Get a Taste of Freedom on a Food Festival Vacation

If your main vacation planning involves mapping out your days and nights by which chewy, ooey and gooey edible delights you want to try, then a food festival may be for you. Held in some of the best locations for a quick jaunt thanks to the plethora of activities and scenery, here are some toothsome options.

Aspen, Colo.

The Food & Wine Classic is held in June each year, one of the best times to travel to what’s otherwise a ski bum’s Shangri-La. You’ll be surrounded by pine trees and a laid-back atmosphere, with dozens of cooking classes from chefs whose names are probably already on your bookshelf (such as Ming Tsai and Jacques Pepin). Whether it’s as simple as the wines of Portugal or an hour discussing whether peanut butter and wine are a match made in heaven, there are plenty of eye-opening flavors and concepts. Don’t miss stopping by the old-timey saloon at the Jerome Hotel, a recently renovated 1880s landmark where the fifth night is free, even during festival dates. There are plenty of Airbnb options, too.

Food Festival Vendor

Food Festival Vendor © Kasto80 | Dreamstime.com

Seattle, Wash.

Oenophiles take note: Each March Washington’s best wineries pull out all the stops for Taste Washington, a four-day event with samples, demonstrations and meet-and-greets (or, meat and greets, depending on who you ask!). Especially cool are On the Farm experiences, where you can meet growers and feast on the fruit of their labors. Several hotels in the heart of downtown even have sizeable accommodation and dining credits.

Miami, Fla.

Often called the “Super Bowl for foodies,” the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is sponsored by the Food Network so some of your clicker’s favorite personalities come to life: Giada De Laurentiis, Alton Brown, Guy Fieri and Michael Simon all made appearances for the five-day fiesta. Besides that, who doesn’t want to get away to a warmer clime each February — especially one with so much fresh seafood?

Barbados

Rum is the essence of culture in Barbados, and the Barbados Food and Rum Festival is no exception. Distilled here since the early 1700s, the island has it down to both an art and a science, and festival events reflect the storied history and centuries of recipes — including some distinctive street food — over the span of four days. Enjoy spirit pairings and a beach party, with wine and seafood aplenty.

Chicago, Ill.

Deep-dish pizza isn’t the only thing the Windy City has going on (although it is darned good!). Check out all this mouthwatering metropolis has to offer at Taste of Chicago, the world’s largest food festival, held each July. Grant Park hosts multiple music acts, and there are rides like a Ferris wheel and bouncy house — just make sure you do all of your eating first at about 75 stalls, many pop-ups there for just one of the five days. That means you have to stick around for food that sticks to your ribs for a few days. Savor ribs, Polish sausage, cheesecake, Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches and more.