Will travel for food: Events designed to tickle the taste buds

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As the season warms, food festivals flood the calendar. One of them, Rolling Kitchens, turns a disused gasworks in Amsterdam into a pop-up, open-air restaurant. The event happens May 8-10.

As the season warms, food festivals flood the calendar. One of them, Rolling Kitchens, turns a disused gasworks in Amsterdam into a pop-up, open-air restaurant. The event happens May 8-10. (Teddy Lauren/iamamsterdam)

Food, glorious food, is not only the fuel but the impetus behind many a gourmand’s travels. Here are just a few upcoming events catering to both body and soul.

Schwetzingen, Germany: Spargel Samstag, or Asparagus Saturday, is a day for celebrating the country’s favorite spring veg. White asparagus is cultivated by depriving it of light as it grows, resulting in a more subtle and delicate flavor than that of its green cousin. The pedestrian zone of this city near Heidelberg best known for its stately palace is the place to sample dishes made of asparagus, enjoy live music and peruse the shops for bargains until 8 p.m. Entry is free. Online: tinyurl.com/32j9u722

Throughout the United Kingdom: Foodie Festivals are celebrations of high-quality local food and drink held at 14 locations across the land. First launched in Edinburgh in 2006, these traveling festivals unite locally operating artisanal producers and street food traders with nationally known TV chefs, bakers and other personalities of the culinary scene. Live cooking theaters provide the chefs with the stages they need to shine and pass on skills to their viewers. Winners and finalists from TV cooking shows including “MasterChef” and “The Great British Bake Off” also take part in the Foodies tours. Tutored tastings of wine, sparkling beverages, beer, cider and other drinks are offered at the Drinks Theatre while a Kids Cookery theater gives young visitors the chance to learn basic cooking skills and discover new tastes. Music performed live on stage by top artists is the icing on the cake. The 2024 schedule of festivals includes stops in Brighton on May 4-6; Cardiff on May 10-12; London on May 25-27; St Albans on June 7-9; Bath on June 21-23; Chelmsford on July 5-7; Turnbridge Wells on July 12-14; Tatton Park on July 19-21; Winchester on Aug. 2-4; Edinburgh on Aug. 9-11; Glasgow on Aug. 24-26; Oxford on Aug. 30-Sept. 1; Guildford on Sept. 6-8; and Norwich Sept. 6-8. Ticket prices vary according to date and who’s appearing on stage. For example, a ticket to the St Albans event at which Blue performs on June 1 goes for 21 UK pounds (about $26.15) or 46 UK pounds for a family of two adults and two children. Online: foodiesfestival.com

Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rolling Kitchens, or Rollende Keukens in Dutch, is a food festival featuring dozens of food trucks or mobile kitchens parked at Westergas, a disused gasworks converted into a cultural space. Tasty bites from around the world are served at this pop-up, open-air restaurant. Other trucks serve cocktails, wine, beer and a variety of soft and health drinks. Bands on stage help guests dance off the delicacies in which they’ve indulged. The event always takes place around the long Ascension Day weekend, which falls May 8-10 in 2024. Festival hours run from 1 p.m.-11 p.m., and entry is free. Westergas is about half an hour’s walk from Amsterdam Central Station; alternately, take tram number 5. Online: tinyurl.com/jey7f6tz

Gent, Belgium: Gent Smaakt, Or Gent Tastes, sees more than 60 food stands from the city and local area set up at four locations across the city’s gorgeously medieval historical core. The offerings at this festival set for May 8-12 hail from around the world and range from fiery hot Asian curries to healthy Mediterranean salads. A number of chefs, from rising stars to long-recognized culinary geniuses, are on hand to show off their skills. DJs provide a musical backdrop as evening morphs into night. While entry to the festival itself is free, a number of workshops require advance sign-up and charge an admission fee. Some of the possibilities include a demo of cooking over an open fire (May 9); a specialty coffee brewing seminar (May 10); a craft beer and cheese tasting session (May 10); an intro to the beverage known as kombucha (May 11); and an introduction to jangs, the sauces which lend Korean dishes their specific flavors (May 12). On all days, a zone set up at the Goudenleeuweplein from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. caters to young visitors; entry is free, but advance sign-up is a must. Online: gentsmaakt.be/en

Antwerp, Belgium: Antwerp Proeft is the name given to the culinary festival set up May 9-12 at the Waagnatie. Here, the signature dishes of the city’s best restaurants are offered as tasting menus at a fraction of their normal prices. About 40 restaurants serving close to 90 different menus await discovery here. Belgium’s top TV chefs and rising stars are on board, as are artisanal producers and the owners of specialty shops. Cooking demos and workshops, served up alongside sweeping views of the busy waters of the Scheldt, add to the festival’s appeal. The restaurants on site have partially covered stands and terraces, should the weather fail to cooperate. Payment takes place by means of a voucher system. Vouchers going for 1.50 euros each serve as the only means of payment for the food and drink available at all stands. The cost of the sampling dishes ranges from 6 to 9 euros. Entry to the festival itself costs 11.40 euros when tickets are ordered online in advance. Online: proeft.be

Vienna, Austria: Three days of al fresco dining await visitors to the Austrian capital’s City Park on May 10-12, where more than 100 exhibitors will gather to present their wares, a mix of mostly locally-produced delicacies from field and forest, lake and stream. Things to try here can range from cheese dumplings from the mountains of Tyrol to a spicy paprika dish from Burgenland, a region bordering Hungary. Several stations provide a behind-the-scenes look at how these culinary treats are produced. Entry to the park and festival is free. Online: festival.genussregionen.at

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