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Culinary Experiences Offer Mouthwatering Reasons To Visit Philadelphia

By news services

Photo: Fair Food's primary fundraising event, The Brewer's Plate highlights Philadelphia's premier local food scene by featuring dozens of the area's most celebrated independently owned restaurants and breweries. Foodies sample the delicious fare and brews against the impressive backdrop of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™


PHILADELPHIA  — When foodies hit the road, they take their passion for farmers markets, culinary tours and tasting experiences with them. Tasting its flavours is one of the best ways to get to know a region, and Philadelphia offers a cornucopia of edible adventures. Visitors can choose from food truck festivals, a weekend celebrating everyone's favourite fungus, cooking classes and all sorts of wine and beer celebrations. Here's a look at some of the region's culinary happenings:

2017 Foodie Festivities:

Philadelphians dine at the best for less with Center City District Restaurant Week and University City Dining Days. During the former, which takes place in January and again in September, three courses at dozens of the city's top eateries cost just $35 for dinner and $20 for lunch, where available (tax, alcohol and gratuity not included). And throughout the latter, more than 30 of the eclectic neighbourhood's restaurants take part in the three-course, three-price dinner promo, allowing guests to choose from $15, $25 or $35 meals (not including tax, alcohol or gratuity). Center City, January 22-27, January 29-February 3, 2017, September (dates TBD), University City, summer 2017 (dates TBD).
The annual Brewer's Plate beer-pairing dinner spotlights the beverages and foods of the most celebrated breweries and restaurants within 150 miles of Philadelphia. More than 1,000 people head to the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts for the sell-out event, which is the marquee fundraiser for Fair Food, an organization that promotes local and sustainable eating. March 5, 2017.
More than 60 esteemed restaurants and bars, from to Zavino, participate in the eight-day, 200-plus-event Philly Wine Week, a draw for both oenophiles and vino neophytes featuring tastings, pairings, specials and more—all educational, naturally. March 19-26, 2017.
Fair Food and Kitchen Table Consultants launched the Philly Farm and Food Fest as a way to help connect growers and eaters in the region while promoting healthy eating. The resulting event, held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, brims with local deliciousness, dedicating areas of the floor to cheese, drinks, CSAs, cooking demos, cookbooks and more. April 8, 2017.
The strip known as East Passyunk is firmly established as a hot destination for quality craft beer and food, and Flavors of the Avenue celebrates its culinary prowess. More than two dozen of the neighbourhood's most popular restaurants and bars gather to dish out their goods, while bands, a fashion show and a craft market entertain outside. April 29, 2017.
From May through October, Night Market Philadelphia unites the city's best mobile food purveyors with its most enthusiastic eaters. The street festival highlights a different neighbourhood during each event (typically four during the season), with live music, fun entertainment and top- notch food and drink (dates and location TBD).
Everyone's Italian when the nation's oldest outdoor market throws its annual South 9th Street Italian Market Festival. Multiple stages of live entertainment provide the soundtrack for the neighbourhood-wide party featuring the Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese delicacies made by the market's merchants. May 20-21, 2017.
Fruit lovers get their fill at Peddler's Village, a charming shopping and dining center in Bucks County. At the free Strawberry Festival, berry fans sample pies, tarts, shortcake, jams and preserves. The two-day Apple Festival, also free with admission, features treats such as apple butter, cider, dumplings and fritters, as well as a juried craft show, live entertainment and pie-eating contests. Strawberry, May 21-22, 2017; Apple, November 2017 (dates TBD).
Fruit and veggie celebrations abound during growing and harvest season at Linvilla Orchards, a 300-acre farm dedicated to agriculture, entertainment and education in Delaware County, just outside of Philadelphia. From strawberries and raspberries (June 2017) to blueberries, sweet corn and blackberries (July 2017) to peaches (August 2017) to tomatoes and pears (August 2017) to apples (September 2017), the festivals include pick-your-own activities, family games, hayrides, music and plenty of treats to sample.
Fairmount Park looks a little bit like the islands during the Philadelphia Jerk Fest. Tickets include tastings of Caribbean food, plus live reggae music, vendors and children's activities. August 2017 (date TBD).
Presented by the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, the three-day Philadelphia Honey Festival attracts thousands of participants to multiple venues, including Bartram's Garden, Wyck Historic House and Glen Foerd on the Delaware. Activities include beekeeping demos, speakers, brewing sessions, honey extraction, cooking demos, children's activities and vendors sharing plenty of sweet take-homes. September 2017 (date TBD).
Kicking off Manayunk's Restaurant Week, the StreEAT Food Festival lines Main Street with restaurants, food trucks and vendors selling edible goods and plenty of seasonal produce. During Restaurant Week, the neighbourhood eateries offer multicourse prix fixe menus for $15, $25 and $35. September 2017 (dates TBD).
South Philly's Sausage Fest teams up neighbourhood restaurants and local breweries to dish out sausage-inspired eats (including veggie options), while kids' activities, craft vendors and a lineup of local music keeps the atmosphere fun and festive. September 2017 (date TBD).
Visitors celebrate all-things mushroom with more than 100,000 fans of the fungus at the Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, the mushroom-growing capital of the United States. A weekend of tastings, cooking demonstrations, cook-offs, farm tours, a 5K run, a nighttime parade and a wine-and-soup mini-fest all revolve around—what else—mushrooms. September 9-10, 2017.
Drinkers' Delights:

