Are you a food lover? Do you enjoy food but have no idea where to eat? Do you often like all inclusive places to stay because you feel that is all that is available to you? Do you always eat at the same places in your hometown? Then this blog about taking a food tour (or two) is for you.
Last year, we scored a crazy good plane ticket deal via Iceland Air to travel to Copenhagen. We had never visited Denmark and had no idea what to do or what was good as far as food. We found that reading restaurant reviews was helpful but we knew we were missing out on the gems not highlighted by the internet.
As we did some more searching on what tours to take while in Copenhagen, some food tour options came up. We thought to ourselves, “What a great idea!” and booked one. We figured that we would take the food tour early on so that we would have a few days after to revisit any of the places that we sampled.
So this is what we learned about why you should take a food tour while on travel (I realize that not every city, including your own will offer a food tour but always do a search. It will be so worth it!)
Why you should take a food tour in every city you visit (including your own):
1. Get to know the food scene (what’s good and what’s traditional)
There is a really good chance that some really amazing restaurants have partnered up with the company hosting the food tour. Why? Because not only do they want your business but because they really highlight what that city is capable of producing food-wise. Food tours want to succeed and they want your glowing reviews so naturally they will partner with the best of the best.
When we traveled to Copenhagen, we had NO IDEA about the local cuisine. To be honest, we would have probably regularly eaten at an Italian, Chinese, Thai or Latin restaurant because that is what we know best (okay and perhaps the occasional ramen joint – which BTW Slurp Ramen Joint in Copenhagen is the best ramen I have ever had). Because of the food tour we tried local craft beers and alcoholic beverages, so many amazing cheeses, chocolates and sweets. Not to mention it was the first time we were exposed to an amazing array of smørrebrød (their open faced rye sourdough sandwiches).
2. You get to tour parts of the city
During our Copenhagen Food Tour, we were also able to explore their indoor Torvehallerne market, the Copenhagen Botanical Garden and other parts of the city all the while learning a bit of history. This was especially great for me because I was able to scout for places to visit and take photos with more time later during our trip (like the Little Mermaid Statue and the Round Tower). The Copenhagen Botanical Garden was beautiful so Adam and I made sure to come back for a couple of hours during our trip.
3. You get to learn about the city
The tour guides are not only knowledgeable about the history of their city but proud. They interweave history with food facts – like how some dishes came to be what they are today, how they produce certain beers or beverages or where their ingredients are sourced from.
4. You get to eat and drink!
This is the best part! What I enjoy most about eating and drinking are the portions. Because these tours want to give you a broad sampling of what their city has to offer, the portions will be a lot smaller. I love this because whenever I visit a new place, I find myself undecided on what to eat. I almost always end up ordering waaaay too many dishes because I want to try it all. And, if you’re like us, the left overs won’t always get eaten because we’re off to try something new for our next meal – after all we only have so many meals in a new place.
Why you should take a food tour in your own city:
It was so much fun to take a food tour in Denver (this was totally my husband’s doing by the way). So you remember how I mentioned that we tend to stick to certain food restaurants when we travel? Well, it’s not so different in Denver. Since we don’t eat out very often, I always like to go to eat at a place that I know is tried and true. Why? Because I don’t want to waste my money and calories on something that I might not like. After all, eating out is a HUGE treat and experience for me and I get SO disappointed if my experience is anything less than amazing.
1. You learn about new places
What I loved about the Delicious Denver Food Tour was that we learned about two new restaurants that were off the charts! The first was Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza on Larimer St. Now, this was such a HUGE coincidence for me because just weeks ago I was thinking about the amazing pizza I once had in New York City at Luzzo’s La Pizza Napoletana. The first time I ate at Luzzo’s I was on a college art field trip. We made our way to Luzzo’s for lunch. It was SO good that I had to bring a whole pizza home for my mom to try. I spent all day, going all over NYC in the rain with this pizza box for my mom (THAT is how blown away I was). So when I took a bite of the Bufala Mozzarella I was INSTANTLY transported back to NYC. I had found a pizza just as delicious as I’d had back in the early 2000’s.
The second new place we got to try was Lazo Empanadas just down the street. Wow! We were served with a delicious ground beef empanada with Chimichurri sauce. This was, hands down, the best Argentinian empanada that I have ever had. The beef flavor was rich and savory and the empanada crispy and flaky. I wanted to eat at least three more empanadas!
2. You get to learn something new about your city
Even though Adam and I have been living in the Denver area for four years, there is still so much to learn and explore. We learned about the El Chapultepec Jazz Club and the Dairy Block in Denver. We have never visited either place but now we are aware of them. While neither one of us are jazz club go-ers, it was good to learn about a well established place in Denver. The Dairy Block, though, very much caught my interest.
3. You get to make new friends
The best part about taking a local food tour was making a new friend. Our tour guide, Chris, was a super cool dude. He works for Pomp Digital and is originally from Brooklyn. At the end of the tour we exchanged info to keep in touch. There are other opportunities to make friends of course. You can keep in contact with the attendees of the tour or strike up a conversation with the staff at each restaurant or food establishment that you go to.
So you see, doing food tours are beneficial for many reasons. We had a blast in both of ours and cannot wait to try them in other cities. Unfortunately, we don’t remember the name of our tour guide in Copenhagen since we did the tour a year ago but if you recognize her, make sure you let me know in the comments below.
Have you ever attended a food tour before? If you have, let me know which one (s) so we can add them to our list!
‘Til the next adventure!