Original diane kochilas.jpg?1496857845?ixlib=rails 0.3

You’ll pick up more than just knife skills at this cooking retreat.

Florida-based traveler Colleen Nelson packed up her family and brought them to the small Greek isle of Ikaria, land of good eating and even better living.

It all started with a recipe I found online. It was for making a dish called Spicy Black-Eyed Peas and Greens with Smoked Herring, and it called for an insane amount of olive oil. I mean, two cups insane. I remember thinking, This must be a mistake. But I make it a rule to always follow the recipe exactly the first time I cook something, so I did it. It created this rich bean stew that you can eat with rice or bread—and it was delicious. I was so intrigued, I looked up Diane Kochilas, the author of the cookbook the recipe had come from. Then I found out she did summer cooking classes at her home in Ikaria, Greece.

Her cookbook is more than a book of recipes; it’s an homage to the Ikarian way of life. There are six rules: 1) Eat locally, 2) Live deliberately, 3) Enjoy sleep, 4) Let things go, 5) Let your body heal itself, and 6) Walk. It sounded like a great vacation from my hectic U.S. lifestyle.

I signed up with my husband and our two teenagers, who were 16 and 18 at the time. I always want our travel to be more than just seeing the landmark sites. It was an even better family trip than I’d imagined. We cooked daily, but it didn’t feel as though we were in a class. It felt like we were visiting our Greek friends’ home. My son and Diane’s son hit it off and hung out around town or went surfing together. We ate multicourse meals we’d cooked that day in Diane’s kitchen with vegetables picked fresh from her garden, dining alfresco on her patio.

We got ingredients from outside Diane’s garden as well. I milked a goat—which for me, a city girl, was a lot harder than you might think. We visited a beekeeper and learned about all the types of honey he harvests; each has different properties depending on which plants the bees visited. In Ikaria, honey is important not just for its taste but for its medicinal properties.

We also got to dance in the streets of the village, where one night people were spilling out from a restaurant and enjoying the live music. In just one week, we felt we truly experienced the island’s way of life. It’s a Blue Zone, known for its people’s longevity, but what I noticed most was people’s appreciation for their lives and generosity with their time. The residents are industrious and hardworking, but there’s not this hunger for more material things like you see in the United States. People don’t rush, and they live deliberately. —as told to Sarah Purkrabek

Make your dream come true: Diane Kochilas’s weeklong Ikarian cooking courses cost $3,250 per person. For more info, visit dianekochilas.com.

VeryFirstTo
The Best Food Tours around the World
Food is the lens through which many travelers understand the world. Walking the streets of a new (or favorite) city with an expert local guide who can offer insight, access, and delicious bites along the way is an incredible opportunity. These are some of our favorites.
Collected by AFAR Traveler, AFAR Contributor
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    VeryFirstTo
    Japan
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    Cross the world’s best restaurants—yes, all of them—off your bucket list on VeryFirstTo’s three-Michelin-star tour of the globe. Hungry travelers will hit 12 countries in six months for an unbeatable eating tour that nabs you a seat at every one of the 109 three-Michelin-star restaurants on earth. If the six-digit price tag (understandably) makes you balk, consider funding a smaller, DIY version of the trip: Fly to Tokyo, a city with 12 of the three-star restaurants, the highest concentration in the world. From $228,413 per person. veryfirstto.com From the July/August 2017 Issue
    By Sarah Purkrabek, AFAR Contributor
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    Xishuangbanna
    Xishuangbanna, China
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    Led by scholar Jeff Fuchs, who has spent the last decade living abroad and researching traditional tea culture, China’s indigenous mountain peoples, and the Himalayas, the 10-day Ancient Tea & Horse Route experience with Whole Journeys takes you from Xishuangbanna, China—where tea originated—to the Tibetan lands that inspired the mythical Shangri-la. Along the way, you’ll learn about tea’s medicinal uses from the people who cultivate it. From $5,450 per person. wholejourneys.com From the July/August 2017 Issue
    By Sarah Purkrabek, AFAR Contributor
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    Tutka Bay Lodge
    Alaska
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    Discover the rugged flavors of rural Alaska at Tutka Bay Lodge outside Homer. The resort’s four-day culinary retreat takes you out to sea to an oyster farm, into an old-growth spruce forest to search for ingredients, and inside the Widgeon II, a 1940s crabbing boat repurposed as a classroom kitchen for lessons on filleting, deboning, and cooking regional seafood. From $2,185 per person. withinthewild.com From the July/August 2017 Issue
    By Sarah Purkrabek, AFAR Contributor
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      Context Travel: Meet in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
    Paris, France
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    Context Travel offers history, architecture and culinary tours in various European cities. I went on the " foodie" tour that began on a beautiful fall Paris morning in the toney neighborhood of St. Germain- de- Pres by meeting our friendly English speaking guide, a culinary and food history writer living in Paris, at cafe across from the Abbey. Our guide immediately taught our small group about the importance of the baguette to the French, and various virtues of real baguette verses machine- made by sampling both on the street and in a nearby boulangerie. We then took the handmade baguette and visited a cheese monger (Androuet fromagerie) to learn about different french cheeses. Next an exquisite artisan chocolate shop and finally an ice creamery . Highly educational, recommended for foodies and especially curious fist-time visitors to Paris.
