Some people travel to visit the most beautiful beaches on the planet. Others are in search of the most thrilling ski slopes. But there’s a certain kind of traveler that would go to the ends of the earth for one thing and one thing only: a delicious bite to eat.
Thankfully, those looking for a foodie vacation don’t need to travel to the ends of the earth to find their nirvana. Summertime is flush with food and wine events — and many of them take place in some of the most beautiful spots right here in the United States. If you’ve started a vacation fund but have yet to pick a destination, our list of five food and wine events just might help you fill up your summer travel itinerary.
Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
June 14 — 16
In its 31st year, this year’s Food & Wine Classic will showcase over 80 cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, panel discussions, and tasting events — all at 8,000 feet. The bad news is the 2013 culinary festival sold out back in early April — faster than it has in five years. The good news is that festival organizers have added more events to allow the rest of us to get in on the mouthwatering fun. Tickets are still available for the 25th Anniversary of Food & Wine Best New Chefs party featuring John Besh and David Chang ($250), the Last Bite Desert Bash ($125) and the Celebrity Chef 5K Charity Run.
Park City Food & Wine Classic
July 10 — 14
The five-day Park City Food & Wine Classic brings together over 100 gourmet artisans to Utah to create what they call the “ultimate food and wine experience.” While there’s plenty of food, wine and craft beer to be had, attendees can also attend seminars, cooking demonstrations and even outdoor excursions. Notable events include “Toast of Park City” ($90), a mouthwatering evening featuring over 500 different wines and 30 restaurants and food offerings, and “It’s a Mary Morning” ($65), a brunch and Bloody Mary tasting on scenic Bald Mountain.
10th Annual California Wine Festival
July 18 — 20
Fancy yourself an amateur sommelier? If so, test your taste buds at the 10th Annual California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara. While the festival site promises sample portions of cheese, fruit and breads, the focus here is on the over 300 wines available to sample. Tickets to single events are available, but VIP passes start at $119 and include perks like early admission. To get an even better deal, gather up your closest friends to qualify for a group rate.
Taste of Chicago
July 10 — 14
Chicago is the Best Food City in America, according to The Munchies: People’s Choice Food Awards, so it makes sense that it hosts what is billed as the world’s largest outdoor food festival, the annual Taste of Chicago. In its 33rd year, this year’s event will feature the usual wide range of culinary delights, as well as entertainment from acts such as Robin Thicke, Robert Plant and Jill Scott. An added bonus for this year’s attendees: the 2013 festival will feature food trucks for the first time. Entrance to the festival is free, but you’ll have to purchase tickets ($8 for 12) to score some grub.
Finger Lakes Wine Festival
July 12 – 14
Think the West Coast is the best coast when it comes to wine? The Finger Lakes Wine Festival in upstate New York may just change your mind. The 2012 gathering featured over 90 wineries, 100 non-wine vendors and a wide range of restaurants, and 2013 is shaping up to be just as spectacular. This year’s festivities include free cooking classes, educational wine seminars, live music, fireworks and a banquet featuring regional foods paired with New York state wines.
Are food and wine events your idea of a perfect summer activity? What events will you attend this summer?