Belgium. It’s the special edition of the annual food festival that supports and celebrates not just local produce but talent as well.
Though the name suggests it to happen the following month, Oktoberfest actually begins on (this year it’s on the 18th) September, and is celebrated over two weeks, ending ending on the first Sunday in October. The festival is in honour of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Among the activities are games, amusement rides, music, dancing, and of course, lots of beer drinking.
Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium, is known to be a hub among gourmets, with a dozen Michelin-starred restaurants to boast for and lure people with. It’s a simple gastronomic event—over 31 Bruges chefs, all celebrated (owning one or more Michelin stars, a Bib Gourmand mention or a high GaultMillau score), will participate by way of cooking demonstrations or tastings.