Come Hungry, Leave Hearty: 5 Reasons Why You Should Take a Food Tour
Traveling someplace new? Or, looking for something fun to do with friends, colleagues, or visiting family in your own city? You’re probably already planning where to go, what to do — and, of course, what to eat.
Why not take a food tour?
OK, so you could get tourist recommendations on TripAdvisor or Yelp for free. But taking a food tour is not just about eating — although the food is obviously the highlight!
When you take a food tour, you’ll also get to hear the stories behind the food establishment, the chef, the building, even the neighborhood… all of which will connect you more deeply to the place, the people, and the culture.
Here’s how a food tour will help add unique flavors to your next culinary adventure.
1. Get inspired… beyond the tourist’s guidebook
It’s become easier than ever to discover the latest food trends thanks to the internet: You can simply follow in the footsteps of foodies that came before you.
But sometimes, even the best research efforts will result in a mediocre experience. And, let’s face it, we all know that the research itself can be significantly time-consuming.
No matter how comprehensive an online review might be, nothing beats getting the inside scoop from local folks who’d know best, and whose passion will create a memorable experience.
Spend less time browsing, and let a food tour guide bring a personal perspective that only a seasoned local could offer — and chances are, they’ll be looped in to the latest food-related highlights way before any online outlet even catches wind of it.
One of the best parts? You get to sample delicious tastings from multiple food establishments over a short amount of time, which may make you feel like a ‘local expert’ yourself !
2. Relax and find your bearings
There’s nothing like a food tour to help you orient yourself in an unfamiliar landscape, and increase your comfort exploring a new place. Or, if you’re already in your hometown, you may be surprised what is revealed that deepens your connection and expands your awareness of ‘home.’
Not only will you get to see the tourist hotspots and local favourites, but you’ll also travel off the beaten path to check out hidden gems tucked away in more obscure corners of the neighborhood, or experience the ‘behind the scenes’ in a local restaurant. You’ll see places that you’d never have thought to go to otherwise.
It’s a great way to see a comprehensive cross-section of the place — and, if you’re staying for a few days more, you can use those geographic (+ foodie) insights to plan the rest of your visit!
3. Taste the local history and culture
Food tours aren’t simply a mishmash of a place’s most popular eateries. The destinations are often chosen through hours of research and careful curation, because the entire experience is meant to offer you a holistic understanding of a place and its culture.
To that end, food tour guides are chosen not only for their gastronomic expertise, but also for their cultural knowhow. They’ll help put what you’re seeing and eating in context — weaving historical tidbits and personal anecdotes together into a greater story about the local community.
4. Develop a personal connection with the local community
Throughout history, human connections have been built through storytelling, and food tours are no exception. Intriguing tales will come from your local guide + local vendors you’ll meet along the way. Plus, local chefs, servers, and fellow diners can all bring diverse perspectives to the table, so be sure to come with a hungry tummy and an open mind!
Besides, adding this personal touch can help make your experience more memorable. Instead of passively experiencing your destination, you’re actively engaging with the local community — allowing you to contribute to, and connect with, something bigger than yourself.
5. Walking makes you healthier and happier!
The conversation about how much time we spend sitting instead of upright is ramping up in the health community. On a food tour, you won’t be sitting long – you’ll be doing a good amount of walking between places to go from one delicious meal to the next, with short breaks to sit, sip and savour.
There are many takes on the virtues of walking.
For one, walking outdoors is a deeply sensory experience: You’ll connect with the place’s unique sights, sounds, and smells – unleashing your sense of wonder.
For another, all that walking is a great way to get your exercise needs met — which always helps to craft a guilt-free culinary adventure!
Walking provides heaps of benefits, with increasing research to prove it. Importantly, life slows down, and that’s a good thing. Interestingly, walking side by side with a friend or co-worker has been proven to help build better relationships. And, isn’t life, and travelling (at least in part) – about strengthening relationships, our well-being, and overall happiness?
Richard Louv once wrote, “Sustainable happiness is found… in our relationship with place.’
Remember: Adventure doesn’t have to involve planes, cars and passports. “The benefits of a journey are always available simply by walking.” – Arianna Huffington.
Coming to Northwestern Ontario? Explore Thunder Bay neighborhoods through a food tour!
If you’re planning to visit Tbay anytime soon or are already here), we’d love to celebrate the local food, stories + places with you!! We offer walking food tours in the neighborhoods and outdoor adventures in nearby natural areas — book one now!
No immediate plans to come to Ontario just yet? You can still keep an eye out for our best seasonal promotions and events by following us on Facebook.
Photo: Epica Pictures
Huffington, Arianna. (2013). Hemingway, Thoreau, Jefferson and the Virtues of a Good Long Walk, in Huffpost, found here.
Klinkenberg, Kenvin. (2014). Why I Walk: Taking a Step in the Right Direction. New Society Publishers.
Louv, Richard. (2012) The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age. Algonquin Books.