Summer is the best season for food and wine festivals, when great weather lets you celebrate outdoors, and cold drinks and barbecue are always on the menu. Whether you’re craving a cool glass of rosé or a crisp craft beer, a pulled-pork sandwich or adventurous molecular gastronomy, there’s a summer event out there that’s doing it right.
Below, find five of the world’s best summer fests.
Food & Wine Classic, Aspen, Colorado
This three-day celebration is legendary in the food world, and deservedly so: Drawing big-name chefs, internationally known winemakers and jet-setters of all kinds, this is a glitzy, glam affair.
The event skews heavily toward the high-end (there’s one session titled “Spanish Wines for Millionaires”), and every prestigious chef out there makes a showing, from Marcus Samuelsson to Jacques Pépin.
While there are classes on cooking — learning how to braise, guides to throwing the perfect dinner party — it’s the sumptuous Grand Tastings events with their all-you-can-sample abundance of food and wine you won’t want to miss.
Copenhagen Cooking & Food Festival, Denmark
Thanks to a recent slew of pioneering chefs, Denmark has been cementing a reputation as a major foodie destination. René Redzepi’s Noma lit the spark, and now the country boasts 26 Michelin-starred restaurants.
Held at the end of August each year, the Copenhagen Cooking & Food Festival celebrates the country’s thriving culinary culture with more than 100 events, from intimate dinners in secret locations to cooking competitions where chefs strive to create the world’s best hotdog.
The focus is on breaking barriers and new ideas — this is where you’ll discover the chefs that the world will be talking about in the next few years. Don’t be surprised to find yourself feasting in the middle of a field, surrounded by the produce that appears on your plate, or eating dinner while wearing virtual reality glasses that make it look like you’re dining on an island.
Good Food & Wine Show, Sydney
This annual June festival is jam-packed with hundreds of cooks, restaurants and food suppliers showing off their prowess in everything from cheese making to beer brewing. See Aussie television chefs doing cooking demonstrations and check out wine tasting classes at the Riedel Drinks Lab.
The celeb chefs at this festival are always exciting; previous events have included Gordon Ramsay and Rick Stein. Note: The show also appears in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane on different dates, so if you miss Sydney, you might be able to catch it somewhere else.
Singapore Food Festival, Singapore
Singapore is one of the world’s best destinations for foodies — even its street hawkers have Michelin stars — and this festival, spread out over almost two weeks in July, introduces visitors to the extraordinary range of flavors and ingredients on the island.
The signature event, STREAT, is held outdoors and features creative and modern spins on local foods, like a rojak (a local salad of fruit, vegetables and fritters) made with Valrhona dark chocolate.
Other events include barbecues, live music, collaborations between local chefs, workshops and classes, and even photo exhibits that document Singapore’s culinary traditions.
Taste of Chicago, Chicago
Five days of food trucks, pop-ups, live music and the city’s best restaurants, all collected in Grant Park: This is one of the most entertaining and lively food festivals in the country.
Rather than line up celebrity chefs from around the world, Chicago focuses on its own homegrown and dynamic culinary scene, with dozens of local restaurants setting up their own booths in the park. (Entrance to the festival is free, but you buy tickets at the door to exchange for food.)
Laid-back and hugely popular, the festival also books live music acts like Weezer and the O’Jays — the perfect accompaniment to a day of sampling stellar food and lounging on the grass with friends.