While many are still mourning the recent passing of summer, food lovers in the northern hemisphere are busy celebrating the arrival of autumn and its many gastronomic treasures with a host of festivals.
In the UK, native oysters are at their best; you can try them at the Falmouth Oyster Festival (falmouthoysterfestival.co.uk) from 10-13 October, where the programme includes chef demonstrations and an oyster-shucking competition.
Wild mushrooms are plentiful this time of year, too. You can pick some on a guided foray during the International Mushroom Festival (00 353 49 433 4309; international mushroomfestival.com) held in Killgear, Ireland from 12-13 October.
Baltic-herring fairs have taken place across Finland in the autumn since the 17th century, to mark the end of the fishing season. The Helsinki fair, held from 6-12 October, is the country’s largest. Fishermen gather in the Market Square to trade their catch. Seasoned Travel (0844 809 2599; seasonedtravel.co.uk) offers a package to the Helsinki Baltic Herring Fair starting at £599 per person including flights from Heathrow, private transfers and three nights in the four-star Radisson Blu Seaside on a bed and breakfast basis.
Autumn’s bounty provides a great excuse for chefs to meet up and cook. Some of the world’s top culinary talent will be in attendance at Portugal’s International Gourmet Festival (00 351 916 230 501; internationalgourmetfestival.com), held at various locations in the Algarve between 7 and 17 November. The line up of cookery demos and gala events includes a dinner cooked by Portuguese chefs with 13 Michelin stars between them.
Autumn also means harvest time in the vineyards. The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival in Kelowna, Canada (001 250 861 6654; thewinefestivals.com) from 4-14 October includes tastings, vineyard tours and special events including a harvest lunch of local produce on 5 and 12 October in a marquee in the vineyard at St Hubertus winery (001 250 764 7888; st-hubertus.bc.ca).
The Franciacorta Festival in Lombardy, Italy (00 39 030 7760477; festivalfranciacorta.it) from 28-29 September celebrates the sparkling wines of the region. Wineries will open their doors to the public, with tastings and presentations by wine and food experts. Stay at the five star L’Albereta (00 39 030 7760550; albereta.it) which is set within the Bellavista winery in the heart of the region. The restaurant is overseen by Gualtiero Marchesi, one of Italy’s most highly regarded chefs.