Just because perennial food-festival favorites like the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and innovative upstarts like Sud de France came and went already this year doesn't mean that summer's good eats are completely over. Below, five food fests well worth planning a trip around.
Rockaway Beach, New York; July 11-13
The French-food-fest staple gets out of the city for a weekend and heads to the summer hotspot. Though the beach is the main draw, check out this lineup: Mexican food god Enrique Olvera, whose new Cosme restaurant opens any day now, will be serving red chilaquiles and burrata; Trois Mec's Ludo Lefebvre makes a grilled veal breast; and Momofuku Milk Bar's Christina Tosi will have grapefruit popsicles on hand. Plus, DJ sets by Cibo Matto, Nancy Whang, and YACHT (have you downloaded their app yet?) with live sets from the New York Brass Band, make it the ultimate weekend beach party. Friday tickets ($40) were still available last we checked; it's otherwise sold out.
Finger Lakes Wine Festival
Upstate New York; July 11-13
Sure, you can get a delicious 2012 Grüner Veltliner from Hazlitt and a 2012 Caywood East Vineyard dry Riesling at this secluded wine fête, and you should. But the best thing about the Finger Lakes Wine Festival are the nearby restaurants like Dano's, an Austrian-style tasting room where you can pair duck sausages and seasonal strudel with that same Grüner or, if you prefer, a local beer like Wagner. Sneak a stop at the Mirbeau Inn for its 10,000-square-foot spa where treatment rooms come with fireplaces, and there's a creative selection of Swedish, Thai, and deep-tissue massages. Tickets range from $25 to $65.
Todos Santos, Mexico; August 1-4
If you can find this insider-y, delicious festival in the region's surf hideaway-slash-art haven (try the non-beach side and look for the firemen), then you have all the reason you need to fly to Mexico. Expect to see cooking demonstrations (lots of use of mangos, we expect), live music, and horse races. Stay in one of the new beach-facing villas at Las Ventanas in Cabo San Lucas and take the 30-minute drive up Highway 19. Or kick back at local spots like the oceanfront mecca Rancho Pescadero or Hacienda Cerritos, which has the most secluded beach in the region. And don't forget to try the traditional Mexican chile rellenos at Miguel's. No advance tickets. Prices vary.
Shrimp and Grits Cook-Off
Charleston, South Carolina; August 30
Need an excuse to visit the Old South for Labor Day weekend? Sixteen chefs take on the Low Country's staple crustacean, from restaurants including Leaf, Hall's Chophouse, and Amen Street, along with Aaron Lemieux, chef behind the newly opened Victor Social Club. Stick around and check out the city's other great dishes and drinks of the moment, including the pork neck from Two Boroughs Larder, the raw bar at The Ordinary, wood-fired pizzas from Social Wine Bar, and deviled eggs from the year-old Warehouse for a late-night (at least, what passes for late-night in Charleston) snack. Tickets are $35 at the door and $30 pre-purchased.
The Taste (pictured above)
Los Angeles; August 29-31
The LA Times hosts five events over three days with a bevy of celebrated chefs including Nancy Silverton, Michael Cimarusti, Thomas Keller, John Sedlar, a bunch of Times writers and editors, as well as renowned bartenders like Julian Cox. What kinds of events? In addition to opening night festivities, "Field to Fork" celebrates Southern California's farmers market ingredients and includes a Silverton cooking demo; "Dinner With a Twist" features a demo inspired by the event's theme pairing L.A.'s food and cocktails; "Sunday Brunch" pairs the Times Test Kitchen director with Keller, paying tribute to, well, brunch; and Flavors of LA (hosted by restaurant critic Jonathan Gold with co-host Cimarusti) brings various dishes from LA's best eateries as well as a cooking demo. Tickets are between $100 and $150; $299 for a weekend pass.