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Culinary Backstreets: Lisbon Eats Essentials – Lisbon, Portugal

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Blessed with some of the world’s best fish and seafood off the coast and the bounty of rich farmland inland, the Portuguese are spoilt for choice of great culinary resources. The cuisine of Lisbon, which draws from a diverse range of influences hinting at Portugal’s glorious trading past, is always based on the simple principal of supreme ingredients and a simple preparation that allows those ingredients to shine. On this half-day tour, we set out to find some of the best examples of local cuisine that Lisbon has to offer.

Our walk will begin at Lisbon’s greatest market, the Mercado da Ribeira, with a crash course in the building blocks of Portuguese cuisine. Visiting some of the market’s old-time fishmongers, produce sellers and butchers, we will explore the roots of Portuguese cuisine and then, in the market’s bustling central hall, sample some of the “fruits” of these ingredients, tasting rustic cheeses, top quality cured ham made from acorn-fed black hoofed pigs unique to the Iberian Peninsula, artisanal breads and local olive oils.

We’ll then set out to visit some of the time-honored establishments in the neighborhoods around the market. We’ll go for traditional savory pastries on the rooftop canteen of a nunnery. We’ll stop into an old, family-run grocery to try some top shelf tinned sardines – unlike any canned seafood you may have had before, this is superb – accompanied by a glass of vinho verde, the unique effervescent white wine from Northern Portugal.

At our next stop, the reincarnation of an old neighborhood institution that Lisboetas – as Lisbon’s residents are known – have been flocking to for generations, we’ll try the restaurant’s locally renowned cod fritters along with other meaty house specialties, paired with the distinct red wine from Alentejo. From there we will end the day on a sweet note, stopping in a local pastelaria for traditional pastries, before finishing with a few sips of ginjinha, a sour cherry liqueur beloved by locals and whose sweet flavor is yet another essential element that defines Lisbon’s culinary identity.

In addition to your Culinary Backstreets guide, all food consumed on the walk – more than half a dozen different edible specialties – are included in the price.  A limited selection of alcohol is served on the walks and is included in the price.

  • Price: $95 US/person; $110 US/person on weekends. Fee includes everything consumed on the walk
  • Group Size: 2-7
  • Start/End: 10:30am-2:00pm; 5:00pm-8:30pm Sundays
  • Duration: about 3.5 hours

More Info & Reservations

Culinary Backstreets offers additional tours in Lisbon, as well as tours in many other cities around the world.

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Avital Tours: Mission District Food Tour – San Francisco, CA

Our Mission District Food Tour visits a New York Times acclaimed Cheese Bar and continues as you sample the best of the San Francisco food scene. Stroll through the historic Latin neighborhood learning about its history and visit the famous Clarion Alley – a Mural covered street. Our progressive meal in San Francisco’s trendy Mission District concludes with mouthwatering desserts near Dolores Park. Be sure to bring your appetite!

  • 3 hour San Francisco Mission District Food Tour
  • Meet chefs, restaurant owners and industry experts!
  • 5 restaurants, with generous tastings at each
  • Flat route, approximately a mile and a half
  • Begins in front of the Women’s Building (15 minutes from downtown San Francisco)
  • Intimate tour groups limited to 12 people
  • $68 per person 
    (gratuities not included – please consider tipping your guide)
  • Alcohol pairing add on: $16 per person
  • Available Saturdays 11am-2pm and Tuesdays 6pm-9pm
  • Advance tickets are required

TASTINGS*

Artisan American Cheese Flight at a New York Times acclaimed chic cheese cafe

Artisan cured Ham and Oyster at San Francisco’s first ham and oyster bar

Go behind the scenes into a commercial kitchen to eat freshly filled Argentine-style Empanadas featured on 7×7 Magazine’s list of Top 100 Foods to Eat Before You Die. You’ll even have the opportunity to get hands-on and make your own!

Fresh organic fruit tasting at iconic neighborhood artisan grocery

Salted Caramel Ice Cream considered one of the top five desserts in America at the United States’ best loved Creamery. Skip the inevitable line with Avital Tours!

ALCOHOL ADD ON INCLUDES:

Seasonal Scott Beattie-created cocktail featured on 7×7 Magazine’s list of Top 50 cocktails in San Francisco

Unique dark Belgian Style beer paired with cheeses for incredible pairing unlike any other you’ve ever tasted (warning: 9% alcohol)

* All stops and tastings are subject to availability. We are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions with advance notice. Vegetarian option available. This tour is not recommended for vegans or people with gluten allergies.

More info & reservations

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A Taste of Spain: The Ultimate Foodie Tour of Spain

Experience what’s cooking in Spain! Join us for a culinary tour through Madrid, La Rioja, the Basque Country and Catalonia.

  • Savor the great food which Spain is famous for: from Tapas and Paella to Basque Gastronomic Societies and avant-garde cuisine
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant culinary and cultural scene of Madrid, San Sebastian and Barcelona – with accommodation at 4* centrally located hotels
  • Visit the colourful Boqueria food market with our local expert chef, and join him in a hands-on Mediterranean cooking class
  • Enjoy a second – truly unique – cooking class, this time at a famous  members-only Gastronomic Society in San Sebastian
  • Taste and learn about extraordinary Rioja wines and Spanish Olive oils through private visits to traditional producers
  • Discover the fascinating world of Ibérico ham and Sherry wines on a special meal themed around these extraordinary products
  • Experience the diverse cultures, landscapes and foods of Spain by the hand of our local culinary guide

When:

  • September 30th to October 7th, 2012
  • May 12th to May 19th, 2013
  • September 29th to October 6th, 2013

Group size: 10 to 16 persons

What’s included:

  • Expert English-speaking local culinary guides throughout the itinerary
  • Deluxe private bus for all transfers and excursions
  • Domestic airfare Bilbao-Barcelona in Economy class
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in double room, at selected 4* hotels
  • Buffet breakfast daily
  • Welcome drink with tapas
  • 6 lunches as per the itinerary – 2 of them following private cooking classes –  all accompanied with fine Spanish wines
  • 3 dinners as per the itinerary, all accompanied with fine Spanish wines
  • Private culinary/cultural visits and activities as per the itinerary
  • Entry fees as per the itinerary
  • Gourmet Gift
  • All local taxes

Pricing:

  • 2.630 Euros per person
  • Single supplement: 425 Euros
  • International airfare not included

More info and reservations

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