    By Michelle M. Winner, AFAR Local Expert
  • 5 / 36
    Spitalfields Market
    London, United Kingdom
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    The East End is one of London’s most bohemian, artsy, and culturally diverse areas, and a delicious way to experience its offerings is through Eating London's East End Food Tour. The idea behind the tour is simple: Savor various culinary delights while learning more about the history behind each particular dish. From the legendary bacon sandwich at St. John Bread and Wine to the award-winning salted caramel tart at Pizza East, this 3.5-hour tour will give you the chance to enjoy eight delicacies that help put Britain on the food map. Don’t worry, it’s not just about stuffing yourself silly. Your leisurely walk around this vibrant area also takes in the East End's meandering alleys, interesting graffiti, and quirky buildings, and the guide peppers the tour with informative anecdotes. Nicole, our guide when we went, was amazing. Her infectious smile, her knowledge of the East End, and her passion to make us try the best of British food made this experience even more enjoyable. Combining scrumptious local fare with a side of historical and cultural information, the East End Food Tour is our idea of a perfect tour. You'll get to know London like a local if you’re a visitor, and fall in love with London all over again if you live here. It takes place from Monday to Saturday at 10 a.m. All you need to bring with you is your rumbling tummy!
    By Savi and Vid, AFAR Local Expert
  • 6 / 36
    Ho Chi Minh City
    Vietnam
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    We spent our last day in Ho Chi Minh City with Geoffrey Deetz, a restaurateur and foodie from Oakland, California, who has lived in Vietnam for the past decade and operates the wonderful Black Cat Cafe. He and his Vietnamese girlfriend took us on a street food tour that included stops in District 4 (down a boggling maze of alleys); at a stall behind the giant Ben Thanh Market; at a bustling corner in District 1; and to a remote outpost in District 5. The food tally, in order of consumption: bun khot, dollar-size spongy rice-flour pancakes topped with shrimp and minced pork; luscious fresh corn milk; bun thit nuong, noodles with imperial rolls, BBQ pork, herbs, greens, and a good drenching of fish sauce; xoi ga, sticky rice topped with shredded chicken, chicken livers, gizzards, and crisp fried shallots; and finally, in a crowning explosion of flavor, tamarind crab, stir-fried in a giant wok with pork belly, garlic, tamarind, sugar, and salt, and served with crunchy-soft banh (Vietnamese baguette rolls) and cold beer.

    By Derk Richardson, AFAR Staff
  • 8 / 10
    Kadiköy
    Turkey
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    While visiting Istanbul, take an afternoon trip across the Bosphorus to Kadiköy to stock up on food, sweets, and tea. The prices in this Istanbul neighborhood are at least half of those in the touristy Grand Bazaar and Spice Market. You'll also feel like a local as you wander the narrow streets hopping from shop to shop. But tourist beware, haggling doesn't happen as much here. So take the prices at face value.
