The 18 food and drinks festivals not to miss in 2019

Giulia Sgarbi - 21/01/2019

Food and drinks festivals are a great opportunity to travel, discover new cultures and meet some of the best chefs and bartenders in the world. With everything from cooking masterclasses and inspiring debates on creativity to pop-up dinners and food markets, take inspiration from this list of 18 essential food and drinks festivals for 2019.

This article was updated on 04/02/2019, when two festivals were added.


Madrid Fusión – Madrid, Spain

Chef Elena Arzak at Madrid Fusión (image: Madrid Fusión)

When: 28-30 January 2019

What: Following an edition that focused on the next generation of chefs, this established global summit – now in its 17th year – will focus on the topic of “Redeveloping cooking: changing the rules,” with cooks coming from far and wide (including Budapest, Copenhagen and San Francisco) to speak on the renowned stage. The event is an eclectic mix of on-stage presentations, competitions, auctions, workshops and demonstrations, taking place over three days in the Spanish capital.

Who: Ferrán Adriá is set to make a comeback on the stage while, among others, The World’s Best Female Chef 2017 Ana Roš (Hiša Franko) will lead a session called “A table in the countryside”; David Muñoz (Diverxo), Albert Adrià (Tickets) and Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz) will tackle the topic of “Creativity and artificial intelligence”, and Dominique Crenn will shed a light on “The sweet world of Atelier Crenn”.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – Melbourne, Australia

Fresh produce served at MFWF (image: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival)

When: 8-24 March 2019

What: Since its first edition in 1993, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) has brought together cooks and foodies, starting with just 12 events and building up to 250 this year. The state-wide celebration takes in pop-up restaurants and bars, a “Theatre of Ideas”, demonstrations and masterclasses, as well as the famous World’s Longest Lunch.

Who: Among the stars of the show, Hong Kong chef Matt Abergel of Ronin and Yarbird will demonstrate how to make the most of your chicken, while home-grown talents Dan Hunter of Brae and Peter Gilmore of Quay will give talks at the House of Food and Wine.

Omnivore – Paris, France

When: 10-12 March 2019

What: The 14th edition of this three-day Paris festival will bring together plenty of upcoming culinary talent under the tagline “jeune cuisine” (young cuisine). Organised by French journalist Luc Dubanchet, who founded the Omnivore platform, the festival will comprise workshops, masterclasses, pop-up dinners, cooking demonstrations and many more culinary activities.

Who: The programme is organised around different platforms: the Grand Stage will play host to all talks on sweet and savoury topics, with speakers hailing from France, Canada, Mexico and beyond. The Artisanal Stage will give a voice to the producers, while the Wide Angle Stage will feature presentations on bigger themes, including a talk by Romain Meder of Paris restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée. There will also be a Cocktail Stage, a Coffee Stage and a Tasting Stage.

Identità Golose – Milan, Italy

When: 23-25 March 2019

What: Another long-standing food festival, Italian journalist Paolo Marchi’s iconic three-day gathering of chefs, media and food-lovers is now in its 15th edition. Building on last year’s topic “The human factor”, the 2019 edition will tackle themes of tradition and memory in gastronomy, exploring how chefs come to terms with the past and innovate it, under the theme of “Building new memories”.

Who: While the 2019 programme has not yet been announced, in 2018 a host of renowned international chefs took part – including Gaggan Anand of Bangkok restaurant Gaggan and Virgilio Martínez from Peru’s Central – with many Italian chefs also giving presentations, including Massimo Bottura and Carlo Cracco.

Ñam – Santiago, Chile

The city of Santiago

When: March 2019, dates TBC

What: Set in the historic Cerro Santa Lucía in Santiago, Ñam is a week-long festival that celebrates all aspects of Latin American cuisine with a series of events and festivities. There is everything from family-friendly activities to cooking classes led by some of the region’s best chefs, workshops on front of house skills and one-off collaboration dinners.

Who: While you wait to find out the line-up for 2019, some of the 2018 highlights included Maido chef Mitsuharu Tsumura giving a masterclass on umami, as well as talks by other stars in the region such as Ambrosia’s Carolina Bazán, A Casa do Porco’s Jefferson Rueda and Fernando Rivarola of El Baqueano.

Tasting Australia – Adelaide, Australia

A masterclass at Tasting Australia 2018

When: 5-14 April 2019

What: Acclaimed chef Jock Zonfrillo of Orana restaurant in Adelaide and Australian cook Simon Bryant form the creative team behind the longest-running national food festival in Australia. Over 10 days, the festival celebrates the best of the region’s gastronomy with 150+ events, including dinners, wine experiences and masterclasses. Among many other options, there is a Big Sky Banquet, a Comfort Food Cabaret and a series of one-off dining experiences curated by Zonfrillo and Bryant at the Glasshouse Kitchen.

