40-Plus Food Fests for Every Palate
In San Francisco there’s apt to be a food experience that will pique the palate of most foodies and the fare literally run the gamut from A to Z: artichokes to Zinfandel. Here’s a quick calendar of some savory selections and if we’ve missed any, let us know. We’ve also included a few taste bud ticklers from the Northern California area as well.
To learn more about the local foodie scene try one of the food-focused tours or opt for a home-cooked meal arranged by EatWith which matches guests with hosts who range from professionally-trained Michelin-starred chefs to accomplished home cooks with a passion for great food. You can also find your next culinary adventure with these handy apps.
The Zinfandel Experience (ZAP)
The Presidio and Four Seasons Hotel
Zinfandel, often called America’s heritage wine, is the draw here. Savor the flavors of this authentically American varietal and experience its distinctly classic personality at several extraordinary events. More than 250 wineries participate in this food and wine tasting which draws some 10,000 wine lovers.
San Francisco Beer Week
Local craft beer legacy and culture celebrated with as many as 150 events including beer dinners, cheese and beer pairing events; meet the brewer evenings, demonstrations, music and films from Monterey to Sacramento and beyond.
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Fort Mason Center
More than 5,000 wine lovers converge to enjoy breath taking views of the Golden Gate Bridge, outstanding food, conversations and a bit of education, as they peruse samples from more than 800 wineries.
Black Cuisine Festival
1706 Yosemite at Third Street
Kiddieland, dancing, a soul food contest, marketplace and live music are among the draws at this annual tribute to black cuisine.
San Francisco International Chocolate Salon
Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion
Those with a yen for chocolate can indulge in artisan, gourmet and premium chocolate from more than 50 chocolatiers and confectioners. Non-chocolate exhibitors and artisans will be on hand as well including wineries participating in the San Francisco Invitational Wine Salon.
Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, 950 Mason St.
Culinary competition which is part of a national tour includes three-day feast showcasing the best bites, chefs and who’s who of good food movement. Five chefs, five pigs and five winemakers promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs.
Food & Farm Film Fest
A film festival focused on food also includes a few tasty bits from local chefs who create pairings for each day’s films. Festival proceeds support 18 Reasons, a San Francisco-based nonprofit offering nutrition and cooking classes in low-income communities.
TAPAS Grand Wine Tasting
Golden Gate Club, Presidio of San Francisco
Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society (TAPAS) showcases top Tempranillo bottlings as well as other Iberian varietal wines. Almost 30 TAPAS member vintners pour small lot wines that are not widely available.
Uncorked – The San Francisco Wine Festival
Ghirardelli Square, 415-775-5500
Enjoy tastings from a variety of Bay Area wineries and experience the ambience of the waterfront and entertainment throughout Ghirardelli Square and along Beach Street.
San Francisco International Beer Festival
Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion
Sample more than 300 incredible beers from some of the best craft brewers in the world as well as a variety of offerings from some of San Francisco’s best restaurants. Must be 21 or over to enter.
Eat Drink SF
Fort Mason Center, 415-782-2071
Chefs, wine and spirits are celebrated in this interactive urban food and wine festival featuring local talent and regional ingredients in a series of tastings, classes, dinners and events.
Noe Valley Wine Walk
24th Street from Diamond to Chattanooga, 800-310-6563
Merchants offer wine samples, finger foods and special treats; attendees who wish to sample purchase tasting wristband prior to event and receive wine glass and map with all tasting locations.
Let the sake ﬂow! Sake tasting events feature a variety of major sake brands of Japan as well as key players in the sake business in the Bay Area, from distilleries, distributors to retailers.
Noe Valley Wine Walk
24th Street from Diamond to Chattanooga, 800-310-6563
Merchants offer wine samples, finger foods and special treats; attendees who wish to sample purchase tasting purchase wristband prior to event and receive wine glass and map with all tasting locations.
Cochon Heritage BBQ
Magnolia Brewing Company
Friendly competition between five chefs cooking whole pig for 20 celebrity judges. Event also features “World BBQ Fair” exhibition showcasing top chefs cooking a multitude of global grilling expressions such as hibachi, asado and satay.
Oktoberfest By The Bay
Pier 48 near AT&T Park, 888-746-7522
Bringing Munich’s autumn beer festival to the Bay, Oktoberfest features non-stop singing, dancing, music, German food and beverages.
Union Street Wine Walk
Union Street from Gough to Steiner and Fillmore Street from Union to Lombard, 800-310-6563,
Restaurants and merchants along Union Street offer hors d’oeuvres and wine samples; attendees who wish to sample purchase tasting wristband prior to event and receive wine glass and map with all tasting locations.
Beyond San Francisco
Napa Valley Truffle Festival
Napa (Napa County), 888-753-9378
Some of the best chefs in the world gather to create dishes paired with this prize fungus. Gourmands and aspiring truffle growers will find a bounty of activities throughout the festival weekend.
Oakland Restaurant Week
Oakland (Alameda County)
Feed your inner foodie at Oakland Restaurant Week, presented by Visit Oakland. Restaurants from throughout Oakland will be offering prix fixe lunch and dinner menus, many priced at 25% off the a la carte price. Tease your taste buds with culinary works of art and see why Oakland is the hot new food destination.
Carmel-by-the-Sea (Monterey County), 831-622-5909
A four-day foodie extravaganza featuring an exclusive roster of Relais & Châteaux Chefs, prestigious wineries and the finest luxury brands, all in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Flavor! Napa Valley
Various locations and wineries (Napa County)
Four-day food and wine festival celebrates the finest culinary talent in the Napa Valley who create innovative farm-to-table cuisine paired with world-class wines. Meet the culinary stars of Napa Valley through chef demonstrations, intimate workshops, and winemaker dinners at celebrated Napa Valley wineries.