The Philly Craft Beer Festival, a sell-out event that Forbes Traveler called "One of The Top 10 Beer Festivals in America," returns to The Navy Yard for its annual celebration of craft beer and brewing. More than 50 of the country's best craft breweries will be on hand to offer samples of their finest brewing achievements to suds-loving attendees. March 4, 2017.
Sponsored by Philadelphia magazine and taking place at Lincoln Financial Field's SCA Club, the annual Philadelphia Wine & Food Festival brings together more than 650 hard-to-find vintages and rare blends, along with delicious food pairings from some of the city's most prestigious restaurants. May 5, 2017.
Brauhaus Schmitz partners with the South Street Headhouse District to close South Street from Headhouse Square to 8th Street for the annual Maifest celebration. Some 15,000 revelers sample German beers and shop from street vendors while watching German dancers perform the traditional Maypole dance. May 6, 2017.
Craft brewers from around the country convene for the internationally renowned Philly Beer Week. A city that's been brewing its own beer since the 1700s—and dubbed "America's best beer town" by Gourmet Magazine—Philadelphia hosts hundreds of hopping events and tastings during this sudsy celebration. June 2-11, 2017.
With a focus on ciders and other fermented fruit beverages, Pour the Core Philly sets the stage for autumnal drinking at the Navy Yard. Participants can sample local, national and international sips, learn all about the fermentation process, hear live music and eat delicious snacks from food trucks. October 14, 2017.
As the onetime beer-brewingest city in the western hemisphere, Philly does the run-up and follow-through of Oktoberfest right with authentic German volkfests and pop-up beer fests taking place from September through October. South Street's Brauhaus Schmitz puts on a German block party complete with 2,000 pounds of sausage and just as much oompah music; Frankford Hall hosts a 10-hour Bavarian beer and pretzel blowout, and the historic 23rd Street Armory turns into a traditional biergarten for a weekend. September-October 2017 (dates TBD).
Bloktoberfest is west South Street's all-ages, all-afternoon autumnal celebration of beer, food and music. Gourmet trucks set up shop, national craft brewers pour their wares, local bands play tunes and festivalgoers take it easy on hay bales stretching along four blocks. October 2017 (date TBD).
The buzz returns every year when the Coffee and Tea Festival comes to town. The event, held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, offers more than 50 exhibitors, plus experts, tastings, gift bags and much more. November 2017 (dates TBD).
The Bucks County Wine Trail offers the Nouveau Release, which gives wine drinkers a sneak preview of the year's freshest wines, and the Holiday Celebration highlights the wines in an environment filled with holiday cheer. Nouveau release, November 2017 (dates TBD); Holiday Celebration, December 2017 (dates TBD).
Food (& Drink For Thought):

