Those of you with plans to travel overseas this summer can go the safe, predictable route and cradle your croissants outside some sunny Parisian café, or nibble on foamy tapas along a Barcelona boulevard. Wake me when you return. Or you can head to America's motherland and take part in these unique food extravaganzas. From oyster parades to gravy-wresting championships, here are five passports to epicurean paradise, brought to you by VisitEngland:
EAT! NewcastleGateshead, June 12-27
"Festival highlights include... the Pearly Diner, a restaurant where diners can choose ANYTHING they want to eat, and Cakebook, which sees 100 iconic structures and buildings from NewcastleGateshead modeled out of cake." We called to make sure, and yes, guests must bring their own milk.
Pontefract Liquorice Festival, July 1-31
"The liquorice capital of England, located in Yorkshire, will welcome this celebratory event with a host of items made from the black root available to sample, as well as family-themed events and a town centre parade." Formerly known as the Black Tooth Festival.
Whitstable Oyster Fair, July 24-30
"Highlights at the annual fair include events such as the Landing of the Oyster ceremony and the Oyster Parade, as well as walks and talks around Old Whitstable and the harbour." We suggest taking along an umbrella just in case the oyster landing goes off course.
Pennine Lancashire Festival of Food and Culture, August 14 - September 14
"Encompassing 60 events across 600 square miles of Pennine Lancashire,
this colourful cultural carnival will include extraordinary events such
as the World Gravy Wrestling Championships, culinary canal cruises,
opera and strawberries, steam train lunches, ale trails and medieval
food markets." When they run out of strawberries, they switch to folk music and raspberries.
Totally Tomato Show, September 4-5
"At the show in West Sussex more than 150 varieties of tomato will be
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on display as competitors compete for the spot of tastiest tomato, and
tips and demonstrations are given on tomato-growing and tomato
recipes." Because we all know that England grows the finest tomatoes in the world.