Waiter there's a bug in my soup
Bugs are eaten around the world and viewed by some as the only truly sustainable food source, so there is a glut of food events across the globe that celebrates the versatility of the bug. One of the biggest and best is the annual Bugfest held at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.
While there are many activities, exhibits and displays that are family friendly, the highlight is the Cafe Insecta, which is exactly as its name suggests. This boasts a menu that includes such delicacies as cricket chip cookies, ant enchiladas, stir fried scorpions and everyone's favourite, the selection of bugs that come together to create the What's In Your garden? Lava Cake.
Night of the Radishes
The humble radish is held in great esteem in Mexico, and woe betide you if you try and eat any of the exhibits taking centre stage at the Night of the Radishes, or Noche de Rábanos festival held every year in Oaxaca. This has been an official Mexican festival since 1987 and much time and effort goes into growing radishes worthy of being a part of the event.
Measuring as much as 2 feet long, and weighing over 10lbs, the radishes are then carved into intricate designs with cultural or religious undertones and can be entered as individuals or as part of a scene. The prize for the artisan who is judged to have put in the most time and effort is....their picture in the local paper.
Road Kill Festival
You would be forgiven for thinking all road kill is the same, and you would be right, if you were anywhere but West Virginia during their road kill festival. The animals who suffer the fate are given a ranking, and you will see competitors being judged on the quality of their armadillo, possums and cats to name but a few, tyre tracks and all. At the end of it there is, of course, a Road Kill Queen crowned, and if there is a food event weirder than this then it will be pretty hard to find.
The meat with the mystery ingredients, Spam, is like Marmite in that you either love it or loathe it. The annual Spam Jam festival in Hawaii is a celebration of this 'spiced ham' that soared in popularity during WWII. There are many who think Monty Python when they hear the word Spam thanks to their sketch which used the word to describe anything that was inescapable and ubiquitous, and your fascinating fact for the day is that this is where the name for Spam mail came from.
Oranges are not only fruit
The Ivrea Orange Festival in Italy is where participants split into 9 combat teams and for ammunition use, surprise surprise, oranges. The result is noisy, messy and very sticky. This celebration of the Battle of the Oranges is in honour of the town’s liberation from tyranny in the Middle Ages and it is taken very seriously.
The final food event on our list takes place in Gilroy California, the world's unofficial garlic capital, so you can guess what this festival celebrates. Over 100,000 visitors flock to the Gilroy Garlic Festival and eat an eye water 2.5 tons of the stuff while there.
The festival website claims that 72 tons of garlic have been used during the 29 years the event has been taking place, and this is the place for you if you have a penchant for garlic ice cream and the winner of last years great garlic cook-off; walnut and garlic tart with chilli syrup and garlic infused cream, tic tac anyone?
So do you fancy making a trip to one of these? Or do you think you’ll stick with county fairs and organic food markets!
Main Photo - Source: Tourism on the edge
27 June 2013 - Dan Browne