Story and photos by Jennifer Schlueter
…is a food tour.
For those of you, who don’t know what a food tour is: Food tours combine deliciousness with historical information and are available around the globe in most major cities. A guide shows you great places to eat and lets you taste small portions at every spot. Drinks are also included, and sometimes a bit of alcohol too. Most of us will be full by the end of a tour. Depending on the location, companies may offer tours with different types of cuisines and/or through various neighborhoods.
London has not quite been known for being a mecca for foodies and British food has had quite a bad rep. Foodwise, I honestly didn’t look forward much to my trip to the U.K.’s capital based on these rumors; however, this quickly changed as I got the chance to work with three different food tour companies.
While all gave me several foodgasms and were entertaining, I have to give a special shoutout to London Food Lovers because of my guide Sarah. Born and raised in the U.S., but based in Europe for more than a decade, this polyglot, sommelier and food expert showed us the very best London’s Soho district has to offer in international food. She also educated us about the true inventors of Nutella – the Italians. If you think you can’t live without Nutella, you will never go back to it after trying the chocolate-hazelnut or chocolate-coffee spread the Italians have created. They’re so much more intense in flavor – to die for!
On this day, we combined London Food Lovers Soho’s International Food Tours A and B, ate at 7 places, tried wine at an eighth while learning about London’s and especially Soho’s history. Sarah and her business partner carefully selected only family owned restaurants which take absolute pride in their food, prepare it themselves, and use only the best ingredients.
The photos won’t give you the foodgasms I had, but I hope they’ll make your mouth water at least:
What you get to eat on this tour (note: on this day, we combined Soho International A and B): chocolate, temakis, pancakes, eclairs, ravioli, tacos, dim sum.
Eating Europe offers tours through London’s East End and also one through Soho – at twilight – which I attended. Like London Food Lovers, our Eating Europe guide Ashley also took us to La Bodega Negra. The other restaurants were different, as was some of the history that was told. I guess since it was a twilight tour, we got to know a few more raunchy details, which was entertaining. The chocolate dessert at the last place was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. It even pops in your mouth.
What you get to eat on this tour: meat pie, jamon, cheese, tapas, tacos, chocolate.
Secret Food Tours give you a taste of Indian in London’s East End and Traditional British Food around the London Bridge. I attended the latter tour, which took us around the area between London and Tower Bridge and Borough Market – a must-visit for every food lover, not only because it just celebrated its 1000th birthday in 2014. An absolute highlight here were the fish and chips from fish!kitchen because the fish was freshly caught on the day before, which you can definitely taste.
What you get to eat on this tour: cheese, fish & chips, pork dishes, apples, Britain’s most famous donut, pudding.
These things are good to know before going on a food tour:
- Inform yourself about the tours and their guides on Tripadvisor or Google. If you’re a passionate foodie like me, choose a guide who loves food as much as you and who’s a food tour guide for a living. While actors who are doing tours as a side job can be entertaining, foodie guides are obviously the better choice if you care about the food and its facts.
- Pick according to your taste. All the tours I’ve mentioned feature tours with various cuisines and try their best to cater to any food allergies, vegetarians, and even vegans, or other preferences.
- Food tours can definitely be a kid-friendly activity, depending on how easily bored your kids get because a tour may last 3-4 hours.
- Plan in 3-4 hours for a tour and put on comfortable walking shoes.
A big thanks to Eating Europe, London Food Lovers, and Secret London Food Tours for supporting me on my visit to London. As always, all opinions are my own.