At Audrey Claire's Cook, renowned chefs share their secrets during culinary class/dinner events. The onsite boutique tempts with its wonderful selection of cookbooks, kitchen tools, pantry goods and more.
On Friday mornings, Counter Culture's Philadelphia Training Center offers "Tastings at Ten" to members of the public, free of charge. Once a month, that same second-floor center books up for "Brewing Basics," a two-hour class in perfecting the at-home pour-over.
Pinot Boutique – This "Best of Philly" winner offers great wine, tastings and classes and private parties. Some wine classes are uniquely Philadelphian, letting drinkers pair vino with cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, Tastykakes and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews or offering casual lessons on wines of the American Revolution. Locals stop here for a nice selection of wines from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, plus accessories galore.
Reading Terminal Market is the motherland for the buy-local movement in Philadelphia, and it boasts its own educational cooking space. Free cooking demonstrations every Saturday highlight Market vendors, products and ingredients.
Vinologist and wine writer Keith Wallace helps students understand and appreciate the sometimes intimidating worlds of wine and beer at The Wine School. Wine and beer tasting classes are offered as one-time experiences. Prolonged courses on beer brewing or advanced wine appreciation provide a judge's certification at the end. Various dates.
Tria's Sunday School program offers a special cheese, wine and beer each week along with information about their provenance. The unusual offerings are both well priced and unlikely to be seen elsewhere around town.
Tasty Tours:

Throughout the Philadelphia region, the winery scene has grown into three distinct trails. Each offers the delicious opportunity for self-guided tours through vineyards and vintners of the Brandywine Valley, Bucks County and Montgomery County.
A walk through local culinary highlights, the Chew Philly Food Tours focus on the Manayunk and Chestnut Hill neighbourhoods. The 2.5-hour excursion treats guests to eight tastings of savory and sweet foods and includes bits of history and culture along the way.
Visitors can eat like locals at the City Food Tours. Themed crawls of the region's culinary delights include a Decadent Gourmet Tour, Ethnic Eats of South Philly, Prohibition Cocktails, Philly Pizza and Highlights of East Passyunk.
Food writer and blogger Jamie Shanker welcomes groups of four to 20 for her 2.5-hour jaunts around Chinatown called Philly Food Adventures. The tour begins under the neighbourhood's arch and offers insights on Philly's Asian neighbourhood and Chinese population before moving eaters to five spots (plus markets) for dumplings, noodles and under-the-radar street fare.
One of the Philadelphia Urban Adventures tour options, the two-hour Philly On Tap takes a small group of participants to a few of the city's great watering holes to sample the region's finest beers—all during happy hour time. Both brew novices and experts enjoy sipping draughts, learning about the brewing process and discovering the history of the city's brewing culture.
Chef Jacquie serves as a personable culinary guide to her neighbourhood during the South Philadelphia Food Tours. Daily behind-the-scenes trips through the Italian Market include hearty tastes of meatballs and gravy at Villa di Roma and samples at other stalwart Italian and Mexican food vendors along South 9th Street. On Monday through Thursday evenings, she hosts a four-course progressive dinner along East Passyunk Avenue.
Those who appreciate a good drink can enjoy a carefree day at Tastings & Tours' Winery & Brewery Tours. The itineraries cover some of the area's finest wineries, breweries, brewpubs and distilleries, along with some beautiful scenery en route. The guided, all-inclusive, private tastings are offered in Bucks County and beyond.
Participants on the Tippler's Tour sing along to 18th-century drinking songs, enjoy stories of the drinking traditions of Colonial times and sample a few beverages and some snacks as they ramble through Historic Philadelphia at night. Thursdays, April through December.
Chef Joseph Poon's Wok 'n Walk Tours of Chinatown make for unforgettable vacation stories. The private group outings include visits to a fortune cookie factory, an Asian grocery, a Chinese bakery and a Chinese place of worship, among other stops, and end with a meal at one of Chef Poon's favourite Chinatown restaurants.