Here’s a surefire way of dealing with the autumn blues: attending a food festival. We’ve surveyed the world to find out which autumn food festivals are on track to becoming fall season’s unmissables.
Tbilisoba (Tbilisi, Georgia)
There is hardly a reputed travel publication that hasn’t listed the Georgian capital as an “it” destination for 2019. If you’ve been meaning to find out what the fuss is all about, there is no better time than the first weekend of October, when the annual Tbilisoba festival takes over Old Tbilisi.
October 5 & 6 will see the city streets flood with open-air concerts, folk dance performances, cultural happenings and, naturally, the true star of the show – spectacular culinary offerings from all across the country.
Among those, we’ve singled out khinkali (scrumptious soup dumplings sealed with a twist), mtsvadi (juicy pork barbecue), and khachapuri – a cheese-filled, almond-shaped local take on pizza, often with an egg on top.
For an all-veggie delight, try the pkhali balls made of minced vegetables with walnuts, topped with pomegranate seeds; for a quintessentially traditional desert, go for the candle-shaped churchkhela: multi-colored strings of nuts dipped in thickened grape juice you’ll see adorning street stalls all across town.
Wine and chacha (Georgian brandy) flow freely until the festivities culminate in a spectacular firework display, making Tbilisoba our top pick of the year’s autumn food festivals.
Good Food Month (Australia)
The Good Food Month of October returns to the ‘land down under’ this year, bringing with it an incredible array of culinary happenings to the cities of Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne.
As part of the festivities, two Night Noodle Markets will be happening this fall in Sydney (Oct 11-18) and Melbourne (Nov 7-24), showcasing the best of Asian street food and hawker stalls to the beats of tunes masterfully spun by DJs. Some of our favorite treats to look out for include Japanese okonomiyaki (fried noodle omelets), dim sum, and steamed bao. Entry is free of charge.
Wine & Food Festival (New York City, USA)
The most glamorous of them all, New York City’s Wine & Food Festival will run from October 10th to 13th this year, bringing together Michelin-starred chefs, gourmets, restaurant critics and all manner of food aficionados for one deliciously long fall weekend.
Culinary demos by celebrity chefs, night-long pier parties, exquisite dining experiences, wine tastings and a whole lot more await attendees who flock to the city from all corners of the globe. The event schedule is so robust you’ll need a good few hours to truly dig in and put together an itinerary of your own: we’re intrigued by Barilla’s Drag Brunch and America’s Greatest Sandwich Showdown (held for the first time this year).
You’ll need a ticket to be admitted, but packages are available at various price points, and a huge chunk of the proceeds will go towards the noble cause of ending child hunger in America (NYCWWF raises around 1 million US dollars for charity annually).
White Truffle Fair (Alba, Italy)
Longest-running of all, the International White Truffle Fair will take place in the Piedmont town of Alba between October 4th and November 24th this year. The Tuber magnatum truffle from the region is the crème de la crème of the truffle world, going for thousands of dollars a piece at the invite-only auction held as part of the fair (an 850 gram white truffle sold for €85,000 to an anonymous buyer from Hong Kong in 2018, others have been auctioned off for much more at past fairs).
Do not despair if your budget is within double digits: there is plenty of accessible entertainment to have, from truffle product sampling and workshops in wine pairing (at the exhibition area in the historic city centre) to cultural pursuits, such as the obligatory donkey race following a stylized medieval procession through the city.
Local restaurants will also be actively cooking up dishes featuring the coveted noble fungus during festival weeks, and products containing truffles will be amply represented at street markets of the Alba autumn food festival.
Bonus: European Chestnut Fairs
Also worth an honorable mention is the Italian Chestnut Fair in Cuneo, some 60km away from Alba in Piedmont. October 18th to 20th will be dedicated to all things regional cuisine, with chestnuts as the piece de resistance.
Featured images from Shutterstock.com: 1. TatyanaNazatin 2. Gunnerchu 3. Matej Kastelic 4. Alexandr Vorobev; cover: Josep Suria