Go on a guided food tour to learn about a new city.
One of the best parts of taking a luxury vacation is going on a food tour! It’s a great way to sight-see and learn about your destination’s history. The following places are all on my travel to-do list, along with their amazing food tours…
1. Napa Valley: Gourmet Napa Walking Tour
It’s a 3 hour walking tour through downtown Napa with 8 tasting stops. Learn about the local history and meet organic farmers and boutique winemakers! By the end of the tour, you will have a curated list of expertly recommended recipes.
- Coffee from one of San Francisco’s premier roasters
- Oysters on the 1/2 shell from a renowned North America oyster producer
- Excellent California artisan cheese
- Artisan salumi and chance to observe sausage production
- Wine infused chocolate and brittle from local chocolatiers
- Award-winning extra virgin olive oil
- Handcrafted whoopie pies
2. San Francisco: Gourmet on Hayes
Another 3 hour walking tour, this time of San Francisco’s trendy Hayes Valley. This tour features 7 tasting stops and will take you off the beaten path to what’s really hot on the San Francisco gourmet food scene. You will be taken to specialty shops and restaurants and experience the results of sustainable ingredients and fair trade partnerships.
- Specialty teas at a Zen inspired tea lounge
- Belgian fries with 22 dipping sauces!
- Hand painted artisan truffles from a luxurious chocolate lounge
- Rainbow assortment of Parisian macaroons
- Gourmet imported cheeses and Russian River Sauvignon Blanc in a beautiful garden setting
- Artisinal salumi
- Gingerbread cupcakes from European style confiserie
3. Aspen: Foodie Food Tours
Aspen is a great luxury ski destination and summer vacation destination as well! I love how Colorado is obsessed with local, sustainable ingredients and small farmers. This tour, called the “Off the Beaten Path” tour will do just that! You’ll visit locals favorite restaurants and specialty shops that you probably wouldn’t find on your own and mingle with restaurant owners and chefs.
The tasting stops are always changing, but may include Specialty Foods of Aspen, Boden’s Butter, The Restaurant, Sabra’s Deli, The Aspen Brewery, 39 Degrees, Ellina, J-Bar, and more.
Side-note: Whenever I visit Aspen, I stay at a Ritz Carlton Aspen Highlands vacation rental!
4. Miami: Little Havana Food Tour
I don’t often get the opportunity to try authentic Cuban food. Miami, one of the most luxurious destinations in the world, is just the place! This food tour will help you experience traditional Cuban cuisine by visiting family owned restaurants along Calle Ocho in one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods – Little Havana. This particular tour focuses on smaller, hole-in-the-wall places where you will learn the history behind dishes that have been handed down for generations. Meet local artists, watch cigar rollers, and see the famous Domino Park!
5. Houston: Where the Chefs Eat
I have always wanted to go to Texas for one reason – to eat! This tour showcases Houston’s mom and pop restaurants and introduces people to Houston’s culinary diversity. You know these restaurants will be good because they are all patronized by chefs on their days off. You’ll discover new restaurants and markets where chefs get their ingredients and experience true southern cooking.
- Gift bag
- Free Saint Arnold’s beverages
– Limo-bus transportation
6. New Orleans: Tasting Tour of the French Quarter
I regretfully admit that I have never been to New Orleans, but one of the main attractions for me is the amazing food (actually that’s one of my main attractions for just about any place). This tour focuses on the history and evolution of the city’s famous cuisine. You’ll tour select historic restaurants and discuss their culinary contributions, including the two oldest restaurants, Antoine’s (opened in 1860) and Tujague’s (opened in 1856).
- Learn the difference between Creole and Cajun cuisine
- Seafood gumbo, red beans & rice, beef brisket with Creole sauce, praline, muffulettas, turtle soup, and shrimp remoulade
7. New York: Chelsea Market/Meatpacking District Food & Culture Walking Tour
It would take days to try all the amazing food in NYC, but I would start with Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District! This tour gives you the chance to explore two of the oldest industrial areas that have become some of the hottest NYC destinations. The tour showcases mom and pop food shops, ethnic restaurants, a little boutique shopping, and the new “highline” elevated outdoor park. The tour is 3 hours long and features 6 specialty food shops (Chelsesa) and 1 restaurant (Meatpacking).
- Amy’s Breads: Artisinal French/American bakery
- Ronny Brook Milk Bar
- Sarabeth’s Bakery: gourmet American bakery
- Lobster Place: high-end fish market
- Buon Italia: Italian specialty food
- Chelsea Market Baskets: Gourmet specialty food store
- Eleni’s: Classic American bakery
- Macelleria: Italian steak house
8. Chicago: Bucktown & Wicker Park Food Tasting and Cultural Tour
The Chicago food tour should be great – Chicago has some of the best and most creative restaurants in the States. This tour features 6 tasting stops in the trendy neighborhoods of Bucktown and Wicker Park, where you will experience mom and pop specialty restaurants and one of a kind cafes.
- Hot Chocolate: Chicago’s top pastry/dessert restaurant, a James Beard Award finalist
- George’s Hot Dogs: Chicago style hot dog “stand”
- Piece: Internationally acclaimed brew pub, New Haven thin crust pizza
- Goddess and Grocer: Gourmet deli, local organic grocer
- Sultan’s Market: Middle Eastern restaurant and authentic falafel deli
- iCream: Custom ice cream, sorbet, yogurt created instantly on the spot
9. Boston: North End Market Tour
Boston’s North End is the city’s “Little Italy” and is filled with cafes, Italian bakeries, and authentic Italian restaurants. This tour will educate you on the history of authentic Italian food, Italian recipes, and where to identify and buy fresh ingredients.
- Discover pasticcerias that offer the best biscotti, amaretti, sfogliatelle, cannoli and more
- Visit authentic salumeria in search of the best olive oil, balsamic vinegar, olives, salami, cheese, prosciutto, and pasta
- Visit an “Old World” candy store and smell 79 year old coffee
- Tour an enoteca and learn how to select aperitivi to begin, wine to compliment, and digestivi to conclude the meal
10. Los Angeles: LA Latin Spice Food Tasting Tour
This tour will take you to places you wouldn’t typically explore in Los Angeles, many of which are hidden in the downtown area. Travel by foot and the Metro Gold Line through downtown LA and Boyle Heights & Mariachi Plaza. Learn about the Latin culture and traditions, and sample traditional handmade foods!
- LA’s first tortilla factory
- Taste time-honored family recipes
- Visit a nationally renowned tamale restaurant
- LA’s first birreria
- Health consciuos pupuseria
- Contemporary Latina cafe