For those have a special place in their heart for food, there’s no better time than summer. Sure, hearty winter fare can certainly fill you up and warm your soul on a cold evening, but summer is the heyday of the Food Festival - the greatest of epicurean events. As befits its massive size and diverse cultures, Canada
hosts a staggering selection of food and drink festivals, from the refined to the gluttonous and just about everything in between. Wouldn’t it be the trip of a lifetime to travel across the country
, sampling foodie delights along the way?
We can help you there. Although there’s a few summer fests that you may have missed already, there are plenty more in store. See our suggestions below for the food festival road trip planner that you’ve always wanted.
1. Festibière de Québec
Once you’ve picked up your Montreal car rental
at the airport, you’re all set to go. Head northeast for a little under 3 hours and you’ll find yourself at one of the finest celebrations of beer in North America. Boasting unique offerings from microbreweries that you’d never otherwise get to hear about, this fest is one for those who really care about their beer. And of course you need food to go with your beer. Over sixty different top quality vendors will be in attendance, giving you plenty of choice when it comes to selecting the ideal pairing for your artisanal ale. It kicks off on the 13th of August; get there at the start to experience all you can before it’s time to move on.
Once you’re safe to drive again, take a day’s trip to Toronto by the 15th of August to take in Sweetery. This is an event completely devoted to that most wonderful of all courses: dessert. Two days of events, demonstrations and all the confections that the most rotten sweet tooth could desire, Sweetery is an exercise in decadence. It also acts as a showcase for Toronto’s culinary arts scene, with postgraduate students from George Brown College’s Chef School presenting their creations as part of their final evaluation. What’s more, each pastry sold by the postgrads brings them closer to the next part of their culinary journey in France! Supporting the local community has never been so indulgent.
3. Milton Ribfest
Milton, Ontario is really just a stone’s throw away from Toronto
’s Sweetery, so you’ll have a few days to rest and relax in the city
. You’ll need the recuperation time too - Milton Ribfest is a gastronomic monster of a three day event which starts on the 21st of August. As you can guess, ribs are front and center here: 7 different world famous ‘ribbers’ entice festival goers with sticky, gooey, succulent morsels that could make a carnivore out of the most dedicated vegetarian. Thousands flock to the Milton Ribfest to take in the music, the beer and of course mountains and mountains of tasty ribs.
4. Festival de la Poutine
For many, the Ribfest will be the end of the road. Weighed down by ungodly amounts of delicious meat, the thought of continuing on to sample more food could well seem redundant at best. But if you managed to exercise a modicum of restraint and wish to take in one more glorious foodie experience, it’s time to head back to Québec
for a festival set in the birthplace of Canada’s most iconic specialty: poutine. For the uninitiated, poutine features french fries and cheese curds topped in a light gravy-like sauce. The description really doesn’t do it any justice though - this is something you have to try for yourself. Drummondville’s Festival de la Poutine starts on the 27th of August and features a stellar lineup of French-Canadian musicians, in addition to more varieties of Canada’s signature dish than you can shake a stick at.
From Drummondville it’s just a couple hours back to drop off your car rental at Montreal airport and head home with a full belly and many happy memories.
Do you think we missed any essential food fests? Have you done a foodie road trip before in another part of the country, or the world? Let us know in the comments.