    By Michela Baxter, AFAR Local Expert
  • 8 / 36
    Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires
    Argentina
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    The Parrilla Tour is a fun way to be introduced to secret neighborhood parrillas in Buenos Aires. On the food tour you go to 4 different authentic restaurants, sample foods at each, and learn about the cuisine and culture of Argentina. There are tours in Palermo and San Telmo several times a week.
  • 9 / 36
    Eating Italy Walking Food Tours in Rome
    Rome, Italy
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    When in Rome, they say, do as the Romans do. So that's why I made my priority in Rome to EAT. To eat gourmet cheeses, drink fine wines, plenty of pasta and of course gelato. But Rome is a big city so finding the best places to eat on my short trip was going to be a challenge. Luckily I discovered the walking tour called "A Taste of Rome Food Tour" and scheduled it in for my first day of the trip. The culinary food tour— http://www.eatingitalyfoodtours.com — took us on a 3-hour guided food tour through a local neighborhood in Rome: Testaccio. We visited a local food market where we sampled mozzarella di buffala (amazing!) and fresh Italian tomatoes, tried gourmet cheeses at a famous Rome shop and enjoyed a meal of wine and Roman pasta dishes at a local restaurant. The tour ended with a lesson on the differences between real, authentic gelato and the fake variety. Very valuable information! But my favorite part of the food tour was the fact that we got a sneak peak into the history of Testaccio as well. We visited Rome's non-catholic cemetery and learned a little about the mafia history of the neighborhood. All in all, it was an afternoon filled with amazing food and interesting history in Rome. It was one of the best things I did on my short stay and with the directory of restaurants they provided after the tour, I felt like my culinary tour through Rome never ended!
    By Adam Groffman, AFAR Local Expert
  • 10 / 36
    Flavors of San Juan Food and Culture Tours
    San Juan, Puerto Rico
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    Flavors of San Juan Food and Culture Tours is a great way to learn about the history and culture of the island while also sampling delicious Puerto Rican food. My favorite things about the tour: history, culture, and best of all food!
  • 11 / 36
    Chapinero
    Bogotá, Colombia
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    Snack on street foods and regional dishes with Colombian culinary blogger Diana Holguín. She leads a three-hour Eats & Drinks walking tour in the food-centric Chapinero neighborhood. Five stops include a dessert shop that serves oblea (a caramel-filled wafer cookie) and a produce market where you can try pitaya, a fruit that grows on desert cactus. From $50. This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue.
    By Nicholas Gill, AFAR Contributor
    Fernando Decillis
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    Zest Food Tours
    Wellington, New Zealand
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    Burn a few calories while adding many more during Zest’s Walking Gourmet tour of downtown. A guide will share local secrets (Did you know Wellington has more bars, restaurants, and cafés per capita than New York?) while you sample honey and balsamic dark chocolate at Bohemein chocolate shop. $205. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
    By Chris Woolston, AFAR Contributor
    Lindsay Keats
  • 13 / 36
    Baron Hotel
    Turkey
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    During a long weekend in Istanbul recently, I signed up for a tour of Istanbul's street food with Istanbul Eats. Tired of the Taksim scene and having been to Istanbul before, the culinary walking tour was a wonderful way to see a new part of the city. And push my tastebuds, including trying kokoreç—roasted sweetbreads wrapped in intestines served on a roll—a surprisingly yummy treat. Istanbul Eats: http://istanbuleats.com/walks-2/
    By MKS
  • 14 / 36
    Le Siffleur de Ballons
    Paris, France
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    Perhaps the best way to experience the city’s gastronomic gifts is to go straight to the source. A team of Paris By Mouth expert docents lead neighborhood food crawls, from the historic Les Halles market district to Montmartre, offering visitors an insider’s look at the city’s finest in cheese, bread, wine and chocolate. Copious tastings included.
    By Lindsey Tramuta, AFAR Contributor
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    WildChina
    China
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    Food writer Fuchsia Dunlop leads guests through cooking classes, insiders’ restaurant visits, and a farm stop on a culinary tour from Beijing to Shanghai. From $5,990. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.
