12 Essential Fall And Winter Food Festivals Around The World

Autumn has officially arrived, and sadly it's time to squeeze in one last summer ale. If the end of backyard BBQ season has got you down, fear not! The fall and winter months bring with them food and drink festivals worth planning a trip around— with focuses ranging from the appreciation of rum to the science behind truffle cultivation. Food Republic is here to point you to the most promising upcoming culinary celebrations. Look at them as perfect excuses to take that long overdue voyage halfway around the world. Or, if you're lucky, a short jaunt down the street.

Great American Beer Festival

October 11-13, 2012

Denver, CO

Craft beer is all the rage these days. What better way to get in on the craze than to sample over 2,000 of them at the largest ticketed beer festival in the country? Founded in 1982, the annual Great American Beer Festival takes place at the Colorado Convention Center this year. Our columnist thoroughly enjoyed his visit last year, trying some pretty curious and strange carbonated brews. Over 100 global beer judges from around the world evaluate beer in associated competitions, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals in over 80 categories. greatamericanbeerfestival.com

New York City Wine & Food Festival

October 11-14, 2012

New York, NY

There's classy booze. There's drawn-out meals with legends like David Bouley. There's Mario Batali and fellow chefs roasting Anthony Bourdain. Events range from a master sushi rolling class with Morimoto to "Cocktails and Caviar" to "The Dinner to End All Dinners." The fifth year of the New York City Wine & Food Festival is gearing up to be the festival's biggest. NYCWFF brings together icons from around the globe and America's most-loved television chefs, with 100 percent of the net proceeds going to community-based organizations benefitting hunger-relief. This year's all-star cast includes Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Food Republic co-founder Marcus Samuelsson and Paula Deen. (Also, enter for a chance to win tickets: Giveaway: NYC Wine and Food Fest Tickets). nycwineandfoodfestival.com

Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival

November 1-4, 2012

Hong Kong, China

Imagine biting into an egg-battered golden shrimp while gazing out at one of the world's most spectacular skylines. That would not suck. Organized annually by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival was named as one of the world's top 10 international food and wine festivals by Forbes. Visit over 280 booths serving premium wines from 19 countries, along with 70 booths serving award-winning Asian, Western and local dishes. The Themed Nights area puts on nightly live performances from bands around the world. discoverhongkong.com

International Gourmet Festival

November 8-18, 2012

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

No one could fault you for immediately associating Mexico with the world's best mezcals and tequilas. You might also jump to conclusions about the country's lack of safety. Lesser known is that several of its main cities have evolved into major hubs for global cuisine, and no stage shines brighter than the one at The International Gourmet Festival in Puerto Vallarta. First held in 1995, the festival invites around 30 noted international chefs for the 10-day celebrations. festivalgourmet.com

Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival

November 16-19, 2012

Barbados, Caribbean

Choosing between sipping silky rum and lying on the beach can present a near-impossible dilemma. The Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival actually a̶l̶l̶o̶w̶s̶ encourages visitors to do both at once. Marcus Samuelsson headlines this year's lineup of five celebrated international chefs leading cooking demonstrations and meal presentations in the culinary capital of the Caribbean. The festival's rum seminars and tastings led by mixologist Chesterfield Browne promise to be some of the most popular events. Additionally, a recipe is included for the island's famed national cocktail, rum punch. foodwinerum.com

Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival

December 7-11, 2012

Palm Beach, FL

A good cause, great weather and exceptional food are all vital ingredients in a winning recipe. Celebrated guests including the Le Cirque family, David Burke, Daniel Boulud and Chris Hastings will be on hand to attend the festival's sixth year. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from the events, which include cocktail hours, receptions and sit-down dinners, will benefit the participating chefs' charities of choice. pbfoodwinefest.com

The Taste Festival

December 28, 2012 – January 3, 2013

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Australia has a lot to offer when it comes to food. What better way to welcome in the New Year than at Tasmania's largest annual event? Taste returns for its 24th year, with an astounding 500,000 people estimated to visit over the one-week period. The festival is held in Hobart's Salamanca and waterfront areas and showcases a wide array of local seafood, along with fruits from local orchards. Features of the celebration include art exhibitions and performance stages and a wide range of international cuisine – from Persian to Indian to Spanish – all made with fresh Tasmanian ingredients. tastefestival.com.au

Napa Truffle Festival

January 18-21, 2013

Napa, CA

It seems like just about every food has a day dedicated to it (To wit: Read our Made-Up Food and Drink Holidays We'd Like To See). Now it's time for individual ingredients to have their own festival. Travel to wine country to witness the truffle receive an entire weekend of recognition, as The American Truffle Company returns for the third annual Napa Truffle Festival. Some of the best chefs in the world known for their truffle cuisine will join the most experienced "truffle experts and scientists," recognized for their expertise and data on truffle cultivation. Get dirty learning how to forage for mushrooms, browse the expansive artisan marketplace or kick your feet back and feast on a truffle-based dinner prepared by three Michelin-starred chefs. napatrufflefestival.com

Beaver Creek Food & Wine Weekend

January 24-27, 2013

Beaver Creek, CO

A day on the slopes, followed by an extravagant dinner, prepared by some of the world's best chefs. Not a bad way to spend a day, right? Welcome to the second annual Beaver Creek Food & Wine Weekend. Chefs John Besh, Anthony Giglio, Tim Love, Alex Seidel, Gail Simmons and Sam Talbot will be among those producing the palate-pleasing extravaganza featuring casual, interactive and fun events from après-ski to exclusive dinners. Stay tuned for more information and an updated schedule of events from beavercreek.com

Identità Golose

February 10-12, 2013

Milan, Italy

The website's all in Italian, but you might want to ask that Italian-speaking friend for some translation advice, then book a ticket to Milan for this annual conference that talks food in one of the best culinary languages on the planet. If you're in NYC next week, there's a preview at Identità New York at Eataly, which features cooking demos and dinners that includes an all-star lineup including men who only need one name introductions like Ducasse, Batali and Botura. Check out Eataly's website for details about next weekend's NYC events. Identita.it

South Beach Wine & Food Festival

February 21-24, 2013

Miami Beach, FL

Join several of the same celebrities from the New York Festival, as well as personalities such as Todd English and Danny Meyer, as they take their talents to South Beach. Now in its 12th year, the festival drew more than 60,000 guests last year to nearly 50 events with more than 150 celebrated chefs and over 250 wineries, spirits producers and non-alcoholic beverage suppliers. Special events for 2013 include a tribute dinner for Nobu Matsuhisa with Mistress of Ceremonies Martha Stewart and a celebrity chef golf tournament. Yes, start planning ahead for this one. sobefest.com

BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival

February 28-March 3, 2013

Charleston, SC

Charleston's restaurant scene broke big on the national radar in 2012, so you've gotta think that this late-winter fest will bring the buzz to South Carolina. Husk, McCrady's, Oak Steakhouse and others will rep for this burgeoning city while serious national talent (from Acheson to Zimmern) descend, probably to see what all the fuss is about. Any way you slice it, this fest promises amazing 'cue, sizzling culinary conversation and probably some healthy debate about foraging. charlestonwineandfood.com

Also worth noting: Madrid Fusion 2013, Dates TBD, January 21-23, madridfusion.net