Top 6 Food Festivals in France
France’s love of food knows no boundaries. This statement is something you will only properly understand once you’ve visited the land itself, connected with the people and experienced the food culture.
It’s no surprise then that a lot of returning travelers to France actually plan their trips around the many, many food festivals that take place across the country.
Whether you’re a lover of fine wines, cheeses, crabs or even strawberries, there’s a food festival dedicated to it somewhere in France.
I’ll start with one closer to home. Food festivals in the capital tend to be much bigger and more frequented then those in the outlying villages France.
This one in particular, Omnivore, has been held every year since 2006, and is dedicated to the passionate exploration of new, emerging cuisines that might not yet be getting the attention or appreciation that they deserve.
Sometimes called the “youth’s kitchen”, Omnivore assigns a large part of the festival to emerging young chefs who are only just beginning their careers in the French culinary world.
What’s great about Omnivore is that it is actually a traveling food festival. This means that it moves from city to city throughout the year, internationally. This gives every country the chance to be part of the event and relative young chefs of the land to have their shot at making it big.
Omnivore is usually held in Paris around March each year.
Fête de la Gastronomie
Also in March of each year is the French Cuisine Festival. This one doesn’t have a single location in France; instead it is held in cities, towns and villages across the country, giving the masses chance to be part of the fun.
A few years ago, UNESCO declared that France’s food was part of “humanity’s intangible cultural heritage”. Since then, the government has held a yearly, nationwide celebration of the honor, dedicated to all the flavors and traditions of French cuisine.
Depending on the location, you’ll have the opportunity of experiencing workshops, markets, tasting tours, chef demonstrations and exhibitions. People travel to different regions of France in order to sample the traditional foods of that place; all of which have contributed to the French gastronomy over centuries.
For foodies, this a wildly exciting time in France. It’s an experience of French cuisine from a professional level right through to the wholesome, homestyle cooking found in seemingly forgotten parts of the land.
Fête de la Truffle
Sarlat is a small, medieval town in the southwest of France. The town is actually known for their French delicacies of foie gras and specific cheeses.
Every year in mid-January, however, Sarlat becomes the home of the National Truffle Festival in France. A long weekend event during which the people of Sarlat celebrate another regional delicacy, the Perigord truffle.
The fête is a grand event with a plethora of activities, workshops and experiences open to the public to enjoy. In addition to this, there is also a market in which the famous Perigord truffles are sold in their droves, harvested fresh from the woodlands of Sarlat.
Anyone with even a mild interest in the world of truffle cooking should put this particular food festival on their bucket list. It’s an incredibly exploration of the world of truffle-based cuisine. One where culinary students and working professionals flock to Sarlat just to be part of the fun.
Street Food International Festival
Porte de Versailles
Personally, the annual Street Food International Festival (SFIF) held yearly at the Porte de Versailles is my absolute element.
Held in September, the SFIF is a two day culinary showdown bringing some of the best street food vendors from around the world right here to France.
What I love about the SFIF is the simplicity in proceedings. There’s really no order to events, and the best way to experience the event is to simply walk between the hundreds of street food vendors and sample as many as your body permits you to.
At SFIF it’s all about flavor and execution. There is no pressure placed on technicalities and the chefs are not expected to win over the hearts of the public through elaborate demonstrations. With street food its always all about the finished product, and true foodies appreciate this on a spiritual level.
A beautiful, diverse and eclectic food festival on the yearly bill here in France. Not to be missed!
Salon du Chocolat
This is a widely renowned food festival that brings in a lot of tourists during the last weekend of October annually.
The Salon du Chocolat, or the Chocolate Fair, is heaven on Earth for anyone with a love for the cacao. It’s one of the national highlights of the winter season in France, causing just as many locals to flock to the capital as it does internationals.
At this food festival, over 700 culinary masters in the fields of chocolate making, pastry chefs and confectioners come together in one grand exhibit of their works. These masters come from over 60 different countries, meaning that visitors to the event are quite literally sampling the works of the best chocolate makers on the planet.
More than just sampling and purchasing chocolates, your entry ticket gets you access to an array of workshops, guided tasting sessions and private demonstrations. There is even an outrageous fashion event where models walk the runway donning dresses made from… chocolate.
Fête de l’Escargot
Digoin is a tiny commune in eastern France, and should you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods around August time, you’ll want to look out for the Fête de l’Escargot.
The Festival of Snails is just as bizarre as it sounds, but being one of the culinary staples of France, this is an important event for the people.
At this festival the people of Digoin celebrate the beloved snail by cooking a mass of 100,000 of them in one go. They are consumed by the festival goers, accompanied by music, dancing and singing.
This is not something you’ll find often in life. A true French food festival that takes it back to the basics.