    Keren Su/Corbis
  • 16 / 36
    Eat Mexico Culinary Tours
    Mexico City, Mexico
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    A great introduction to the street food scene in Mexico City. Super friendly, knowledgeable tour guide introduced a small group of us to vendors around the city, explaining what they sell, when they sell it, and how to order. In just a few hours, I felt armed and ready to navigate the vast array of street food options all around me.
  • 17 / 36
    Ahoy New York Tours & Tasting
    New York, New York
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    Manhattan's Chinatown can be one of the most intimidating places to visit in all of New York City. While Little Italy is far smaller, it too can be off-putting with its obnoxious waiters who shove menus in your face as you traverse the sidewalk. Since each neighborhood plays such an important role in the history of the city, and even in its current development, they should still be experienced. An AHOY food tour is a great way to take in the best of Chinatown and Little Italy, both their histories and their cuisines, under less intimidating circumstances than normal. It will allow you to try - Fresh homemade mozzarella paired with prosciutto - Delicious imported Italian cheeses - An authentic Sicilian pastry, cannoli - A taste of “Grandma’s Pie” - Sit-down Thai dining experience - An authentic Chinese dumpling and The “original egg roll”. You'll also get a lot of history in between. My guide Kelsey was so knowledgeable and since she is also a pastry chef, she had an insight into the food culture of the city that I never would have gained on my own. In the summer, be prepared for the heat and carry extra drinking water. In the winter, obviously dress warm. Quite a large portion of the tour is outdoors so perhaps the best time is in Spring or Fall!
    By Kirsten Alana, AFAR Local Expert
  • 18 / 36
    Ananda Tours - Wine, Gourmet Food and Art
    Waiheke Island, New Zealand
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    Waiheke Island is carved with numerous scalloped coves along the leafy mountain coastline about 45 minutes from Auckland. It’s both the weekend retreat for New Zealand’s upper crusts and full time home for eclectic middle-age men and women who spend a lot of time in herb gardens. Steve Robinson is one of the latter, approaching 50 in shorts and flip flops with an easy smile and genuine way about him. A tour guide with Ananda Tours, he hosts “The Premium Waiheke Wine & Food Experience” visiting some of the 30 wineries on-island. First Steve provides a little background. “We have less than 1,000 years of human history on Waiheke, which is understandable since we’re pretty much hanging off the bottom of the map,” he laughs. “We have a similar climate to Bordeaux, hence the cabernet and merlot grapes do well.” We’re at the handsome Cable Bay Vineyards (above) for a tasting. The natural setting is staggering on a wide grassy bluff overlooking the Gulf, and the wine is exceptional. Typically, I’m drawn more to whites during mid-day in warm climes by the sea, so I opt for the chardonnay. I’ve never tasted a chard like this with such a light demeanor and robust character. “I’m not a wine guy,” I tell Steve. “But this seems quite a lot different from chardonnay back home.” “A lot of people here got put off because of too much oak so these are a lot more fruit driven,” he explains. “I’m a big believer in the restrained use of new oak.” Steve’s a wine guy.
  • 19 / 36
    Mataderos
    Argentina
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    It's not rocket science to make dinner reservations at one of Buenos Aires' hot-right-now restaurants - but what about finding your way to the city's hole-in-the-wall empanada shops, the roadside parrilla (grill) stands, the mom-and-pop delis with only three tables and a takeaway counter? If you're a serious foodie who's looking to explore the city's food scene a la Anthony Bourdain, you don't have time to waste - you need to contact Allie Lazar, a.k.a. Pick Up the Fork, an American expat who's quickly become one of the city's most respected food writers. Depending on the interests of her clients, who range from restaurateurs and industry types to journalists and traveling foodies, Lazar organizes private, tailor-made food tours. She'll get you to that roadside stand, to the regional festival, to the marketplace - and help you get your hands on whatever you're hungry for. Check out the Pick Up the Fork blog for an overview of her favorites: it doubles as an excellent dining and drinking resource for anyone visiting Buenos Aires.
