While on vacation in Asheville, North Carolina, my wife and I were introduced to something we’d never experienced: food tours. I’d never even heard of them before this month, but now I’m a fan. Food tours seem to be spreading across the country. Take it from someone who’s experienced them—they’re worth checking out.
What is a Food Tour?
A food tour is a guided tour designed to introduce you to new foods and food culture (according to Food’n Road). They normally take place in the less busy part of the day, so you can get special attention. Typically, guests visit locally owned restaurants. The owner or manager will often come out to speak with the group about their restaurants and dishes.
A word to wise: There’s walking involved, so wear comfortable shoes. Maybe bring an umbrella or poncho, as well. Walking to each restaurant is nice, and the guide will point out interesting things about the buildings and landmarks as you pass.
Of course, the food is wonderful! We enjoyed appetizers at one restaurant, a main dish and side dishes at another, and a dessert or two along along the way. But don’t just take my word for it! Here are ten reasons why I think you’ll also enjoy a food tour.
1. It’s an exciting, new experience.
We Boomers have seen and done a lot in our lives. In fact, there are probably very few things we haven’t tried. So, when a completely new experience like this one comes along, it’s time to seize opportunity by the horns. Plus, it feels like a mini vacation for a fraction of the price.
2. It’s a great way to try new restaurants, especially in a new city.
The older we get, the more set in our ways we become. This mentality sometimes applies to our dining habits. We go for restaurants and dishes we know we like, without even considering trying anything new. However, food tours basically force you out of your culinary comfort zone. And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing!
3. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people.
Food often brings people together. It gives you the opportunity to bond while also having a great time! My wife and I met some people our food tours, and we had a great time trying new food alongside our new friends.
5. You get VIP treatment.
Picture this: Immediate seating. Hot food, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. No more mulling over the menu or trying to decide whether or not you want an appetizer! For all those indecisive and impatient people out there, food tours could be a dream come true!
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5. It’s an easy way to entertain visitors or friends.
Do you have out-of-town guests? Struggling to think of entertainment options? Why not try a food tour? Chances are, it’ll be a new experience for your guests, too! You can bond, make those important memories, and walk away with a full belly and a full heart.
6. It’s a great vacation activity.
I don’t know about you, but by the fourth or fifth day of vacation, my creativity tends to suffer. I run out of ideas on what we should do next. Well, here’s some good news: most bigger cities offer food tours! So, next time you’re in Savannah or Charleston or wherever you decide to visit next, check to see if they offer food tours. It’s the perfect vacation activity.
7. It’s an easy way to sample interesting foods you’ve never tried.
If there’s a food you’ve never tried, now might be your chance! Food tours often feature interesting or unique foods, not your average, run-of-the-mill cuisine. If you’ve ever had a hankering for escargot or lobster rolls, look for a food tour that offers such cuisine! Maybe your life won’t be better for having tried snails, but it’ll certainly be more interesting!
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8. You’ll have a friendly, entertaining guide that’ll accompany you through the city.
So, confession: I have a horrible sense of direction. Thank goodness for smartphones! However, sometimes even with my phone’s built-in GPS, I still struggle to find my destination. Needless to say, I’m not a descendant of Lewis or Clark. However, my lack of an inner compass wasn’t a problem on our food tours! Our guide forged a path through the city and took us from eatery to eatery. It certainly was comforting to be able to follow our own personal sherpa to each destination!
9. The restaurant owner will treat you like a friend.
Restaurant owners love their guests. At least, they certainly loved us when we frequented their business on our food tours! In fact, they made us feel more like family than another patron. Plus, they gave us a detailed background of the restaurant and even insisted we try their specialties. This made the food tour that much more fun.
10. You’ll get to learn historical facts about area.
If you’re a history buff like me, this will be especially appealing. Our guide was versed in all the local history and attractions. As such, they shared random tidbits and historical facts about the area as they herded us to each destination. It was like a history lesson combined with a fun, culinary experience!
Local Food Tours
Thinking of trying out a food tour? Here are a few listings to get you started!
- Asheville Food Tours
- Georgia Food Tours
- Charlotte Food Tours
- Savannah Food Tours
- New Orleans Food Tour
- Seattle Food Tour
Robert FowlerContributing Writer
Robert Fowler is a retired blogger who lives with his wife, Mary Ann at Village at Deaton Creek, a Del Webb Community in North Georgia. Robert was previously the President of Retirement Media Inc. He has visited numerous 55+ Active Adult Communities over the years, sharing his experiences along the way with readers. View more posts