Who: Among the chefs involved are Alex Atala of D.O.M. and Manoella Buffara of Manu, both from Brazil; Japanese chef Shinobu Namae of L’Effervescence; local star Peter Gilmore of Quay; and David Thompson, ex-chef of Nahm, now at Aaharn.

Singapore Cocktail Festival – Singapore

Tippling Club in Singapore

When: 10-18 May 2019

What: A celebration of the talent in Asian mixology, as well as a gathering of cocktail aficionados that takes over the whole city-state, the Singapore Cocktail Festival (SGCF) is a yearly appointment for drink makers and lovers from around the world. Now in its third edition, it features a festival village, workshops, parties, special cocktail promotions across the city and pop-up bars with visiting bartenders, as well as a special Asia’s 50 Best Bars element.

Who: Aside from Singapore’s great bars getting involved – among which Tippling Club and Jigger & Pony – many bartenders will be in town for special events, including Danny Yeung of Smalls in Bangkok and Laki Yoo of Keepers in Seoul, both included in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2018 list.

Terroir Symposium – Toronto, Canada

When: 6 May 2019

What: Canada’s forward-thinking forum at the crossroads between hospitality and tourism is back for 2019 with the theme “Choice: risks and rewards in a changing food culture”. Over the course of the day, you can choose to attend the talks at the main stage or to take part in more hands-on workshops, all of which will explore “the choices we make and how they affect the growth, change and collective identity of our industry”.

Who: There are more than 40 speakers with plenty of food personalities pushing sustainability and inclusivity projects, such as UK chef Douglas McMaster of restaurant Cub in London, Darren Maclean of Shokunin in Calgary and Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy in New York.

The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2019 – Singapore

Ferran Adrià, René Redzepi, Joan Roca, Massimo Bottura, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm at #50BestTalks

When: June 2019, dates TBC

What: The Oscars of global gastronomy will be held in Asia for the first time in 2019, when The World’s 50 Best Restaurants will host its awards ceremony and events in Singapore. The celebrations will take place over five days, with special pop-up dinners, a live ticketed edition of the #50BestTalks forum as well as a series of masterclasses held by some of the best chefs on the planet. Stay tuned for details on how to get involved.

Who: The World's 50 Best Restaurants brings together the largest chef community on the planet, with many award winning chefs – including Massimo Bottura, Daniel Humm and Joan Roca among others – likely to meet in Singapore for the occasion.

Tales of the Cocktail – New Orleans, USA

A drink at Tales of the Cocktail

When: 16-21 July 2019

What: Probably the most famous drinks festival in the US, Tales of the Cocktail has attracted thousands of members of the bar community to New Orleans for over 15 years. The event comprises seminars, tastings, competitions and networking events for everyone passionate about the cocktail craft, as well as the annual Spirited Awards.

Who: The 2019 line-up hasn’t yet been announced, but in 2018, many respected drink personalities were in town for the occasion – including Jim Meehan of PDT fame, who gave a talk about “Digital drinking”, and Edmund Weil and Tony Pescatori giving an in-depth view of their London bar Nightjar.

Mad Symposium – Copenhagen, Denmark

René Redzepi (image: Lajh Prijatelj)

When: August 2019, dates TBC

What: Chef René Redzepi, globally known for his award-winning Copenhagen restaurant Noma, also oversees a yearly two-day symposium under his non-profit organisation, Mad. The symposium has been called “the G20 of food” and it sees not only chefs and farmers, but also artists and academics get together to discuss themes such as sustainable agriculture, social entrepreneurship, science, health and creativity.

Who: In 2018, over 600 chefs were in attendance, and previous editions have seen international stars such as René Redzepi himself, Ferran Adrià and David Chang leading sessions and workshops, as well as Pulitzer prize-winning journalists and food entrepreneurs from all over the world.

World Gourmet Festival – Bangkok, Thailand

When: September 2019, dates TBC

What: Set in one of Asia’s foodiest cities, which hosts as many as nine venues included on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 list, the World Gourmet Festival will be celebrating its 20th edition in 2019. As in previous years, it will likely involve a week of special dinners, tastings, masterclasses and the popular closing tradition, a yearly brunch with celebrity chef Bobby Chinn, and perhaps, some extra anniversary surprises.