    By Bridget Gleeson, AFAR Local Expert
    Pick Up the Fork
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    UnTour Shanghai
    China
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    For a fun way to see the city while getting in a good jog, check out UnTour's Running tours for a uniquely guided journey through the city. You can choose their standard 10km route, or, if you're feeling really ambitious, they offer 20km & 25km morning runs as well. They provide water, food, transportation and will even send you an email afterward with your run stats and a route map. Price: AM run: RMB 350 and up for single runners, for each additional runner add RMB 200 PM run: RMB 450 and up for single runners, for each additional runner add RMB 200
    By Christy Campbell, AFAR Local Expert
    UnTour
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    Savor Seattle Food Tours
    Seattle, Washington
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    Seattle’s booming restaurant scene can be too much of a good thing: it’s hard to narrow the list down to just a few top places to try. Maximize your time (and your waistline) with Savor Seattle Food Tours, the immensely popular guided tours that take you through many of Seattle's best neighborhood eateries. You’ll be whisked into kitchens and back rooms for specially prepared nibbles and drinks that represent some of Seattle’s favorite spots. Themed walking tours include the Pike Place Market Tour, Chocolate Indulgence, Hip on the Hill, and Booze-n-Bites; you’ll see the guides’ hot-pink umbrellas held aloft in the market for groups to follow. Vegetarian and non-alcoholic options are available, but gluten-free preferences and other allergies are not catered to.
    By Stephanie Perry, AFAR Local Expert
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    Vallarta Eats Food Tours
    Aquiles Serdán, Mexico
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    Tacos, mole, and pozole are among Mexicans' favorite comfort foods, and Eat Vallarta's guided tours lead you directly to the best places where you can try these dishes for yourself. On the taco tour, you'll visit a tortilla factory and eat fresh tortillas, while on the mole and pozole tour, you'll try these signature Mexican dishes, as well as some local seafood and other delicacies, at the guides' favorite local restaurants.
    By Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
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    Jordaan Food Tours
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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    Amsterdam may not be as synonymous with gourmet cuisine as Italy, France, Germany, China or, well...anywhere. Yet despite its bad rap for being boiled, mashed comfort food—ironic when you consider Holland ruled the 17th century spice trade—Dutch food is fascinating in its diverse roots and flavors. Experience the full range on the new Jordaan Food Tour, a four-hour amble through one of Amsterdam's most scenic neighborhoods, showcasing such delicacies as Dutch apple pie, Indonesian sandwiches, ossenworst (sausage made with prime, raw beef), raw herring, kibbeling, drop, bitterballen, Dutch cheese and poffertjes. On the guided adventure, you'll visit historic cafes and specialty food stores, all family-run establishments and local institutions. From the city's oldest brown café (once patronized by Bill Clinton) to an old-fashioned candy store and the Dutch capital's best butchers and delicatessens for meat and fish, the tour serves up an ample lunch with a side of culture and history, all washed down with wine and beer on some stops. In addition to seven tasty food stops, the new Jordan Food Tour includes an hour-long cruise through the city's UNESCO-honored canals on a private restored salon boat that's hosted the likes of Winston Churchill and Queen Wilhelmina. The Jordaan Food Tour is offered Tuesday through Saturday, beginning at 11am.
    By Melissa Adams, AFAR Local Expert
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    Bier- Und Oktoberfestmuseum
    Munich, Germany
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    Our first night in Munich—which was also my husband's first trip abroad—we decided the best way to immerse ourselves was to join the Bavarian Beer and Food Evening Tour. As we were lead through the Oktoberfest Museum and Hofbräuhaus, we drank liters of beer and ate massive pretzels (the size of my face) along the way. The tour gave us a private viewing of the Oktoberfest Museum, which was particularly interesting since my ancestors were coopers in Germany. I highly recommend this tour!
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    Taste Porto Food Tours
    Porto, Portugal
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    With the premise “food is a cultural expression”, André and the team behind Taste Porto Food Tours organize one of the best intros to food and beverage you are likely to come across in the North of Portugal. As someone from this part of Portugal myself, I was curious as to what I’d explore, taste and learn in a tour such as this. but I can say the balance was extremely positive. There are 6 stops that include savory, sweet, drinks and a lot of friendly talking (and, of course, several restaurant recommendations for the rest of your stay in the city). We started the morning with the extremely fresh Pasteis de Chaves (the original minced veal and new-age chocolate flavor), went off to explore the buzz at the traditional Bolhao Market and sample some wine and sardines in one of the local shops. After a coffee at the historical Cafe Christina, the next stop was A Flor dos Congregados restaurant here we got to try the most succulent pork sandwich ever. Even though I thought I'd have no space after that, after walking around Porto's city centre with our tour guide Andre, we still managed to squeeze in some creamy eclairs and end up at Taberna do Lago for wines, regional cheeses and cured meats tasting. This tour is about more than food: it all about Porto, its people, its sights and, ultimately, the local way of life. A great way to get acquainted with Portuguese food and culture!
