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.
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
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
6 Rue Victor Cousin, 75005 Paris, France
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.
Via degli Orti di Trastevere, 3, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
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!
Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, CDMX, Mexico
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. Francisco de Santiago of Mexico also runs Every Angle Tours (email@example.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.)
Mataderos, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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.
Al Muraqqabat Street , Deira - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
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.