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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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Eating Italy Food Tours: Daylight Trastevere Tour – Rome, Italy

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With its narrow cobblestone streets and laneways, Trastevere is the quintessential Roman neighborhood. While by night it is a happening destination for tourists and locals, during the day, Trastevere is like a small village with its timeless and artisan shops serving the same local families for generations.

On this 4-hour guided walking food tour we eat our way through the neighborhood enjoying 10 delicious food tastings. Visit the local, colorful outdoor food market and meet the wonderful families working hard to preserve Roman food traditions. This tour features some unique cultural and historical sites that few tourists get an opportunity to see. Join us for a day like no other.

  • Sample the fresh ingredients at one of Rome’s most historic outdoor food markets
  • Meet the Polica family who have been selling meats and cheeses at Antica Caciara, their famous delicatessen since 1900
  • Find out quickly why Romans love their suppli’ (mouthwatering fried risotto ball)
  • Homemade ravioli and two other daily pasta specials with wine and fresh bread at a local Osteria
  • Meet Signora Vera, the neighborhood resident pastry chef for 40 years, and taste what she created fresh that day
  • Get educated on real-deal gelato at Fatamorgana, the gelateria that introduced Romans to gourmet gelato
  • Enjoy award-winning homemade dessert at Spirito di Vino, the 35th ranked restaurant on TripAdvisor out of over 5000 in Rome.
  • Savor Italy’s famous moscato (dessert wine) in a wine cellar that’s older than the Colosseum

What’s Included

  • The price includes 10 food tastings, and an always entertaining and personable English speaking guide.
  • You’ll also receive our Food Lovers’ Guide to Rome: a printed guide full of insider’s tips about where to eat in the Italian capital, as well as details about each of our tour stops.

What’s Not Included

Transportation to and from the tour is not included, and we are unable to arrange this for you. Detailed information for how to arrive to the meeting point will be provided at time of booking. At the end of the tour, our guides are always more than happy to call a taxi for you or point you in the right direction.

The Schedule

Daily at 10:45am, 11:30am and 12:15pm (except Sundays, Italian national holidays and all of August). The tour takes place in the neighborhood of Trastevere which is well connected by public transport. Exact meeting address and detailed directions are provided with your booking confirmation. The tour ends not too far from the meeting point and we can point you towards public transport or call you a taxi.

More info & reservations

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Turkish Flavours: Urla Cooking Class and Farmer’s Market Visit – Urla, Turkey

We will pick you up from Izmir/Çeşme/Alaçatı or environs and accompany you to the quaint seaside town of Urla where an old fashioned slow and relaxed lifestyle still exists.

Taking a stroll through the town we will stop at a local bakery where everything is still made by hand with the best quality ingredients. Here we will get to know each other while tasting local delicacies such as homemade pastries, cookies and walnut baklava accompanied by Turkish coffee.

With a short and leisurely walking tour through the Arts Street featuring ceramic, mosaic, woodworking and painting studios, we will enjoy the artwork along with 150 year old stone buildings and the narrow streets of central Urla.

We will then arrive at the fruit and vegetable market where all produce is freshly picked in the early morning.

Here we will choose our seasonal produce and fresh cheeses and arrive at the cooking workshop. We will learn how to prepare Aegean style foods featuring the strong influence of the regional culinary heritage using the freshest ingredients and dishes cooked in local extra virgin olive oil.

After cooking a delicious meal together, we will sit down and enjoy a family style late lunch with the food we prepared, accompanied by a selection of award winning local wines while enjoying the wonderful views of the region.

Sample seasonal menu: Aegean style wild green and fresh cheese appetizers, lamb slow cooked with herbs and lemon peel, handmade savory pastry, rice with pine nuts and currants, slow cooked artichokes in olive oil, semolina cake with lavender ice cream, Turkish coffee and chocolates.

We will drive you back After the Urla culinary experience.

Urla is 35 km from İzmir in the Aegean Coast near Ephesus.

A farmers market tour and Aegean Turkish cooking class -6,5 hours

On Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays

More info and reservatinos

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Turkish Flavours: Spice Bazaar & Kadikoy Market Tour with Regional Anatolian Lunch – Istanbul, Turkey

A culinary walk on two continents -Europe & Asia!

Depart for a visit to the Spice Bazaar and nearby attractions. This extensive market was built in the 17th century to finance the upkeep of the nearby mosque, Yeni Cami. The bazaar is often referred to as the “Egyptian Market” due to the fact that spices used to come to the market from India and Southeast Asia via Egypt. There is plenty to discover for the “foodie.”

Then we will take a ferry to Kadıköy on the Asian side of Istanbul from Eminönü and walk through the historical Kadıköy market where there is plenty to discover for the “foodie.” This market is one of İstanbul’s most colorful, vibrant and accessible shopping spots. Many traders have been in business since the early to mid 1900s and the more famous ones really need no introduction.

