Food has been celebrated for centuries, and there’s no better way to pay homage to your favourite dish than by attending a festival. Close your eyes and open your mouth – Denmark, Scotland and Switzerland have some of the most mouth-watering (and surprising) gastronomic events around.
Herring Festival, Denmark
The name of this celebration is no red herring – the Danes really have dedicated an entire event to this forage fish. The festival takes place each April in the small village of Hvide Sande, as countless herring swim through the Ringkobin Fjord to spawn. This, in turn, attracts fishermen from all over Scandinavia… and the festivities begin.
The Herring Festival features competitions, filleting workshops, angling demonstrations and fishing classes – not to mention the most delicious herring around, whether ground into fishcakes, pickled or fried. Finding all that to be cramping your style? Attend the fashion show for the latest waterproof, outdoorsy couture. Fishing fashion forward!
Annual Golden Spurtle, Scotland
Gruel, mush, cream of wheat… throughout the years, porridge has had some unappealing names and bad press. However, if you head to Scotland you’ll hear no negativity about this breakfast classic – just ‘Please sir, may I have some more?’ and advertising for the famous Annual Golden Spurtle festival.
This event, held in late September or early October, features the World Porridge-Making Championships. Contestants compete for the honour of winning a Golden Spurtle (the traditional wooden stick that the porridge pot was stirred with) and are notoriously superstitious.
Want to avoid bad luck? Here are some tried and true traditions:
- The pot must be stirred clockwise.
- You must always refer to porridge as ‘they’.
- You must eat the finished product from a pottinger (a porridge bowl) while standing up.
The Onion Market, Switzerland
This is one event not to take your date to – at least not if you want a kiss at the end of the evening. The Swiss folk festival has everything an onion lover could possibly want to buy, from the expected rings, braids and single bulbs to unusual jewellery, textiles, toys and ceramics.
Highlights include tasty onion soups and tarts, a confetti war and a distinct smell that wafts through the city centre. By the time you’re ready to leave, you won’t know if you’re crying because of the onions or because you’ve had such a lovely time you’re not ready to leave this flavourful festival.
Fish fanatics, the onion obsessed and those who prefer porridge should make the journey to one (or all!) of these foodie festivals – after all, experience and atmosphere are the best seasoning for any dish.