Pebble Beach Food & Wine
Pebble Beach (Monterey County), 800-907-3663
Pebble Beach Food & Wine is one of the premier epicurean lifestyle events on the West Coast, matching 250 acclaimed wineries and 100 celebrity chefs to create a hedonistic four-day destination on one of the most picturesque strips of coastline in the world.
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa (Napa County)
Wine, food and …rock ‘n roll? One of the top music festivals in the country offers top musical artists on four different stages, while master sommeliers and celebrity chefs rub shoulders with guests. Dozens of the region’s finest restaurateurs, vintners and brewers offer the best in food, wine and craft brews in an intimate festival setting.
Castroville Artichoke, Food & Wine Festival
Monterey (Monterey County), 831-633-2465
A commemoration of all things artichoke, this event has cooking demos, tours of artichoke farms, artichoke-themed art and an artichoke parade.
Livermore Wine Country Festival
Downtown Livermore (Alameda County)
Largest celebration of wine, craft brews, arts, crafts, shopping, dining, entertainment and hometown charm in the East Bay. Over 150,000 attend each year to explore over 300 vendor booths, shop at downtown's incredible specialty boutiques, and enjoy restaurants that are globally inspired and locally enhanced.
Gilroy Garlic Festival
Christmas Hill Park, Gilroy (Santa Clara County), 408-842-1625
Billed as the “world’s ultimate summer food fair,” the festival features three full days of great garlicky food, live entertainment, cooking competitions, arts and crafts and fun for all ages. Highlights include garlic soft-serve ice cream and Gourmet Alley and its gigantic outdoor kitchen and “Pyro Chefs.”
Taste Our Terroir
Livermore Valley, (Alameda County) 925-447-9463
Livermore Valley’s premier food and wine affair includes winemakers partnering with Bay Area chefs to compete for honors and wineries across the region hosting cooking classes, wine seminars, vineyard tours and more
Gravenstein Apple Fair
Sebastopol (Sonoma County), 707-837-8896
Enjoy a weekend of old-fashioned fun: music; arts and crafts; local food, wine, cider and beer. There will be a children’s corner, a chef’s tent, an artisan cheese tent, a do-it-yourself tent, a life on the farm arena and Sebastopol's famous heirloom Gravenstein apples.
Cochon Heritage Fire
Charles Krug Winery (Napa County)
Experience Napa Valley’s premier hyper-local, whole animal live-fire outdoor food and wine event, which showcases more than 40 wineries and 35 notable chefs and butchers who cook more than 3,000 pounds of heritage breed animals in celebration of breed diversity and family farming.
The Standard Pour’s Farm to Table Dinner
Sonora (Tuolumne County, Yosemite Gold Country) 209-532-7687
Outdoor, multi-course dinner inspired by seasonal produce from local farms including Blue Oak Farm, Red Earth Farm, Kline-Cushing Organic Farm, Table Mountain, Diestel Turkey and Indigeny Reserve Hard Apple Cider.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Various locations and wineries (Sonoma County), 855-939-7666
Sip and savor the best of Sonoma County’s wines and cuisines at a series of events over the Labor Day weekend. More than 200 wineries pour thousands of wines and 60-plus local chefs whip up divine pairings. Throughout the weekend there are intimate winery lunches, dinners and BBQs with local winemakers.
Jack London Square, Oakland (Alameda County)
Combine a love for food trucks, good food and good people. The Eat Real Festival returns for a full three-day extravaganza of celebrating food — from where it is sourced, how it’s prepared, and most importantly, how delicious it tastes. Admission is free and all menu items are $8 or less. Bring family, friends and an appetite!
Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga (Napa County), 707-942-6333
Under a harvest moon celebrate the bounty of harvest time at a 1,000-foot long table at the center of Calistoga’s Lincoln Avenue; 20 of the valley’s most popular restaurants are paired with more than 40 Napa Valley wines and craft brews.
Me-Wuk Indian Acorn Festival, Tuolumne Rancheria
Tuolumne (Tuolumne County, Yosemite Gold Country), 209-928-5300
The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians celebrates the Black Oak Acorn Harvest with traditional dancers, hand games tournament, native arts and crafts, deep pit barbecue dinner and inter-Tribal Pow Wow.
Indigeny Reserve Fall Festival
Sonora (Tuolumne County, Yosemite Gold Country), 209-533-9463
Annual festival celebrates autumn’s seasonal tastes and colors with a pumpkin patch, scarecrow contest, corn maze, local vendors and music and games. Beautiful picnicking grounds and walking trails.
Beer vs. Wine Taste-Off
The Standard Pour, Sonora (Tuolumne County, Yosemite Gold Country), 209-532-7687
Five-course exclusive dinner by owner and chef Eric Davis, paired with unique beers and wines chosen by the brewers and winemakers. Judge the contrasting flavors of beer and wine paired with food after each course and vote for the winner.
November - December
Nelson’s Columbia Candy Kitchen’s Annual Candy Cane Making Classes
Columbia State Park (Tuolumne County, Yosemite Gold Country), 209-532-7886
Lottery drawing for Candy Cane Classes deadline is Sept. 1; submit postcard with contact details by Sept.1 to: Columbia Candy Kitchen, P.O. Box 191, Columbia, CA 95310. Operating in California since 1926, fifth-generation candy makers open their kitchen in Columbia State Park to groups and families up to 15 for classes on weekends between Nov.20-Dec. 20. This popular event receives thousands of requests for lottery drawing.
Photo by San Francisco Street Food Festival