August is a day away and it's time to look at some of the more interesting and important food and drink events going on in the next month and a bit beyond that. You'll find celebrity chef dinners, craft beer festivals, international summits, and crowd-pleasing staples, all of which are worth the drive or even a flight or two. The docket includes an Omnivore stop in Montreal, a Cochon party in St. Helena, a hot sauce festival in Austin, and the glitzy Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival.
When: July 30 - August 5, 2012
Where: San Francisco, California
What: A festival featuring a pretty wonderful lineup of chefs from the area, among them Gary Danko, Tyler Florence, Charles Phan, Hubert Keller, Joanne Weir, and Russell Jackson.
Taste of the Nation
When: August 2012
Where: Multiple cities
What: These events are great: eat food from some of the best restaurants in the country while helping fight childhood hunger. This month they'll make a stop in Chicago (August 8), Atlanta (August 19), and Orlando (August 25).
Maine Lobster Festival
When: August 1-5, 2012
Where: Rockland, Maine
What: This festival has been going on for over sixty years, so you can expect them to have their stuff together, even if there's an almost comical amount of stuff going on. Leave it to them to describe it: "nine tents, the world’s greatest lobster cooker, a sea goddess, a big parade, top notch entertainment, an international crate race, fine art, talented crafts people and vendors, US Navy ship tours, all you can eat pancakes, US Coast Guard Station tours," and more.
Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival
When: August 9 - 12, 2012
Where: Los Angeles, California
What: This festival boasts an impressive lineup of chefs that, rather sensibly, shows a strong emphasis on the west coast. There's Michael Chiarello, Susan Feniger, Hubert Keller, Charles Phan, Mark Peel, and a whole bunch more taking part in dinners, lunches, cooking demos, and tastings throughout the city.
Beaver Creek Wine & Spirits Festival
When: August 9 - 11, 2012
Where: Vail, Colorado
What: This festival, sponsored by Wine Spectator, takes place in the stunning, acclaimed Beaver Creek Resort and features a manageable schedule of tastings, hikes, and dinners. No big star power here.
When: August 16 - 20, 2012
What: Omnivore, the alternative gastronomic publication and event organizer, will make the next stop of its 2012 world tour in Montreal. As with most of their affairs, this one will be made up of demos, parties, and dinner collaborations between local and visiting chefs.
San Francisco Street Food Festival
When: August 18, 2012
Where: San Francisco
What: There are far more unpleasant things than heading down to Folsom Street in San Francisco's Mission District on a summer's day to try street food from restaurants like the Slanted Door, Il Cane Rosso, and A16. You can buy credit for the festival in advance here.
Music City Festival and Barbecue Championship
When: August 24-25, 2012
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
What: Get hot, sweaty, drunk, full, and probably very happy at this two-day festival in Nashville. The festivities consist of a barbecue competition open to professionals and amateurs, a beer garden, and live music along Riverfront Park. Also: a cornhole tournament.
Cochon Heritage Fire
When: August 25, 2012
Where: St. Helena, California
What: This is Cochon 555 second largest event, an outdoor party in St. Helena that not only includes pigs but meat from all sorts of heritage breeds.
Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival
When: August 26, 2012
Where: Austin, Texas
What: The Austin Chronicle has been putting on this festival for twenty-two years now, and this time around you can expect the usual: a hot sauce competition, plenty of food vendors, and live music. It takes place at Fiesta Gardens.
Cochon Heritage BBQ
When: August 31 - September 2, 2012
Where: Memphis, TN
What: This is another upcoming Cochon 555 event, a three-day Labor Day barbecue that brings in 1000 people to Memphis. Lots of parties, lots of bourbon
When: October 7 - 10, 2012
Where: San Sebastian, Spain
What: Gastronomika is one of the monster chefs congresses in the world, a kind of UN for the world of food. This year the festival returns in October and not November, as is usually the case, with a focus on France and its chefs: included in the lineup are Pascal Barbot, Yves Camdeborde, Mauro Colagreco, Michel Bras. Non-French presenters include René Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, and most of the Spanish staples.
When: May 20 - 22
Where: Mexico City
What: At the conclusion of the inaugural Mesamerica last week, Chef Enrique Olvera and the organizers of the congress announced that David Kinch, René Redzepi, Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, and Alex Atala had already been confirmed for next year's event, which will take place in May.