Even though it’s the largest, La Tomatina is not the only festival with (a particular kind of) food as its main attraction – or that involves the throwing of it. Here we examine other food festivals from around the world including: Cooper’s Hill Annual Cheese Rolling in England, Ivrea Orange Festival in Italy, Garlic Festival in California, the Watermelon Thump in the US and the Garlic Festival in Gilroy.
Chasing the Cheese in England
The Cheese Rolling Festival in Cooper’s Hill, Gloucestershire is largely self-explanatory. This annual event was traditionally held by and for the residents of Brockworth, but now people around the world come to race. Race-goers line up at the top of Cooper’s Hill and the race starts when a huge, round block of cheese (approximately 16kg of double Gloucester) is rolled down the hill. Racers then chase the cheese and the first person to reach it wins.
Sounds easy enough, but there’s a catch: the hill is very steep and thus the cheese rolls so fast that no one can catch it and win the race by themselves. Thus, it becomes quite humorous to watch as participants start racing on their feet before they’re tumbling down the hill. Bruises, sprained ankles and broken bones are usually the only thing racers win.
Knights Throwing Oranges in Italy
The Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea has uncertain origins, but popular beliefs state that the festival commemorates Ivrea’s defiance against a ruling tyrant in the past. In the Battle of the Oranges, Ivrea residents dress themselves in medieval outfits and divide themselves into nine teams who take turns assaulting each other with thousands of oranges. Battle survival tactics include wearing a helmet to wearing shoes with good traction to avoid slipping.
Celebrating Watermelons in Texas
The Watermelon Thump in Luling, Texas is a complete watermelon celebration extravaganza. The festival includes live music, food, craft vendors, entertainment and a car show. There are several watermelon-based competitions including a team seed spitting and watermelon eating contest, plus the Champion Watermelon award.
Corn Cob Madness in South Carolina
The World Grits Festival in St George, South Carolina includes eating and cooking contests, corn tossing and shelling, plus carnivals and live music.
Garlic Grubbing in Gilroy
This Californian festival has peculiar origins. A college president named Rudy Melone was shocked when he learnt that a small town in France considered itself the Garlic Capital of the World. Melone decided to prove to the world that Gilroy, an even smaller village in California, should hold that title. Thus, the biggest festival in the world involving everything garlic was born. No surprises that it is a huge garlic feast, featuring recipes which celebrate garlic: garlic soup, sandwiches and kebabs.
Musicians sing about garlic, while visual artists sell their garlic creations