Who: Among the chefs invited to the 2018 edition were Portuguese cook José Avillez of Belcanto, Jeong Ho Kim of Korean restaurant Yungsik, No.26 on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 list, and Japanese chef Ryohei Hieda of Shoun RyuGin in Taipei, Taiwan.

Bar Convent Berlin – Berlin, Germany

Inside Bar Convent Berlin (image: BCB)

When: 7-9 October 2019

What: The Bar Convent Berlin attracts members of the drinks industry from five continents, who meet for three days during which they explore the large space with plenty of exhibitors, attend presentations from industry experts and take part in networking opportunities, as well as enjoy spin-off shows Brew Berlin and the Coffee Convent.

Who: In 2018, highlighted speakers included Tippling Club’s Joe Schofield – who won the Altos Bartenders’ Bartender award for The World’s 50 Best Bars 2018 – as well as Micah Melton of Aviary bar in New York.

Gastronomika – San Sebastian, Spain

The participating chefs on stage at Gastronomika (image: Gastronomika)

When: October 2019, dates TBC

What: Organised by some of Spain’s best chefs, among which Juan Mari Arzak, Martin Berasategui, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Eneko Atxa, Gastronomika celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. For the upcoming edition, the four-day festival will once again involve brilliant talks, masterclasses and tastings curated and attended by cooks from all over the world.

Who: While it’s still too early for the 2019 programme, in 2018 many Spanish culinary masters got on stage, including El Celler de Can Roca’s Joan Roca, Sant Pau’s Carme Ruscalleda and Mugaritz’s Aduriz. Visiting speakers included Yoshihiro Narisawa (Narisawa) from Japan, Rodolfo Guzmán (Boragó) from Chile and German Martitegui (Tegui) from Argentina.

NYC Wine & Food Festival – New York, USA

When: 10-13 October 2019

What: In 2018, the New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) raised nearly $1 million funding for the No Kid Hungry campaign and for Food Bank For New York City, to help end childhood hunger in America – if that is not reason enough to attend, then the rooftop dinners, culinary demos, tastings and events through Manhattan and Brooklyn may be.

Who: Last year, culinary superstars Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse got involved in the festival, hosting dinners and talks, and even American actor Neil Patrick Harris made an appearance.

Food on the Edge – Galway, Ireland

Inside Food on the Edge (image: FOTE)

When: 21-22 October 2019

What: Taking place for the fifth cosecutive year in Galway, Ireland, Food on the Edge will stay true to its original mission: to challenge your perspective on food with a focus on cultural, social, environmental and educational initiatives and perspectives from chefs around the world, with each speaker given only 15 minutes to expose their ideas.

Who: Renowned chefs fly in from all over the globe to attend Food on the Edge, with Alex Atala, Ben Shewry, Leonor Espinosa and Daniel Giusti among the confirmed speakers for 2019. In 2018, the stage hosted the elit Vodka World’s Best Female Chef Clare Smyth, Vladimir Mukhin from White Rabbit in Moscow, Russia, and Andoni Luis Aduriz from Mugaritz in Spain, among others.

Mesa São Paulo – São Paulo, Brazil

When: November 2019, dates TBC

What: Over four days in November, food lovers take over São Paulo to enjoy the programme of talks, workshops, family-friendly activities, dinners and much more. The festival is a celebration of Brazilian cuisine, but also a chance to learn more about other Latin American cuisines and ingredients, to network and to taste amazing fresh produce.

Who: The cream of Latin American gastronomy made for a strong line-up in 2018 – including Alex Atala of D.O.M., Venezuelan chef Carlos García of Altos (the winner of the Chefs’ Choice award, sponsored by Estrella Damm, at Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018), Claude Troigros of Olympe, Pía León of Kjolle and Malena Martínez of Mater Iniciativa, among many others.

Mistura – Lima, Peru

Mistura festival in Lima (image: Mistura)

When: October/November 2019, dates TBC

What: Following the last edition, Apega – the Peruvian Gastronomy Association that organizes the country’s largest food fair – has announced that for the first time in 2019, Mistura will not take place in Lima. It is rumoured it may be moving to Trujillo or Arequipa instead, but the festival will likely still include its brilliant programme of food and drinks events, concerts, a young chef competition and a food market.

Who: Peru is one of Latin America’s culinary powerhouses, and among the chefs likely to take part are local celebrities Mitsuharu Tsumura of Maido, Virgilio Martínez of Central, Gastón Acurio of Astrid y Gastón and José del Castillo of Isolina.

In 2019, The World's 50 Best Restaurants is also hosting #50BestTalks events, presented by Miele, in various cities around the world, starting on Monday 25th March in Macao in occasion of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019. Stay tuned for more dates and to find out how you can be involved.

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