Spice, heat, sausages, and spears
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival: According to festival planners, Melbournians’ love of food and wine is nothing short of “infamous.’’ It’s certainly hard to imagine that anyone does anything besides eat and drink during the weeks when this annual festival sweeps the city and nearby parts of Victoria state with more than 250 events in restaurants, markets, museums, hotels, historic sites, wineries, gardens, and more. From an Afghan Spice Banquet to an Australian Native Foods Feast, Beer Degustation to Coffee Appreciation Class, there’s literally something for every taste. Various locations, many free events, ticketed events $25-$595. 011-61-03-9823-6100, www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au
National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show: Never underestimate the appeal of a mouth on fire. This annual event began in 1988 with 37 exhibitors and now attracts more than 200 from around the world. Part of each day is reserved for the trade, but there’s plenty of time for chile pepper aficionados to wander among the booths and challenge their taste buds with the newest offerings of barbecue, salsas, marinades, spice rubs, oils, and vinegars with a little — or a lot of — kick. No wonder Budweiser is a sponsor. Sandia Resort & Casino, Interstate 25 and Tramway NE, advance tickets adults $10, ages 18 and under $5, at the door $15/$5. 505-873-8680, www.fieryfoodsshow.com
Paris Cookbook Fair: The publishing industry may be struggling overall, but there’s a hearty interest in wine and food. So you might observe negotiations between publishers and authors at this self-proclaimed “world’s largest fair devoted to cookbooks and wine books.’’ This trade fair opens the door to the general public so that everyone can enjoy the cooking demos and master classes and can belly up to the international bar to taste wines and spirits from around the world. Le 104, 5 rue Curial, one-day pass for public days (March 5-6), $10.75. www.cookbookfair.com
Hermann Wurstfest: The good folks of Hermann have apparently never heard that old maxim that the making of laws and sausages is best left unseen. Indeed, a sausage-making demonstration and professional and amateur sausage competitions are among the highlights of this festival and celebration of the town’s German roots. Dachshund owners can dress up their “weiner dogs’’ for the dog derby. Everyone else can sample the wares of the state’s top sausage makers and tap their feet to the live music and folk dancing. Hermannhof Festhalle and Stone Hill Pavilion, $7 per day. 800-932-8687, www.visithermann.com
Stockton Asparagus Festival: Last year, the winner of the deep-fried asparagus eating contest downed eight pounds and seven ounces of the tasty spears. But that was really only a drop in the bucket. Overall, visitors consumed about 36,000 pounds of asparagus — deep-fried, in sandwiches or burritos, with pasta, even in “refreshing’’ drinks. Perhaps everyone worked up an appetite in the Spear-It run, the hole-in-one golf competition, or on the amusement rides. If you want to envy the California climate, check out the farmers’ market with its fresh strawberries and cherries as well as, of course, asparagus. Downtown, adults $12, college students, teens, ages 60 and over, and people with disabilities $7, children free. 209-644-3740, www.asparagusfest.com
PATRICIA HARRIS AND DAVID LYON
Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; check online. Patricia Harris and David Lyon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read their food and travel blog at www.hungrytravelers.com.