Lobster Festival Where: Maine, USA. When: Wednesday July 30-August 3.
America gets its claws into lobster season in typically boisterous fashion, with piles of fresh-cooked seafood plus a crate race (how many can you run across before you fall into the freezing Atlantic?), cookery competition, arts and crafts, a parade and various gigs, mainly jazz, folk and blues. There are carnival rides and a Sea Princess competition, but if any of this feels over the top, bear in mind that the festival has been going for more than 60 years, so they must be doing something right. Like serving lots and lots of freshly caught, just-boiled lobster. www.mainelobsterfestival.com
West Dean Chilli Fiesta Where: West Sussex, UK. When: Friday August 8-10.
This August festival boasts Latin music and Latin dance classes, but it’s a safe bet that a fair number of the participants – and about 5,000 people generally attend – are just trying to distract themselves from the pain in their mouths. Sure, we all know that eating chillies produces endorphins, but when that natural high has to compete with the tongue-busting properties of, say, the Dorset naga, a home-grown version of a Bangladeshi chilli that’s probably the world’s hottest, then a bit of help is likely to be in order. Salsa, perhaps. Or morphine. Not that anyone’s forced to snack on nagas: there are 300 types of chilli here, and some even come with food on the side. www.westdean.org.uk
Garlic Festival Where: Isle of Wight, UK. When: Saturday August 16-17.
You wouldn’t think this little island off England’s south coast could provide enough garlic to keep 300 stalls and 20,000 people happy, but it turns out that garlic enhances everything else the island produces, from bread to ice-cream – as this August festival aims to prove. There’s hops too, although they probably don’t stick garlic in that. And there is also puppets to classic cars and music. Don’t expect a trendy event: the 2014 headliner is Kiki Dee, best known for her 1976 duet with Elton ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.’ www.garlic-festival.co.uk
La Tomatina Where: Buñol, Valencia, Spain. When: Wednesday August 27.
Chucking perfectly good food at your neighbour is the kind of thing you’re only going to do with a glut, but that’s okay – the Valencians have tomatoes to spare. On the last Wednesday of August, in the middle of a week of fiestas, almost 140 tonnes of tomatoes are trucked in for locals and visitors to throw at each other. The fight lasts an hour. Its origins are obscure, but if you’ve been picking soft red fruit all summer, the temptation to lob a few at a compañero must be pretty strong, and Valencia is a major tomato- growing region. You didn’t know tomatoes were a fruit? One in the face for you then. www.latomatina.org
Limassol (Lemesos) Grape Festival Where: Limassol, Cyprus. When: August-September (2014 dates to be confirmed).
It may or may not be the world’s oldest beverage, but the Cypriot sweet grape is certainly pretty venerable: it’s been around for at least 4,000 years (Homer mentions it). Not that the much-disputed island rests on its laurels: Cyprus’s grape may not crowd drinks menus but that says more about our narrow drinking habits than about the quality. This fortnight-long festival in August and September is a great place to try red and white, sweet and savoury, made from local grapes or blends with international varieties by artisans or big producers. There are also fireworks, songs and music from the local philharmonic orchestra, folk dances, comedy and magic shows. www.limassolmunicipal.com.cy
International Oyster Festival Where: Galway, Ireland. When: Thursday September 25-28.
Emerald hills and pale-grey oysters: Galway looks good even when it’s raining, which is a good job since the foodie capital of Ireland isn’t known for its dry spells. This four-day mollusc fiesta in September features food, drink, live music and the Irish Oyster Opening Championships – an assemblage of words evocative enough to get you salting and slurping to your heart’s content. www.galwayoysterfest.com