And now for a quick round up of some current food and drink festivals happening across the world. Travel the globe and sample mustard, maple syrup, wine and mango – just don’t eat them all together!
Carpentras Truffle Market - Aristide-Briand Square, Carpentras, France
Every year from November to March, the Aristide-Briand Square is the setting for the Friday Carpentras Truffle Market. At this interesting market the rich, aromatic, and, lets be honest, very expensive truffles are sold for incredibly high prices. Those that can afford the finer things in life should hotfoot it to Carpentras in France. For those that can’t or don’t want to, Friday is also the general market day where you can buy fruit, vegetables, cheese and wine, all fresh and all French produced - after all France is home to haute cuisine!
Napa Valley Mustard Festival - Napa Valley, USA
The annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival, held every March, marks the period in which the wild mustard is in its spectacular bloom locally. A Mustard Competition is run California to a worldwide audience and features 19 different categories, although I’m not sure if mustard eating is one of the contests! The festival includes a grand dinner, although its not specified how many meals actually contain mustard – mustard ice cream anyone?
Acapulco French Festival - Acapulco, Mexico
The annual French Festival takes place every March throughout Acapulco City and features events that celebrate the cultural links between Mexico and France. The French are famous for their fashion and cuisine and the Mexicans try their hardest to replicate this with a glamorous fashion show and a top-quality food fair. To continue the flavor of all things French, the Cinépolis Galerías Diana and the Teatro Juan Ruíz de Alarcón both show French and Mexican films. Well known literary figures, both Mexican and French give talks and if you fancy a good dance then local and French DJs supply the tunes.
Maple Weekend - New York, USA
Every year in March the maple syrup producers across New York State hold a maple syrup extravaganza with pancake breakfasts, public tours and syrup tastings. In March New York’s temperatures begin to rise above zero degrees and the delicious maple sap starts to thaw. March is the ideal time for the producers to tap into the trees' golden nectar, so why not celebrate with some of the sweet stuff, pancakes optional!
The Gourd Festival - Jardins du Cimiez, Nice, France
Back to France again as we didn’t want to omit the intriguing sounding Gourd festival that happens every March in Nice, France. Held in the Cimiez gardens of Nice, the Gourd Festival celebrates the Annunciation of Mary at the beginning of spring. The traditional event is held to signify the end of winter. Pride of place is given to the gourds themselves, which are related to the pumpkin family and are called cougourdon in French. Waste-not want-not and with a little imagination this vegetable is transformed into tasty dishes. The locals even paint their gourds and engrave them, let their imaginations run wild!
Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival - Vancouver, Canada
Probably about time on this list for a nice drop of wine and wine is certainly on the menu at the annual Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. Held each March this is Canada’s most important wine event with hundreds of wines on display, produced by wineries from around the world. Leave the car at home and indulge in a glass (or two) of fine wine. There are winery dinners that are held at some of Vancouver’s top restaurants. There are also formal wine tastings – I hope you don’t just have to spit!
Mango Festival - Mumbai, India
All through March there are stalls popping up all over Mumbai in India that sells heaps of fresh mangos of every variety known to man. The aim of the Mango Festival is to help the mango farmers from the Konkan region by letting them sell their produce without paying any middleman costs. Sample the local speciality of amba poli, which is made from the juicy mango in addition to the jelly and jams also created. Indian makes fine sweets and with sales benefiting the farmers what excuse do we need to indulge?
Panama Restaurant Week - Panama City, Panama
During March, the finest eating establishments of Panama City are packed to the rafters with hordes of hungry diners that are taking advantage of the special offers that run during Panama Restaurant Week. Twice annually the capital city salivates over the affordable three-course fixed-price menus. The event in March lasts for one week and if your waistband can take it, the second leg in September is held for two weeks. I wonder if the gap between the two events is long enough to detox from all these delicious gastronomic delights?