With the start of carnival season fast approaching, it’s time to get the party started! With so many of the best carnivals in the world taking place at the same time though, it can be difficult to decide where in the world you want to join in the tradition, party all day and night, and sample some local delicacies. From Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Rio de Janeiro Carnival, to Mardi Gras, it’s time to slip your sequins on and join in the fun with the five best carnivals in the world, and their food!
Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife – Canary Islands
Held in the capital of the largest of the Canary Islands, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is held each February. Attracting people from across the world that are curious about the magnificent celebration, Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is ultimately one of the most magical events to take place during the winter carnival celebrations. Complete with classic Spanish desserts such as Spanish Leche Frita, fluffy pancakes, bread pudding and Spanish fritters, what’s not to love?
Venice Carnival – Italy
Held in Italy, the Venice Carnival is ultimately one of Europe’s most extravagant celebrations. Whilst the carnival may be known for its wild private party, it is very well civilized and ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, 40 days before Easter. As Italy’s top carnival, you certainly can’t miss out on the friendly masked rivalry.
At Venice Carnival, you can expect to find an array of pasta dishes and appetizing fried pastries including fritters filled with cream. Moreover, in Venice there are countless inviting seafood dishes to be tried and cocktails to be enjoyed throughout the lively celebrations. Why not get tickets for the Gran Ballo delle Maschere this year?
Rio de Janeiro Carnival – Brazil
As the mother of all Carnivals, Rio de Janeiro Carnival is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime! Taking place in February, this iconic carnival takes place close to the city centre, and is considered to be the biggest carnival in the world, with more than 2 million people per day celebrating in the cobbled streets.
As well as displaying the most vibrant costumes and the best dance moves at the parade at the Sambodromo, Rio de Janeiro Carnival features top foods such as feijoada (melt-in-your-mouth, slow-cooked pork and beans complete with rice), moqueca baiana (fish stew) and caruru (a speciality dish similar to gumbo). There are also plenty of sweet treats available, including brigadeiros – sweet chocolate truffles made with condensed milk.
Binche Carnival – Belgium
The carnival of Binche is a fantastic event that takes place each year in the glorious Belgian town of Binche from the Sunday to the preceding Ash Wednesday. Each year, masked men, known as ‘Gilles’ go around the town of Binche creating chaos by shaking sticks to scare bad spirits off.
Though questionably bizarre, the carnival of Binche is undoubtedly one of the most famous celebrations in Belgium, and was proudly labelled as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’ by UNESCO in 2003. This carnival showcases traditional food, such as bratwurt and krapfen, fresh pretzels and mulled wine.
Mardi Gras – New Orleans, USA
Celebrated in Southern Louisiana, including the incredible city of New Orleans, Mardi Gras celebrations start up to two weeks before Shrove Tuesday ahead of Lent. During these two weeks, more often than not, at least one major parade takes place each day riddled with beads of the three colours of Mardi Gras representing justice, faith, and power, weather permitting.
Despite this, the most elaborate parades take place during the last five days of the iconic Mardi Gras season, alongside countless events that take place during the final week, such as masquerade balls encompassing dancing and music. As well as unmissable street parades and the most magnificent carnival floats, delicious celebration treats include corn on the cob, jambalaya, doughnuts and king cakes, all to be enjoyed. Yum!
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