Fall festivals for a multi-ethnic food adventure

The Fountain Valley Pho Festival offers free admission. Photo Metro Creative
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November has perhaps the “mother of all food festivals” and it is called Thanksgiving. The best part of Thanksgiving is that it is held at home, or at any one of several fine area restaurants. However, despite the onrushing holidays, November and December will offer novel foodie fun for those who need another “tasting” fix before the end of the year.

Nov. 10-17

Annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival

Info www.sandiegowineclassic.com

The Annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival is an international showcase of the world’s premier wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities and gourmet foods. The Festival is a week of epicurean experiences, featuring wine-tasting seminars, cooking classes led by award-winning chefs, wine and food tastings and more. There are more than 40 events to experience during the week. The Festival was named the winner of the 2019 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Experiences. 

The highlight of the event, the Grand Tasting, will be held Nov. 16. 

Taste from more than 60 celebrity chefs and restaurants, hundreds of domestic and international wine, beer and spirit purveyors and gourmet food companies amidst a stunning coastal backdrop with sail boats floating by. San Diego’s top chefs put their best bites forward in a competition to be named the winner of the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival’s celebrated Chef of the Fest Competition.

The Grand Testing will be held at the Embarcadero Marina Park North,

400 Kettner Blvd.

Back for its eighth annual competition, the heat rises in the Taco TKO to be held Nov. 17. This mouthwatering battle as the city’s top chefs compete head-to-head to settle the score on who is serving up the most awesome taco in San Diego. The event features beer, tequila stations and live music.

Nov. 16-17 

The Nourished Festival  

San Mateo County Event Center Fiesta Hall 

1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo

Info nourishedfestival.com/expos/san-francisco

The largest gluten-free, allergy and special diet festival in the United States. Whether you’re looking for specialty products that taste great or trying to learn how to cook and bake to meet your dietary needs, this expo has it all. 

Guests line up to purchase fresh mandarin oranges and other mandarin products at the annual Mountain Mandarin Festival. Photo Credit: Kurt Bertilson

Nov. 22-24  

The 26th Annual Mountain Mandarin Festival

Gold Country Fairgrounds

1273 High St., Auburn

Info www.mandarinfestival.com

This event celebrates the new crop of locally grown mandarin oranges with a mandarin recipe cooking contest, professional chef demonstrations, food, AGRO Art, local farmers selling freshly harvested mandarin oranges, crafts and activities, free children’s area, live music and entertainment.

Smell the citrus in the air and discover chocolate-covered fresh mandarins, mandarin pizza, pulled pork and English scones with mandarin curd. Visitors can take home mandarin barbecue sauces, syrups, olive oils, dressings and dozens of other mandarin-inspired concoctions. Food samples, food booths, great bands, an entire kids’ village with miniature train rides, balloon art, face painting and contests, allow visitors to enjoy the local bounty. 

Dec. 7

The 12th Annual Oxnard Tamale Festival 

Plaza Park, 500 S. C St., Oxnard

Info OxnardTamaleFestival.com

This holiday tradition is on display in Oxnard where guests can get the tastiest tamales in town, from sweet to savory, traditional to gourmet. In addition to the tamales enjoy a holiday crafts fair, kid’s activities and live music. Free admission. 

Dec. 7-9

2019 Indio International Tamale Festival

Oldtown Indio

Located between Highway 111 and Indio Boulevard and on the streets of Miles, Towne, Smurr and Requa.

Info www.tamalefestival.net

This is the world’s largest tamale festival. Recently, the Food Network-TV ranked the Indio International Tamale Festival in the top 10 “All-American Food Festivals” in the nation. The event features live entertainment on five stages, tamale tasting, food booths, carnival rides and games, vendors, dancing and more. 

The Mountain Mandarin Festival is held in Auburn, Calif. Photo Credit: Kurt Bertilson

Dec. 13-15 

Fountain Valley Pho Festival

Fountain Valley Sports Park

16400 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley

Info www.ocphofest.com

This citywide event inspired by one of Vietnam’s most popular home-style dishes, Pho. This full-flavored rice noodle soup is a cornerstone of Vietnamese cuisine. Along with Pho, there will be other traditional Vietnamese foods, cooking demonstrations, live music and carnival rides in an outdoor park atmosphere. There also will be a Best Pho contest.

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