We will wander to probably Kadıköy’s, if not İstanbul’s best-known restaurant amongst gourmets to Çiya restaurant that specializes in food from the Southeastern region of Turkey, as well as a wider selection of Mediterranian food. Çiya creates its menu from the kitchen memories of forgotten dishes, lost tastes and wiped -off-cultures which have been carried from hand to hand and from taste to taste.

The ingredients used in the dishes travel from the cities of Hatay and Gaziantep to arrive at your plate in Istanbul: aromatic red pepper, pistachios, chickpeas, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. Here we will enjoy a sumptuous meal of 20-25 dishes by the reknown chef Musa and eventually hear the stories of his signature dishes: Zahter salad, kebab with pistachios, stuffed eggplant, babahannus, and many more.

After lunch we will take the ferry back to the European side. A delicious walking tour in Istanbul! Please do not have a big breakfast if you arecoming on this tour. Please do not have a big breakfast on the day of your tour and make no dinner reservations.

Tour from 9:30 am to 14:30 pm, ferry fares , tastings , a multi course lunch (20 + dishes) with a tasting menu offering small portions of many dishes in the restaurant.

Cost : USD 145.- per person

Vegetarian diets are not challenging options for us – it’s easy being green and tasting exciting Turkish vegetarian delicacies.

Our market tour is amongst Lonely Planet’s Top Ten walking tours for Globetrotting foodies.

The “Young Adventuress” joined our tour! Click to read more.

Suggested reading The Memory Kitchen

More info and reservations

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Gourmet Walks: Gourmet Napa Walking Tour – Napa, CA

Tour Facts

  • 3-hour walking tour of downtown Napa
  • By Private Reservation only December- February
  • Fridays and Sundays at 11 am March through November
  • Flat route, 1 mile long, with time to sit
  • 7 stops with tastings at each (enough food for lunch!)
  • Tour limited to 12 people, advance tickets required
  • Begins at Oxbow Market, ends in town
  • $70 (+ $1 ticket fee) per person

tour description

There is more to Napa than just wine tasting! Welcome to the FIRST culinary walking tour in Wine Country, for those who know that California cuisine is just as sought after as its wine. This tour will delight your taste buds as you explore revitalized downtown Napa with fellow foodies. We’ll share the fascinating history of this beautiful riverfront town, one where celebrity chefs intermingle with organic farmers and boutique winemakers.

We’ll begin at the new Oxbow Market, where a seasonal bounty of California specialty foods and produce awaits you. Your tour will cross the Napa River and visit 19th century historic buildings that weathered Prohibition to showcase the latest trends in California food and wine. You’ll leave the tour with a carefully curated list of Wine Country restaurant recommendations and recipes for your next meal.

NOTE: Customers must be over 21 and bring valid id to participate in wine tastings. Alcohol-free private tours available for groups of 8 or more.

Tasting Menu

  • A sublime, seasonal selection of the best California artisan cheeses
  • Breakfast tacos from an innovative and sustainable tacqueria
  • Artisan salumi from the “first couple of charcuterie” and organic bread
  • Sought after tastes from a historic multi-winery downtown tasting room
  • Award-winning California extra-virgin olive oil
  • Local microbrew tasting and sustainable seafood on the Napa riverfront
  • Wine infused chocolates, brittle and ice cream from local brother/sister chocolatiers

Tastings subject to change without notice. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

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Gourmet Walks: Hayes Valley – San Francisco, CA

Tour Facts

  • 3 hour walking tour of San Francisco’s Hayes Valley
  • Fridays and Sundays at 2:30pm, Thursdays at 11am in summer
  • Flat route, less than a mile, with time to sit
  • 8 stops, with tastings at each (enough food for lunch!)
  • Tour limited to 12 people, advance tickets required
  • Begins at Patricia’s Green, ends at Octavia and Fell (10 minutes or less from downtown SF)
  • $70 (+ $1 ticket fee) per person

tour description

Hungry for an off-the-beaten path San Francisco gourmet food experience? Join us as we explore one of the city’s trendy and exciting new neighborhoods, Hayes Valley. We will share what’s hot in the San Francisco food scene as we visit specialty shops and restaurants that are proud of their commitment to the very best local and sustainable ingredients. As you compare gourmet cheeses, participate in a tea tasting and indulge your sweet tooth, you’ll gain an appreciation for a distinct neighborhood that most tourists never see.

We’ll stroll past elegant Victorians, food trucks, street art and an urban farm as you learn about the history of Hayes Valley. You’ll taste and chat with other food-loving guests, and leave the tour with a host of restaurant recommendations for your next trip to Hayes Valley.

