Foodie tourism and escapes are big business

A Crawfish Festival in Tennessee draws thousands of foodies from all over the world.

BY RICHARD MOOREY


FOR MANY Canadians March is a month they look forward to every year. It’s that time of year when it’s still cold at home but signs of spring are starting to appear and it’s a perfect time to take a break and get away to somewhere warmer for a little while.

I think many of us choose March - not only because of the week long break our kids get from their studies at schoolÊ- but also for a little hope that when we arrive home, spring will be just around the corner.

Many of us use this time to head south of the border to visit our counterparts in the U.S. becuse the southern states gets, what we consider, some great summer-like weather this time of year.

Lately, with our cultural interest in enjoying and partaking in amazing food and beverage at an all-time high, many people are incorporating great eats into their recipes for making a perfect family vacation.

Foodie tourism has evolved into its own industry and it truly is a tastitude juggernaut.

With millions of people choosing destinations that not only provide a cold weather escape, it will also tickle the taste buds on arrival.

Foodie tourism and escapes have certainly become big business. Food festivals and celebrations that sometimes used to struggle to maintain attendance, and usually saw only locals milling around, are now experiencing big numbers with parking lots that are dotted with license plates from all over.

As a chef, I really enjoy the ability to travel and enjoy a break while still getting some seriously smashmouth eats.

Getting a peek at other food cultures, learning about new foods and getting to taste the amazing eats other places have to offer is just as appealing as enjoying warm weather, culture and architecture. The idea of being able to plan a vacay that can include anything from watermelon and sugar festivals, celebrity chef tours, chili cook-offs, coffee festivals, seafood and barbecue challenges and a multitude of other food expos is truly a foodie traveller’s dream.

It’s becoming commonplace to find food adventure vacations online and at your local travel agent office these days. Bookings for food festivals, restaurant tours, winery and distillery tours, week long getaways that include cooking classes and trips to world class open air markets are filling up just as fast as traditional cruises and beach getaways. It’s not unheard of to have celebrity chef tours that have fans following their show dates much like rockers and groupies used to follow their favourite bands from city to city while on tours.

So if you’re a serious foodie and heading south of the border later this month take a sneak peek at just a handful of some of the amazing exciting eats excursions that you can incorporate into your getaway and see if you can resist modifying your travel plans this year. My guess is that you may be logging in to your travel planner in to include a warm weather food adventure into your 2017 travel too.


South of the Border March Food Events 2017

March 17-18, 2017 NC Watermelon Association 36th Annual Convention - Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

March 17-19, 2017 Coffee Fest Nashville - Nashville, Tennessee

March 18, 2017 Annual BBQ & Blues Cook-Off - Foley, Alabama

March 18, 2017 Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon - San Francisco, California

March 18, 2017 Annual Clewiston Sugar Festival - Clewiston, Florida

March 18, 2017 Taste of the Sea & Sandy Shoes Seafood Festival - Fort Pierce, Florida

March 18, 2017 - Celebrity Chef Tour- Travelers Rest, South Carolina

March 18, 2017 15th Annual Wild Hog Explosion - Bandera, Texas

March 18-19, 2017 - Louisiana Chili Cook-Offs - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

March 18-19, 2017 13th Annual Oregon Cheese Festival - Central Point, Oregon

March 21, 2017 - Celebrity Chef Tour- St. Louis, Missouri

March 22-26, 2017 Flavor! Napa Valley- Napa, California

March 23-25, 2017 National Coffee Association Annual Convention - Austin, Texas

March 23-26, 2017 Louisiana Crawfish Festival - Chalmette, Louisiana

March 23-26, 2017 Outer Banks Taste of The Beach - North Carolina

March 24-25, 2017 Hammond Smokin’ BBQ Challenge - Hammond, Louisiana

March 24-26, 2017 11th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival - Petaluma, California

March 24-26, 2017 Food + Wine Festival Palm Desert - Palm Springs, California

March 24-26, 2017 9th Annual Wine & Seafood Festival - Clermont, Florida

March 24-26, 2017 Heintz and Becker De Soto Seafood Festival - Palmetto, Florida

March 25, 2017 Great American Barbeque & Beer Festival - Chandler, Arizona

March 25, 2017 Kentucky Bourbon Festival Sampler - Bardstown, Kentucky

March 25, 2017 Texas Onion Fest - Weslaco, Texas

March 25-26, 2017 Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest - Albuquerque, New Mexico

March 25-29, 2017 American Bakers Association Annual Convention - Boca Raton, Florida

March 25-26 & March 29-April 2, 2017 Annual Pennsylvania Maple Festival - Meyersdale, Pennsylvania

March 26, 2017 32nd Annual World Championship Crawfish Etouffee Cook-off - Eunice, Louisiana

March 26, 2016 Flavors of Twin Cities - Minneapolis, Minnesota

March 26, 2017 8th Annual Paella Challenge - San Antonio, Texas

March 27-30, 2017 International Pizza Expo - Las Vegas, Nevada

March 27-April 2, 2017 Citrus County Fair - Inverness, Florida

March 29, 2017 Celebrity Chef Tour - Minneapolis, Minnesota

March 29-April 1, 2017 NBBQA Annual Conference & BBQ Bash - Fort Worth, Texas

March 29-April 2, 2017 84th Annual Western Candy Conference - Ojai, California

March 30, 2017 McAllen Food Festival - McAllen, Texas

March 30-31, 2017 Vegas Food Expo - Las Vegas, Nevada

March 31, 2017 Empty Bowl Hawaii - Hololulu, Hawaii

March 31-April 1, 2017 Rotary Club 39th Annual Catfish Festival - Crescent City, Florida

March 31-April 1, 2017 Baconfest Chicago - Chicago, Illinois

March 31-April 1, 2017 Atoka BBQ Fest - Atoka, Tennessee

March 31-April 2, 2017 Annual Rhythm and Ribs Festival - St. Augustine, Florida

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