Food miles: Work up an appetite for the food festival season


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The Independent Travel

Traditionally, food and drink festivals have celebrated a single ingredient at its seasonal best – and there are still numerous examples of the type around the globe.

The Maine Lobster Festival ( will be held between 31 July and 4 August when 10 tons of fresh Maine lobster will be dished up alongside local clams, shrimp and mussels.

In Lovran, Croatia, ( a Cherry Feast on 8 June will culminate with the slicing of a 20m-long strudel made with the local brtosinka cherry that's prized for its juicy flavour. On 3 and 4 August, the town of Livarot in Normandy celebrates its famously pungent wash rind cheese with a Cheese Fair (

However, more modern festivals tend to be wider in their scope and more ambitious in their aims. Now in its third year, noma-chef Rene Redzepi's MAD Symposium, from 25-26 August in Copenhagen (, takes "guts" as its theme this year. The line-up of speakers will include chefs Alex Atala from D.O.M. restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Margot Henderson from Rochelle Canteen in London.

The event coincides with the 10-day Copenhagen Cooking festival, from 23 August to 1 September ( where the programme of events includes "Nordic Taste", a sampling of dishes from some of the best restaurants in Scandinavia.

Over the last three decades, America's craft brewers have become so influential that they have even inspired British brewers to eschew mass production and make beers and lagers that are all about flavour and aroma. The Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland (; 24-28 July) brings together 80 of the best brewers in the US.

Cheltenham is perhaps best known for its literary and racing festivals, but the Food and Drink Festival (, from 14-16 June features home-grown producers, growers, restaurants, hotels, chefs and breweries. Demos in the Chef's Kitchen Theatre include those from Italian chefs Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo as well as local talent such as Antony Ely from The Wheatsheaf Inn in nearby Northleach.

From 25-28 July the old fish market in Trapani on the west coast of Sicily will be transformed into Stragusto (, a celebration of traditional Sicilian, Italian and Tunisian street food. From 7pm until midnight, stalls will sell dishes such as lamprey (a type of eel), arancini (risotto balls) and pani ca meusa (spleen sandwiches) accompanied by excellent local wines and live music.