Five fantastic food festivals in Europe this fall

Posted on Posted in Europe travel

From white truffles to Baltic herring

Fall is synonymous with food festivals in Europe, from the 65th International Oyster and Seafood Festival in Galway, Ireland, to the Fruit Brandy and Sausage Festival in Budapest. If you’re planning a trip to Europe this month, see if you can squeeze in one of these unforgettable culinary experiences:

Fiesta De Marisco, (Shellfish Festival) Pontevedra, Spain

Mussels competition in O Grove

October 3-12

This is one of Europe’s biggest food festivals – in terms of seafood festival sizes, second only to the famous oyster festival in Galway.

If you’ve never tasted a Galician crab, add this delicacy to the bucket list. Galicia, in northeastern Spain, is a salty seafaring region with gorgeous beaches, and this festival in the town of O Grove captures its essence and draws thousands of traveling taste-testers. There are barnacles, crab, shrimp, scallops in recipes you’ve never heard of, along with an annual mussel-cooking competition. Throw in some Gallego-Portuguese folk dancing, and this is a festival unlike any other.

Fiera Del Tartufo (Truffle Festival) Alba, Italy

White truffles at Alba market

October 4 -November 9

You don’t have to be an invited Michelin chef to get your hands on the treasures of this corner of Piedmont, the prestigious white truffle — weighing in at thousands of dollars a pound. (If you are an invited chef, however, you are allowed to take part in the auction that yields specimens up to $10,000 a pound.)

Most of us will be contented at the vendor stalls with a few precious slices on top of fettuccine or tagliatelle, or browsing the stalls selling all kinds of truffled goods. Finish it off with the Palio deli Asini, a race based on Siena’s more famous Palio, but this time with donkeys.

Shrimp Festival, Honfleur, France

seafood festivals
The port of Honfleur

4-5 October

Honfleur is a well-preserved slice of old France, and thousands of tourists descend on the port to join one of the world’s largest shrimp-peeling competitions. This being Normandy, it’s also a great opportunity to stock up on some of Europe’s finest cheeses and a few bottles of the world’s best apple brandy, Calvados. There are seaside performances and a collection of historic wooden ships.

Baltic Herring Festival, Helsinki, Finland

Oct. 5-11

More than 10,000 Finns find their way to the biggest herring celebration in the world here by ports of the capital, where fishermen haul in their catch in small wooden boats. This three-day fish fest dates back to the 18th century, with markets filled with stalls selling smoked salmon, black bread and other Finnish specialties. The highlight is a series of competitions to find the most delicious herring dish.

Slow Food Festival: Salone del Gusto/Cheese, Turin, Italy

Salone del Gusto

23-27 October

This is Europe’s culinary Super Bowl, a monument to local, organic produce and authentic dishes. Aside from international entries from around the world, the four-day festival in Turin brings in all the best that Italy has to offer: Barolo wine from the local region of Piedmont, cured meats like culatello and prosciutto, pastas, mushrooms, fruits, liqueurs, and everything else. The Salone Del Gusto is held only in even-numbered years, but in odd years Slow Food hosts “Cheese” a tribute to famous fromages from around Europe. You never knew how much you loved cheese until you stroll the stalls offering thousands of enticing varieties made by small producers.

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