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    Taste of TCI Food Tours
    Turks and Caicos Islands
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    Learn how to clean conch, meet the conch shack legend & winner of the best grouper! Taste of TCI Food Tour is a 3 hour walking/ riding food tour that takes you to 5 locations that are native Turks & Caicos Islanders favorite spots to enjoy great food. This is a great way to get bearing on the island and to know which restaurants to head to later. Tickets are $99 per adult, and advanced booking is required. The mix of restaurant picks changes regularly based on owner/ guide Sheniqua’s latest finds. My review on http://www.goeatgive.com/taste-of-tci-food-tour/
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    Tenedor Tours, SL
    San Sebastián, Spain
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    In my mind, the best way to get the lay of the land in a new city is always a culinary walking tour. In San Sebastian, Spain, Gabriella Ranelli (Tenedor Tours) offers all sorts of delicious options. I loved the half-day tour I took which included visiting a small Jamon Iberico shop, an artisanal cheese store (tasting as we walked!) as well as stopping in several of her fave bars for pintxos and wine. Grand finale: ending up at her darling "business" kitchen and apartment for a hands-on cooking class, lunch, more wine, more laughter, more fun! Gabriella was named one of the Top 10 food guides in the world by the Wall Street Journal; she's a wealth of info about the Basque food scene in every way (she married a Basque man and moved to San Sebastian from the USA more than 20 years ago).
  • 28 / 36
    Casco Viejo
    Panama City, Panama
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    Coffee, chocolate, and ceviche are just three specialties to be sampled on a food tour in Casco Viejo, one of Panama City's popular neighborhoods. On the Taste of Panama City Food Walking Tour, a guide offers some historical and cultural contexts as guests eat and drink their way through the capital's highlights. A microbrewery gives guests a chance to sample local beer, and the tour ends with a cocktail, enjoyed as the sun sets over the city.
    By Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
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    Culinary Tour and Cooking Class at Levinsky Market
    Tel Aviv, Israel
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    One of the best ways to experience a country is through its food. There are quite a lot of open markets in Israel (shuk) and local companies started running some culinary tours in Tel Aviv. For tourists who don't know where to go and which markets to visit, these tours are a good way to understand and experience the true meaning of the 'melting pot' of culinary culture in Israel. Some of the tours are in English. One of the tours is in Levinskyi market in the south of Tel Aviv. It's a small market, yet full of different people from different backgrounds: Turkish, Persian, Moroccan, Bulgarian and more. The tour guide will take you to some of the best locations in this market. Another tour is a walking tour in the Carmel market in Tel Aviv and afterwards a cooking class followed by lunch to enjoy the local food.
    By Sivan Askayo, AFAR Local Expert
    Mekomy.com
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    Middle Eastern Foodie Pilgrimage
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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    To get a feel for the real Dubai, there's no better way than to book a tour with Frying Pan Adventures. Frying Pan was the first culinary tour outfit in Dubai, and their success is well deserved. A day with Frying Pan will get you out of the glitzy hotel scene and into Dubai's neighborhoods, which can be hard to imagine when you're sitting in a bar 25 stories above the city. On Arva's Middle Eastern food tour you'll try Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian, Egyptian, Iranian, and Emirati cuisines. Good Emirati food is difficult to find outside of homes, so the tour is worth doing for that chance alone. You'll get to sample delectable treats: from succulent Persian kebabs and wonderful Egyptian pastries to baklava dripping with honey and piping hot flat bread straight from the oven. Arva's walking tours (or air-conditioned vans, in the hotter months), will take you from food trucks to tiny Egyptian kitchens, from Iranian saffron rice to Emirati date-scented desserts. Make sure to book well in advance, especially in the winter months.
