Ever go to an area with a large selection of bakeries, brew pubs, Thai restaurants, or Italian trattorias and are not sure which to choose, wanting to sample them all? Food tours are fun for playing tourist in one’s own town or a new location, and they are great for sampling some fantastic food and getting to know a neighborhood on foot.
The food tour options are growing as are the number of companies offering tours in large cities. There are tours of Italian food places in New York City, patisseries in Paris, gourmet chocolate tastings in major food hubs, and cupcake and dessert explorations in many cities. More than a dozen food tours are available in Los Angeles alone to help food lovers sample the wide array of fun eating options in the area.
This weekend, there was a cupcake tour near the borders of Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that offered great dessert tastings. The tour offered a two-mile walk on a beautiful day and an opportunity to check out some famous food places. The group of tourists included a mix of locals and out-of-towners, but all were eager to sample the goodies.
The fun, two-hour cupcake tour, which was booked through Great Food Tours, offered sampling stops at:
- Georgetown Cupcakes: The original Georgetown Cupcakes was created by sisters Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne, who were featured on DC Cupcakes on TLC and the authors of The Cupcake Diaries and Sweet Celebrations. Their stores are now in five cities and make over 100 flavors, including vegan and seasonal options. The tour participants sampled the Cherry Blossom seasonal cupcakes.
- Tartine O Chocolat: This French bistro and pastry café serves crêpes, sandwiches, la petit dejeuner, other food options and, of course, gourmet pastries. At Tartine, the tour group sampled various flavors of macarons, including lavender, passionfruit, and other unusual options.
- Magnolia Bakery: Founded in 1996, Magnolia is known for its classic American baked goods and vintage bakeshop decor. There are many locations in New York City, which were highly touted by the gang in Sex and the City, besides the locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and six in the Middle East. The NY locations have also been in The Devil Wears Prada and several other shows. The tour group sampled red velvet, caramel, and other types.
- Sweet E’s Bake Shop: This pink palace is run by a former wanna-be actress who found her passion in pastries, cake and cupcake push pops, cupcakes, cookies, including decadent stuffed cookies, several vegan options, candied apples, and more. This celebrity favorite bake shop even makes dog treats called “pupcakes.” The cupcake options here were varied and unique, but great.
- Simplethings: This sandwich and pie shop has two locations in Los Angeles, both of which feature simple foods that combine a variety of tastes and sauces made from scratch. However, the cupcake tour featured their pies, which come in a variety of normal and imaginative flavors. The salted caramel cutie pie, which had rich caramel topped with salted whipped cream, was featured on the tour.
- Joan’s on Third: One disappointment on the tour was that a regular stop, Joan’s on Third, was closed that day. Joan’s on Third is a family owned and operated Gourmet Marketplace, reminiscent of Dean and DeLuca in New York City. Their prepared food selection includes main dishes, roasted seasonal vegetables, healthy soups, and a large selection of salads. Of course, the tour would have stopped in for Joan’s vast dessert selection, which includes numerous cupcake options, as well as bars, cookies, and more.
Great Food Tours, like the cupcake one this weekend, offer fun sampling opportunities and a lot of sugar! It also gives participants the quandary of which places to got back to in the future; they were all so good. So, is the next sampling tour for chocolate or wine?
Opinion by Dyanne Weiss
Personal participation in tour
Great Food Tours