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10 New Food Tours for Travellers

by Steph Spencer

Veteran travellers have long known that food is an effective and enjoyable way to get to know a destination, but it’s only in recent years that organized, focused food tours have become a mainstream tourism attraction. There are now scores of food tours available in practically every corner of the globe, providing the culinary experiences you’ve been craving. Here’s a taste:

Paddling and Picnics in Toronto
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Shutterstock

Chef Scott of Toronto’s Culinary Adventure Co. is upfront about the fact that he’s a professional chef, not a professional tour guide. Nevertheless, his tours have quickly become one of the top-rated new tourism experiences in the city.

On his Escape the City tour, participants depart from Toronto’s lakeshore and paddle canoes and kayaks in Lake Ontario to reach an area often overlooked by visitors—Toronto’s islands. A gourmet picnic awaits, showcasing the best of Ontario’s culinary bounty, such as roast pork and aged cheddar.

Resurrecting Belfast’s Culinary Heritage
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Shutterstock

It’s not every day that you encounter a cryogenically revived chef from the RMS Titanic. Barney has been trapped inside an iceberg for the past century, and now that he’s free he has only two and a half hours to source the ingredients for the meal served at the illustrious ship’s launch. On the Belfast Bred Tour, Barney takes you along for a ride through Belfast’s culinary history as you sample seafood, beer, steaks and more before finishing up at historic St. George’s Market.

Culinary Immersion in Turkey
Credit: Tammy Burns

Credit: Tammy Burns

A walking tour of Istanbul is exotic enough, and Backpacker Concierge will happily provide that, but they also offer several more ways to immerse yourself in Turkish food culture even further, including farm stays, tastings and cooking classes, and can arrange for you to spend time at rural guesthouses, organic farms and wineries in Turkey.

Give Shakespeare a Run for His Money with Bacon and Ale
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Shutterstock

Mention Stratford, Ontario, to just about anyone from Canada and Shakespeare is most likely the first thing that comes to mind. Give it a few more years, however, and Stratford’s culinary scene could well eclipse its famous Shakespearean theatre festival as the destination’s main draw.

Stratford is proud of its artisanal food producers and there are numerous thematic self-guided tours or “trails” available. The one that stands out is the Bacon and Ale Trail which combines two tremendously popular indulgences. With the purchase of your trail ticket you receive vouchers for tastings at 10 different stops that you can visit at your leisure. You just can’t rush bacon, or beer for that matter, and you’ll want to take your time and make sure to take your photo with the 10-foot pig outside the Best Little Pork Shoppe.

Take A Deep Dive into Spanish Cuisine

Spanish-paella

It takes guts to call yourself the “ultimate” anything, but the Ultimate Spanish Cuisine Tour fits the bill. Encompassing no less than 15 tastings of traditional and contemporary specialties from tapas to pastries to spirits to meats, this walking tour in Madrid is like taking a crash course in Spanish cuisine.

Sip the Spirit of San Francisco

SanFran-martinis

Not all food tours have to be about the studious pursuit of culinary knowledge. The enjoyment factor is high on the San Francisco Craft Cocktails Tour. On this tour you have the opportunity to chat with professional mixologists who both devise new and innovative drinks, and are the driving force behind the revival of old recipes. Of course the proof is in the tasting and cocktails and snacks are enjoyed at each stop while you listen to the story behind San Francisco’s distinctive cocktails.

Afloat in Bangkok
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Shutterstock

An hour from Bangkok is Samut Songkram, which is billed as “the last Venice of Thailand” for its waterways. Those who partake in the Offbeat Floating Markets Food Tour enjoy a full-day excursion exploring the many floating markets that take place on its canals.

Not only do you get to learn the traditional method for making coconut sugar, try Thai delicacies, and visit a unique market on top of a train track, a short massage is also included in the tour, which might trump anything else a tour could possibly offer.

Austin Has No Limits on Eating Dessert
Credit: Stacey McLeod

Credit: Stacey McLeod

Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule that dessert must be eaten last. Austin is known for harbouring creativity and unconventional ideas so it’s no surprise that the Texas city would give rise to the Dessert First! tour led by the enticingly monikered chocolate guru Madame Cocoa.

Sweet-toothed travellers will be sated by gelato, chocolate, pralines, beignets and many more confections and sweet treats while soaking up knowledge of Texas culinary history and other sweet facts.

Just Don’t Call This A Food Tour
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Shutterstock

White Moustache Urban Adventure Co. is very clear that they don’t operate food tours. Their tours are EATING tours. They eschew a lot of the elements of typical food tours such as walking, and only having a wee sample to taste, and instead personally drive you to the choicest eateries, bars, markets, bakeries and gourmet shops that tickle your fancy.

You see, each White Moustache tour of Seattle is a customized experience where you visit the places your guide selects based on your individual tastes. A long list of themes is available on their website, but those are merely a jumping-off point to get things rolling.

Not So Much a Tour But a New Way of Looking at Things
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Shutterstock

It’s true that the rise of the “foodie” is largely responsible for the increase in the number of food tours available of late, but another reason is that technology has made it incredibly easy for an enterprising individual to start up a food tour and take to the streets with whatever delectable topic they are passionate about.

Now, a website called HipHost has made it even easier for the average person to become a tour guide. Just as regular folk have joined the ranks of the hospitality industry through sites such as Airbnb or Flipkey, anyone can now offer a city tour on HipHost where travellers can me matched up with a guide suited to their interests. Over 200 tours are listed at the moment on an enormous range of food-and-drink-related topics. Often the themes are very specific such as vegan tours of Boston, or an ice cream bike tour of Portland, so you’re bound to find something of interest.

Pack your appetite, and perhaps some walking shoes, and find out what’s good to eat in your next destination.

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