Sweets, gumbo, truffles - and eat your veggies

Pressing sorghum with a horse-powered mill at the Music & Molasses Arts & Crafts Festival. Pressing sorghum with a horse-powered mill at the Music & Molasses Arts & Crafts Festival. (Tennessee Agricutlural Museum)
By Patricia Harris and David Lyon
Globe Correspondents / August 14, 2011

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OCT. 15-16


Music & Molasses Arts & Crafts Festival: The Tennessee Agricultural Museum is full of artifacts from pioneer days, but this annual country festival brings that time to life. The two stages of bluegrass music are almost de rigeur, but the truly old-timey attraction is molasses-making - from squeezing sorghum with a horse-powered mill to cooking down the juice. Storytellers and country cloggers entertain, there are free buggy rides, and traditional crafts and homemade cakes and pies are for sale. Ellington Agricultural Center, 440 Hogan Road, $5. 615-837-5197,

SEPT. 30-OCT. 9

EXMOOR, United Kingdom

Exmoor Food Festival: Exmoor National Park (possibly the best-kept secret in England’s West Country) goes gastronomic for a 10-day festival that includes food fairs, farmers’ markets, classes in foraging, cheese tastings, cooking classes, farm visits, and lots and lots of teas, complete with scones and clotted cream. Several food-themed country hikes will be offered in conjunction with the North Devon & Exmoor Walking Festival (Sept. 30-Oct. 3). Lodging choices include an 18th-century farmhouse bed-and-breakfast in the middle of the park that offers luxury overnights with meals made from the produce of its organic farm. Walks $18-$28, classes $16-$41, meals $10-$65. 011-44-1984-633-782,

OCT. 1-2


12th Annual World Veg Festival Weekend: One phrase you probably won’t hear this weekend is “would you like fries with that?’’ Sponsored by the San Francisco Vegetarian Society, the World Veg Festival spotlights vegan cuisine with product samples, cooking demos, food to taste and buy, speakers on both the ethical and practical aspects of a vegan lifestyle, and even a vegan fashion show. Continuing a popular tradition at the festival, there will also be vegan speed dating. A cooked or raw dinner is available on Saturday night. San Francisco County Fair Building, 1199 9th Ave. at Lincoln Way. $8; children, students, seniors free; dinner $25. 415-273-5481,

OCT. 7-9


World Championship Gumbo Cook Off: Hank Williams had it right: jambalaya and a crawfish pie, and all of it topped by a filé gumbo. The live music starts bubbling on Friday night here in the gastronomic capital of bayou country. Mind you, the 50 booths cooking on Saturday make everything except gumbo, including fried fish, corn and crab bisque, and jambalaya. On Sunday, about 90 teams compete for the professional and amateur gumbo titles. Samples are available for purchase both days. Basically it’s one big fais-do-do with world-class food. Bouligny Plaza, 100 West Main St. Admission free, food $20 for sheet of 20 tickets. 337-364-1836,


OCT. 30-NOV 1, NOV. 5-6, 12-13


National White Truffle Fair: This tiny village in the Marche region is known as the capital of truffle cultivation in Italy. But the prized white truffle only grows wild and is available for just a short period. As a result, tens of thousands of tourists and truffle buyers descend on Acqualagna for this largest marketplace of white truffles anywhere in the world. More than 100 exhibitors have stands. Prices for fresh truffles are high, but vendors also offer a variety of products that make that haunting flavor go further - from truffle oil to truffle-scented rice to truffled instant mashed potatoes. The local cheeses and sausages aren’t bad either. Piazza Mattei, admission free. 011-39-0721-796-741,


Events are sometimes canceled, rescheduled, or sold out; check online. Patricia Harris and David Lyon can be reached at Read their food and travel blog at