Food Festivals have become a standard warm weather feature of many communities worldwide. There are so many variations to this widely celebrated feast of culinary arts. Some food festivals are simply restaurants rolling up in food trucks and light tents barbequing roadside and serving up hot dogs, pizza, and burgers. The range goes through to some chefs preparing gourmet dishes, including lobster bisque and escargots, all the while in just a small 3 x 3 meter outdoor tent.
We experienced several of these culinary tributes this summer, and they ranged widely. The Taste of Chicago, possibly the very first open air food festival, had a massive scale in size and yet an extremely casual open flavor. The festival consisted of a mix of restaurant trucks serving Gino’s Pizza, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, and Chicago-style Hot Dogs to tents in varying shapes and sizes, with Cajun, Seafood, Italian and Asian cuisine, to name but a few.
The ambiance was very casual, with a large stage set up with country and rock music acts throughout the week long event. The party atmosphere included fun for the kids in large tented areas with bounce castle and video games.
The entrance was free, but the cost of each food purchase included an upcharge..sort of like a cover charge for the event. In all, we found it to be fun, but not anything out of the ordinary in terms of culinary delights.
Contrasting the Taste of Chicago, was the Atlantic City Wine & Food Festival. This had all the flair of an upscale culinary festival, with Celebrity Chefs headlining the days including Martha Stewart, Robert Irvine and Marcus Samuelson. Special Events with the Celebrity Chefs included a Blues Barbeque Dinner, a Burger Beach Brunch, and several Dining by the Sea Events.
The Grand Market included tasting tents with many different chef and restaurant offers. We tasted lobster bisque and clam chowder, tiny fish tacos, grilled scallops, even escargots. And the desserts included delicious mini cupcakes, and samples of apple cake and fruit tarts. It was really a foodie paradise.
We found the latter event to be more to our liking, as we were able to sample various culinary delights from some reknown chefs. We also had the ability to meet and greet with the chefs, and see some chefs perform live cooking demonstrations. As foodies, we liked this format best. But the open casual atmosphere, as mothers, we enjoyed the Taste of Chicago, as it was a fun family day out.
We hope, in the very near future, to offer Kuwait a blend of each of these events, to address both the culinary side of our interests, as well as make it a great family day out.