California cuisine focuses on locally sourced ingredients with good reason. So much is grown in the verdant valleys. From grapes for amazing wine to the produce of the central valley and seafood from the endless coastline, California literally has it all. Add to the mix the diverse population and you have the perfect combination of innovative flavors. Check out these food and drink festivals this summer to sample the best of California's varied tastes.
Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival
Probably one of the most anticipated events in the Inland Empire, this festival offers the magical opportunity to experience early morning hot air balloon flights. There is also musical entertainment, wine tasting, arts & crafts and lots of food. Temecula Valley has an impressive and much sought after collection of wineries to visit, check them out here.
Castroville Artichoke Food & Wine Festival
So who knew that 99 percent of the artichokes in the US come from California? Celebrate the iconic vegetable in Castroville in Monterey county, known as the artichoke center of the world. Get ready to taste the flavorful thistle flower in a myriad of ways, grilled, fried and even in cupcakes. And just so you know Norma Jean Mortenson, aka Marilyn Monroe, was named the first honorary Artichoke Queen in 1948.
San Diego International Beer Fest
Held every year at the Del Mar Fairgrounds near San Diego this is the biggest craft brew festival on the West Coast. With beers, meads and ciders from nearly 200 breweries, there is something for every brew-lover. Between tastings head to expert lectures and check out all the beer-themed merchandise.
California Wine Festival
It is no secret that California has amazing wines and the incredible Central Coast is home to some of the world’s best. At this two-day event in Santa Barbara winemakers join musicians, gourmet chefs, cheese makers and craft brewers to bring the most incredible California tastes to oenophiles and enthusiasts alike.
Gilroy Garlic Festival
The world’s largest garlic festival, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, The Gilroy Garlic Festival has been celebrating the flavorful allium for nigh on forty years in Gilroy, California. With three days worth of garlicky food, music, arts and crafts, cooking competitions, attendees consume nearly two tons of garlic a year.
Latin Food Fest
Since its inception in 2013 this San Diego festival has grown to be the largest celebration of Latin food in the US. Originally meant to celebrate the immense influence of Mexican food from just over the border in Baja, California the two-day event has grown to include food from South America to the Caribbean to Spain.
LA Food & Wine Festival
LA’s premier culinary event celebrates the many tastes of the city’s rich and diverse culinary scene. The festival offers chef dinners and experiences all over town which can be purchased with a la carte admission.