What Is A Food Tour, Exactly?
When we talk to people about food tours, we’re surprised by the first question we always get: “What is a food tour, exactly?” When you spend most of your time thinking about food tours, it can be hard to imagine just how many people have never heard of the concept.
But here’s something else we’ve discovered: Once someone gets their first taste of food tours (pun intended), they know that there’s no better way to acquaint themselves with a new place. Luckily, there are food tours all over the world, and while they’re all a bit different, they all have a few things in common!
Of course, food is the main event on any food tour. Depending on the tour, the group will stop at between 4 and 8 restaurants, cafes, bakeries, markets (we could go on), where you’ll get to sample something delicious, and maybe even unique! A good food tour will introduce you to a mix of food – perhaps something elegant at one stop and something fast-casual at another. Or maybe something ethnic immediately following a classic staple. And usually something sweet is thrown into the mix, as well.
How do we know the food will be delicious? Well, we do lots of research for you (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it), and these establishments will want to impress you – they want to earn your repeat business, so you can be sure you’ll be trying their best!
If a food tour involved only food, you’d get pretty bored, pretty fast. Can you imagine eating in silence, followed by shuffling in silence to the next stop, with nothing to break it up? “There are millions of restaurants in the world, why these ones?” you’d wonder. A good food tour involves a bit of history & context sprinkled among all those tastings. This should include some or all of these three topics:
Background of the venues visited. You might learn about the owner or chef, or you might discover (and hopefully taste) the restaurant’s specialty.
History of the city and neighborhood. If a food tour is marching you around a specific neighborhood, the guide should be sharing with you whatever it is that makes that neighborhood unique. Historic buildings? Notorious characters? A great food tour will entertain you between bites through storytelling.
The region’s food culture. Does this city have an important history with food? How does the region influence the tastes of the venues visited? A great food tour should leave you with a sense of a city’s flavors, and not just from the restaurants you visited.
Of course, a food tour should be fun! What reason would you have for participating if it wasn’t? Your tour guide has the lead role in ensuring you have a good time, but it’s not all up to them. You’ll get to interact with your fellow guests as you move from restaurant to restaurant. You’ll get to meet business owners, chefs, and staff who will share with you their excitement for food and their city. And you’ll get to do it all in a relaxed, casual environment that brings people together – over food!
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