    By Lara Dunston, AFAR Contributor
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    Mexico City
    Mexico City, Mexico
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    My guide, Paco, a.k.a. Francisco de Santiago, 46, is a full time tour guide, and also a former child chess champion and bullfighter (“that was many kilos ago”), orders a flight of artisanal mezcal samples at our first mezcalería of the evening, and instructs me on the proper way to taste the purest of agave drinks. “You spread the mescal on top of your hand, like this, then wait for the alcohol to evaporate, then smell it for citric, floral, or smoky tones.” After smelling, a sip, then another for good measure, you take a bite of orange slice dipped in crushed maguey worms and sea salt. After that, we dive into the city's tacos and street food, beginning our night with two cups of esquite—boiled corn kernels mixed with lime, chili pepper, and mayonnaise, which we bought from a father-son team who have been working the same street corner for 22 years. I booked my 4-hour “late-night taco and mezcal tour” with Eat Mexico Culinary Tours (eatmexico.com, $95 per person). Francisco de Santiago of Mexico also runs Every Angle Tours (desantiagotours@gmail.com, tel. 55-2086-0851, $85–145 per person, depending on tour, includes food, beverage, transport, guide); all kinds of specialty culinary tours, or an all-day Frida Kahlo tour of the city.
    By Joshua Berman, AFAR Local Expert
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    Devour Barcelona Food Tours
    Barcelona, Spain
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    Gracia has never been one of my favorite Barcelona neighborhoods---it's a bit out of the way from other parts of the city, and I don't know it as well. So when Devour Barcelona Food Tours invited me to go on their tour of the neighborhood, I agreed. The tour is 4 hours, and includes stops at a nice variety of the neighborhoods bars, bakeries, food shops and restaurants with some attention to the history and landmarks of the neighborhood thrown in. Hole-in-the-wall traditional bars serving Catalan breakfast ---butifarra sausage with cava, and vermouth with olives and chips were definite highlights, especially when these sorts of places are hard to ferret out when you're new to an area. The tour of Gràcia's modernized market is a nice change of pace from the crowds at La Boqueria off La Rambla. All in all, the tour is a nice introduction to the neighborhood for tourists and Gràcia newbies like myself and there's a nice mixture of types of foods, tapas, sweets, charcuterie and cheeses. That said, the tour is long--clocking in at four hours, and the walking could be a bit much for small children or people who are less fit. *My tour was sponsored by Devour Tours Barcelona, but all opinions are my own.
    By Chris Ciolli, AFAR Local Expert
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    Rome
    Rome, Italy
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    There are so many major sights to see in Rome that it is easy to get caught up in hurrying from tourist option A to Z! We hurried along with the best of them, but the favorite part of our time in the city was walking the neighborhoods in the evening. The lighting of the street and the people out and about create the feel of the photo but it was the fact that we convinced our youngest child that Rome was setting off fireworks in his honor that make this image memorable for me.
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    Brick Lane
    London, United Kingdom
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    Brick Lane Market has everything from bric-a-brac to high-end design. Brick Lane between Bethnal Green Road and Wentworth Street Sundays, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. This story appeared in the Premier 2009 issue. See all of london">Sophie Howarth’s favorite places in Shoreditch.
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    Bushtucker Tours
    Margaret River, Australia
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    Learn about the indigenous Wardandi people on guide Josh Whiteland’s Koomal Dreaming bush walk. It ends with a didgeridoo performance inside Ngilgi Cave. Bushtucker Tours leads canoe trips that focus on native foods (shown), fauna, and medicinal plants. This appeared in the May 2013 issue.
    By Aaron Peasley, AFAR Contributor
    Cynthia Chew
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    Jia Choi O’ngo Food Communications
    Seoul, South Korea
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    Seoul-based food pundit Daniel Gray leads eight-hour ultimate insider tours of the city. Each is customizable. Meat lovers can focus on Korean barbecue, while vegetarians may want to sample kongguksu (chilled noodle soup in soy milk broth) and other temple dishes. From $315. This appeared in the May 2013 issue.

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