Gastronomic paradise: top 6 food and wine festivals in the USA

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These six summer food and wine festivals will take you to a gastronomic paradise and leave a lasting impression and wonderful warm memories for long winter evenings, according to Afar.

Food heaven: top 6 food and wine festivals in the US

Photo: Shutterstock

Summer is here, and with it, gastronomic festivals representing a wide range of tastes from around the world. Here we look at six that will make you pack your bags and whet your appetite.

EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival

Date: July 14 – November 19

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Location: Orlando, Florida

Cost: Festival entry requires park entry and EPCOT bookings on the same date. Entry to EPCOT starts at $109/person.

The grandfather—or better, grandmother—of all food and wine festivals kicked off on July 14th and will run for 129 days at the EPCOT Walt Disney World Resort.

This year's EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival features sips and snacks at over 25 global marketplaces across the theme park, as well as a host of new dishes such as donburi with spicy Japanese salmon; brazilian feijoada; Greek lamb gyroscope; Indian crispy paneer with mango-curry ketchup; and the Hawaiian Spam musubi nigiri. Festival favorites like pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) are also back.

Vegans and vegetarians won't go hungry at the festival, with several marketplaces offering plant-based options like falafel, samosa, and tofu pho, while Earth Eats, hosted by Impossible, offers plant-based burger sliders and meatballs.

Where to Stay: Disney Beach Club Resort

The Breckenridge Food and Wine Festival

Dates: July 29-31

Location: Breckenridge, Colorado

Price: $60/person with early booking and $70/person. at the entrance.

A food and wine-packed weekend awaits as the Breckenridge village transforms into a mountainside vineyard with more than 70 of the most award-winning wineries from Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain and more.

The delicious Breckenridge Food and Wine Festival weekend begins on July 29 in the evening with a VIP wine pairing dinner at Sauce on the Maggie, during which festival-goers can enjoy the rich flavors and aromas of classic and unique wine and cuisine pairings, as well as discover what lies based on deliberate combinations of flavors from the wine specialist and chef. The main event of the festival is the grand Saturday tasting, offering unlimited wine samples and live music. The wine, which is bottled on Saturdays, is complemented by appetizers from Colorado's Dango Burrito, Lazo Empanadas, the Noshing Platter's, as well as Sauce on the Maggie's and Italian dishes. Sunday Brunch invites guests to sample sparkling and signature cocktails during the “buffet”Relax at Gravity Haus in the heart of Breckenridge and recharge your batteries to enjoy the festival all weekend.

Maine Lobster Festival

Dates: August 3-7

Location: Rockland, Maine

Price: Admission is free; Steins & Vines cost $35 per person, available online.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Maine Family Lobster Festival in downtown Rockland. In addition to full lobster dinners at the Maine Eating Tent, 10,000kg of festival-fresh lobsters will be served in a variety of ways at the Lobster Café, including lobster bisque, lobster mac and cheese, lobster-stuffed risotto balls, lobster rolls and wontons with lobsters.

Activities during the five-day festival include the Great International Lobster Box Race, which is open to everyone; parade; seafood cooking competition; live entertainment; and Steins & Vines, a tasting of beers and wines made in Maine.

Where to stay: 250 Main Hotel

Enjoy the festival and explore all that Rockland has to offer, in the city's newest hotel, the 250 Main Hotel, with most of its 26 rooms overlooking the water.

Whoopie Pie Festival

Date: September 10

Location : Ronks, PA

Fee: Admission is free; The VIP pass costs $25 per person and is available online.

This year's Whoopie Pie Festival in Pennsylvania Dutch will feature over 400 flavors served in approximately 50,000 pies. In addition to the time-honored classic (chocolate shell with marshmallow cream), this year's new flavors include pineapple rum cake, blackberry sangria and oatmeal. Examples of other flavors: salted caramel, strawberry jelly, mint chips and more.

Another flavor variation is the replacement of the classic chocolate shell with pumpkin, orange, coconut, lemon, poppy seeds and cinnamon. And then there are pies for adults, such as toffee rum, fireball and mojito. Gluten-free pies will also be available.

Sweet treat-inspired activities at this year's festival include a pie lunch, a decorating contest, and of course, a pie-eating contest. The VIP pass includes early entry, a festive big bag and a voucher for a cake of your choice.

Where to stay: The Inn at Hershey Farm

Make an appointment order to stay at Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn; the Whoopie Pie festival is held on its vast territory.

Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

Dates: September 15-18

Location: Atlanta, GA

Price: Weekend general admission ticket , $158 per person. VIP pass for one day with early access, $150 per person. General admission for one day, $99 per person. All tickets are available online.

Some of the South's top chefs, such as Josu Peña of Iberian Pig Buckhead in Atlanta, Giorgio Rapicavoli of Luca Osteria and Eating House in Miami, and John Tesar of Knife in Dallas, are returning to Atlanta with Southern mixologists, farmers and culinary personalities for four days of food and drink, starting with Sliced: Party By the Slice at the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival. From chicken pies to pizzas and desserts, everything served as a slice, from savory to sweet and everything in between, will be at the opening of the festival.

New to the festival is Cluck'd: a chicken and cocktail night where poultry is cooked in every possible way by 15 of the best southern chefs. From fried to grilled and stewed in sauce, sample all dishes and pair them with cocktails.

Tasting tents will be open Saturdays and Sundays at Old Fourth Ward Historic Park; they will feature delicious dishes from over 30 top chefs and purveyors from across the South. Each ticket to the tasting tents includes unlimited food, drinks and entertainment. Private dinners and brunches will also be part of the festival; details will be announced.

Where to stay: Epicurean Atlanta

Continue your gastronomic experience at the new Epicurean Atlanta restaurant in Midtown.

Twin Cities Veg Fest

Date: September 18

Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Cost: Free admission p>

The Midwest's Largest Vegetable Festival Returns to St. Paul – Harriet Island Park hosts its 10th annual festival. In 2012, the event attracted 1,200 people; over the past decade it has grown to accommodate over 100 vendors and 10,000 festival goers interested in plant-based food and healthy lifestyles.

“The festival's growth reflects the public's understanding that plant-based foods are delicious, helping animals and the environment, and can improve human health,” says Laura Matana, executive director of Compassionate Action for Animals, a local non-profit organization that presents the festival.

Visitors can sample plant-based snacks and buy vegan products. The winners of the August Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge will be announced during the one-day festival.

Where to stay: Alma

For more plant-based options, pre-order at overnight at Alma in Minneapolis and dine on a vegetarian (vegan options available) set-price dinner at the boutique hotel's restaurant.

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