Five under-the-radar food gatherings to get excited about this summer, whether you want to graze on authentic tapas in Barcelona, discuss South Africa’s food culture with an expert panel or sip on natural wines from boutique producers while listening to extremely fresh beats in the wilds of southern France
Looking for the best foodie festivals? Check out our expert guide to the best secret food festivals this summer.
Barcelona BORN Gourmet, Barcelona
Barcelona’s trendy Born district plays host to this buzzy street festival in July. Home to a thriving food community of Catalan bodegas, hipster wine bars, Basque pintxos, cheese shops and delis, BORN Gourmet carves a route through them all, hand-picking the best and showcasing them in a vibrant market of stalls and tastings.
Look out for Sagardi’s grilled fish (straight from the Barceloneta fish market), Sagas’ superlative sandwiches and Llamber’s modern take on Spanish tapas. For a glass of wine, head to Born’s old-school wine bar, La Vinya del Senyor, and choose from its ever-changing selection of wines, or make your way to Vidrios y Cristales’ stall for a glass of vermouth and an impressive choice of traditional tinned fish.
As much about food as it is a celebration of music and the neighbourhood’s ancient traditions and architecture, this is a street festival in every sense of the word.
The fifth annual South African Street Food Festival kicks off this September with a cornucopia of food trucks, DJs, live music and local chefs, all celebrating the country’s vibrant food culture.
Expect street food bites such as smoked brisket jaffles (that’s toasted sandwich to you), crispy chicken wings, grill specials and artisan ice cream, local wines and spirits, and a diverse programme of talks and discussions – the real highlight of this underdog festival.
Crate Talks is a panel of local food chefs, entrepreneurs, cooks, writers and producers, providing fascinating insights into South Africa’s local food culture, from Josh De Kock and his wors (sausage) and braai (grill) obsession to the guys at Convivium; a sister festival that aims to showcase South African food, chefs and producers.
Storytelling, debate and food are the basis of Food and Words, with talks from a mix of cooks, philosophers, poets, scientists, recipe writers and food producers, as well as top Australian chefs. The line-up reflects the festival’s fascination with food writing and is aimed at those who love the written word as much as the culinary world, combining the two in a range of smart and entertaining discussions, from food in fiction to the role of cookbooks to how to get published.
In this year’s event you can also expect musings on alternative agriculture with talks from Australian permaculture stars Kirsten Bradley and Nick Ritar from Milkwood Permaculture. Food and drink is included in the ticket price, including a lunch by Sydney’s Cornersmith, plus coffee from The Little Marionette and hip sips from Lowe Wines.
“Because dessert is always a good idea” is the cornerstone of Dessert Goals. Back by popular demand, this celebration of all things sweet now stretches over two weekends in October (plus another, in LA, in July) with some of New York’s best vendors under – and on – one roof.
Gorge on Rebecca’s Cake Pops’ edible sculptures (including mini piña coladas), cruffins and croissants from Supermoon Bakehouse, Sugar Monster Sweets’ whoopie pies and a free, unlimited, pick ‘n’ mix from Dylan’s Candy Bar, then lounge off the sugar rush on the rooftop garden soaking up views over Manhattan. Mix in a nostalgic soundtrack of sugar-themed tunes and nineties and noughties throwbacks and you’ve got a recipe for sweet-toothed nirvana, albeit with a stall of salty snacks to graze on should you need respite.
Natural wines, local produce, great music and country air is what this travelling festival is all about, popping up each year in various wild locations around southern France. With an emphasis on seasonal, ethical ingredients and local artisanal producers, there’s as much to try from local fishermen and cheesemakers as there is from street food trucks serving up gourmet burgers and a French twist on tapas.
The real reason to make the journey, though, is to try the rich crop of distinctive and unusual wines on offer. Organic, biodynamic and natural production methods are the name of the game here, and a great spread of wine-makers makes for interesting drinking. Stay on as the evenings darken, the wine flows and DJs stir up a festive vibe.