Cultural Calendar: Where to Go and What to Cook in October

From a festival celebrating the world’s most expensive spice to a plant-based extravaganza in Thailand, here’s what our editors are digging into this month.

By Caitlin Gunther

Published on October 4, 2022

It’s festival season. From wine celebrations in the hills of Paris to carbon-neutral gin tastings in Turks & Caicos to cooking competitions in the land of Don Quixote—there are so many enticing food events this month (some making their first appearance since the pandemic). They’re a great way to sample regional cuisines and traditions, and also to support local businesses and burgeoning culinary talent. 

The October cookbook lineup is nothing to snooze on either. If you've ever wanted to recreate the simple and sublime Italian recipes from Via Carota in New York’s Greenwich Village (like arancini with ‘nduja or hand-rolled spaghetti with duck ragu) then you’ll definitely want to keep reading. Here are all things gastronomic the SAVEUR team can’t wait to dig into this month.

The Caribbean Food & Wine Festival puts the rich culinary heritage of the Turks and Caicos Islands center stage, while fostering local talent in the process. Now in its 12th year, CFWF will feature a range of food and beverage events, including a celebration of women winemakers, a whisky-mixology and cigar session led by master distiller Brendan McCarron, a Caribbean-Indian dinner prepared by Chef Niven Patel with wine pairings from John Legend’s LVE Collection, and more. From Oct. 13-16.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of this mouthwatering festival celebrating some of the best food and drink the Big Apple has to offer. Some highlights among the 80+ events include: a Cantonese-American cooking class with Calvin Eng of the buzzy Brooklyn restaurant Bonnie’s; a champagne and dim sum brunch hosted by Food Network personality Molly Yeh; and an intimate dinner with chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Lexis Gonzalez at Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem. From Oct. 13-16. 

Once a year, the narrow streets of Montmartre erupt into a multi-day celebration of France’s unofficial national beverage: wine. The 89th edition of the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival, or La Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, will include musical performances, dance parties, parades of winemakers, vineyard visits, and more. From Oct. 5-9.

Kalo, or taro, is an important food source for native Hawaiians, so it makes sense that the tuber is also the star ingredient of a multi-course dinner at this year’s Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. For two weeks, 150 chefs will bring their talents to 20 events across three islands, with a bourbon and barbecue feast on the Island of Hawaii, a dinner hosted by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto on Oahu, and more. From Oct. 21-Nov. 6.

Consuegra, a town in Don Quixote’s La Mancha, will host the Saffron Festival (la Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafrán) in late October, to celebrate the annual harvest of saffron. The two-day event will promote the region’s culture through its food, crafts, and history, and kick off with the proclamation of the Dulcinea, an annual tradition of recognizing a distinguished local woman. From Oct. 29-30.

Thomas Keller, Gastón Acuria, and Elena Arzak are just a few of the world-famous names on this year’s program at San Sebastián Gastronomika, one of the world’s most highly anticipated gastronomy conferences, which aim to showcase the latest trends in haute cuisine through talks, demonstrations, and tastings. Now in its 24th year, the event has announced its theme this year will be “United Kulinary”—which, according to the conference website, is “a nod to gastronomy's ability to unite cultures beyond politics.” From Oct. 2-5.

Once a year, during the ninth lunar month, one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations  transforms to host the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. For 10 days, the streets are lined with food stands serving a smorgasbord of plant-based foods. Come for the food, stay for the traditional processions and events. From Sept. 25—Oct. 4.

Latin Restaurant Weeks is a multi-city celebration that promotes and amplifies Latino voices in the culinary industry. Participating Miami restaurants will offer special menus for LRW, as they call it “El Tour de Sabor.” Vamos. From Oct. 7-21.

James Beard Award-winning chefs Jody Williams and Rita Sodi are revealing the secrets behind the scrumptious menu at their beloved West Village restaurant, Via Carota. Organized by season, the authors describe the book as veggie-forward. As the introduction reads: “Use this book to create your own meals around the produce available to you, to eat how you want to eat.” Forza! Available on Oct. 11.

Bestselling Australian cookbook author Donna Hay is taking on one of the most common struggles for home cooks, fast and delicious weeknight dinners, in her forthcoming cookbook, The Fast Five: Shortcuts to Deliciousness. In it, you’ll find classic recipes like lasagna, tacos, and more, all with time-saving twists. Available Oct. 25. 

Just in time for spooky season, cookbook author Theresa Carle-Sanders is out with a new volume featuring 80 recipes inspired by Stephen King’s Maine (in particular, his novels set in Castle Rock, Derry, and other fictional towns), with a forward by the Pet Sematary author himself. Available Oct. 4. 

The Museum of the City of New York has opened the doors to “Food in New York,” an exhibition that examines the city’s food systems, with a focus on sustainability, labor justice, and equitable access to food. According to the museum website, it explores “the city's raucous restaurant scene; its ubiquitous street food; the current activist efforts to source food locally; the world's largest food market in Hunts Point; and the artists, thinkers, and designers who are imagining new sustainable ways to relate to food.” September - through Fall 2023

This month, head to Midtown West to experience the new 11,000-square-foot Singapore-style hawker center (think a sprawling food court) on 50th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Manhattan, with 17 vendors—11 of whom hail straight from Singapore—and so many delicious dishes to choose from, like sambal chili crab and cha hae mee (fried hokkien prawn noodles). Opened Sept. 28.

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