NOTE: Customers must be over 21 and bring valid id for the Sunday tour only.

tastings

  • California cheeses and sourdough bread in a serene garden setting
  • 5 Spice Chicken Vietnamese sandwiches
  • Assorted Mediterranean “mezze” and fresh baked pita bread
  • Parisian macarons, dubbed by food writers as “the next cupcake”
  • Artisanal salumi and bread from the “first couple of charcuterie”
  • Gourmet olive oils and vinegars from a store dedicated to the flavors and culture of Spain
  • Ice cream made before your eyes by liquid nitrogen
  • Gourmet beverage: Chinese tea tasting (midweek) and local craft beer (Sundays)

We will also visit the first dedicated sake boutique in America (no tasting here), with over 220 beautiful Japanese sakes in stock.

Tastings subject to change without notice. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

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Access Trips: Wine Country Culinary Tour – Sonoma, California

Join us on a culinary journey to Sonoma, in the heart of California’s Wine Country, with handcrafted wines and delectable meals sourced from small local farms. Nestled in a lush valley with trellised vineyards climbing the surrounding hills, and bound by a central plaza and a historic Spanish mission, Sonoma is arguably one of the most beautiful towns in California.

Step far off the tourist path for an intimate cooking and wine adventure with Sonoma’s finest local chefs and vintners, as you learn to cook with locally-sourced seasonal ingredients. Our Sonoma culinary tour includes cooking classes taught by expert chefs, dinners at the best restaurants in town, wine tasting at one of the oldest family wineries in California, and a hike with spectacular views of the valley. During your free time you’ll relax at Sonoma’s premier boutique inn and spa.

Thanks to an abundance of organic and fresh local produce, our chefs are able create scrumptious menus that change seasonally to reflect the best of what Sonoma has to offer. On our Sonoma culinary tour you’ll learn how to create delicious meals that showcase the best of California cuisine. Our chefs will not only show you how to prepare a meal that compliments the season, but will also give you tips on how to get creative with the recipe at home. Once the cooking classes are over, we’ll all sit down and enjoy the fruits of our labor, along with a delicious glass of local wine.

DAY 1: Arrive & Relax
Pick up from Bay Area airport and transfer to our luxurious hotel & spa in downtown Sonoma. Dinner at Harvest Moon Café.

DAY 2: Tour Sonoma & Taste Its Delicacies
Morning walking tour of historic Sonoma. Afternoon wine tour and cheese tastings. Stay at luxurious hotel & spa.

DAY 3: Cooking Class & Hike
Morning cooking class and lunch. Afternoon hike followed by a visit to the local Farmer’s Market in season. Stay at luxurious hotel & spa.

DAY4: Cooking Class & Farm Tour
Late morning cooking class and tour of organic gardens, olive groves, and vineyards. Afternoon hike and chocolate tasting. Farewell dinner. Stay at luxurious hotel & spa.

DAY 5: Departure
After breakfast transfer to airport for flight home.

Dates: April-October

Prices: From $2590

Skill level: Beg – Int

More info and registration

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A Taste of Spain: Cooking Classes

Enjoy our private hands-on cooking classes in English, specially designed and programmed, just for you and your friends, according to your preferences. Some of our half-day cooking classes include a guided visit to a local food market for seasonal products, and all of them will pamper you with the undivided attention of our expert cooking teachers. No hurries, feel free to ask questions and chat; you mark the pace in a wonderful, laidback atmosphere.

Prepare a complete menu based on traditional, avant garde or vegan Spanish dishes, and when your work is done, sit down to a full lunch, accompanied by selected Spanish wines…

Check out our selection of private cooking classes all over Spain:

More info and 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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Delicious Israel: Regional Area Culinary Safari

Delicious Israel offers foodies and culture-seekers a unique and adventurous way to vacation and connect with Israel – through their passion. Our culinary and boutique specialty tours are limited to small groups so that together we can veer off the beaten path to eat, explore, learn and experience the authentic “insider” scene of Israeli lifestyle, history and culture.

Sample itinerary, Carmel area:

Just an hour away from Tel Aviv, the Carmel region combines a multi-cultural environment (Jewish, Arab and Druze populations co-existing) with a rich land ripe for producing high-quality foods.

We will visit a variety of local producers including:

  • Visit to goat farm, meeting with the owner, and tastings of homemade goat cheeses
  • Wine tasting with the winemaker or owner at a boutique winery
  • Learning and tasting at a spice shop that grows the herbs/spices locally – the “Toys-R-Us for foodies”
  • Druze hospitality in the home of a Druze woman that cooks incredible local ethnic foods from recipes passed down through the generations
  • Optional visits to: ancient olive oil press (organic olives and café), homemade jam producer, boutique organic beer brewery and/or organic wine makers, artisanal chocolate maker.

Time: 7-8 hours

Similar safaris can be arranged in the Jerusalem Hills, Galil, Golan Heights

More info & reservations

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