Savor Our City Culinary Tours began offering our first tours on May 3, 2014 in Delray Beach, FL. Since then, we have run a series of tours in other South Florida cities such as Palm Beach Gardens, Wilton Manors and Boca Raton. Our tours have always been open to the public as well as to private groups. We entered into an agreement this past year to create brand new food tours up in New England for several major cruise lines sailing into Boston, Portland & Bar Harbor this Fall. I am proud to say that these tours have been created and are starting this month. At this time, the only way you can take any of these tours is if you happen to be sailing on one of those ships calling into those ports OR you book a private group tour through us. (Think: corporate team building, client appreciation, birthday parties)
Here is a sample of what you would experience on our Boston Markets & Cultural Walking Tour:
This 3-hour historical guided walking food tour will take guests through the famed Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, a historic meeting place and market lined with cobblestone streets packed with ethnic foods, unique gifts and street performers, just to name a few of the elements that make this marketplace located near the waterfront so unique. It was here in 1764 that the colonists protested the Sugar Act, which led to the “no taxation without representation” doctrine. George Washington toasted America’s first birthday here, and so many impassioned orators have followed that Faneuil Hall is nicknamed “The Cradle of Liberty.”
Following your visit to Quincy Market & Faneuil Hall, you will walk to nearby Boston Public Market, another indoor haven for foodies that opened its doors in the summer of 2015. The market houses 39 year-round vendor stalls which must sell food and other products that are produced or originate in New England, specializing in items sourced from local farms and fishermen. Your guide will share historical facts, interesting anecdotes, and some local insider’s tips as you sample dishes and delicacies that reflect the area. Some of the iconic New England delicacies sampled along the way include an award-winning clam chowder, lobster roll, cheese, chocolate, nuts, honey, fresh fruit vinegars, wine, mead (honey wine, the oldest alcoholic drink known to man). Then, it’s on to the Parker House, your final stop and birthplace of the city’s iconic Boston Cream Pie, which you will have the opportunity to sample.
This tour is currently available for private tours only. If you would like to inquire about booking a private tour for your group of 10+ people, please contact us at info@SavorOurCity.com or (954) 410-3177.
In planning my 5-day road trip through New England, I looked to Airbnb to see if I might find suitable accommodations in each of the cities I would be visiting. I had never used Airbnb before and thought this would be a great way to meet some local folks and save some money. Although each of my Airbnb hosts opted to provide me a room “on the house” in exchange for a mention in my blog, the costs were considerably less than a hotel room in each of the cities I was visiting.
I stumbled upon this listing in Somerville which read “The Best Boston Experience”. I liked the fact that it was located in Somerville since I had planned to visit the Taza Chocolate Factory located in Somerville while I was there. But what really caught my eye was that the hosts appeared to be real foodies and had a lovely open kitchen that just beckoned people to gather and share a wonderful meal and conversation in. I contacted Peter, the host, to request a reservation for my first night in Boston. Peter was extremely accommodating and also took it upon himself to make a dinner reservation for me at his favorite restaurant in the North End. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by Peter’s wife, Christy who insisted on taking my bags from my Mini Clubman up the front stoop and then straight up a flight of stairs that brought us to the main level of this beautiful tri-level home. My room was on this floor, as was the guest bath, sitting area and kitchen. Peter and Christy lived on the two floors up above.
Shortly after getting settled into my room, I announced to my hosts that I had to head into Boston to meet with my vendors in preparation for our walk through the next morning with my tour guides and our VIP client. Peter graciously offered to drop me into town and meet up with me afterward at L’Osteria, the restaurant in the North End where he had arranged for me dine.
The moment we walked into L’Osteria, I felt like I was one of their regulars,- as if I had been coming there for years. Peter, who grew up in the North End, was a regular and had arranged for Patty (who he has known for 30 years) to take care of us that evening and so as soon as we stepped inside the intimate/cozy restaurant, I was greeted by Patty with a big hello, a hug and welcomed by name. Talk about making a great first impression!
I followed Peter’s lead and allowed him to order for us. We enjoyed a lovely carafe of table wine along with some house specialties which included a chicken parmigiana and sausage and meatballs, aka to the locals as “d’s & b’s”.
My first day and night in Boston couldn’t have gone better. I truly appreciated all those that made this trip possible. If you are planning a trip to the Boston area, I highly recommend you stay with Peter & Christy at their beautiful Airbnb for The Best Boston Experience!
As many of you know, I just got back from a 5-day road trip in New England where I traveled from Boston to Bar Harbor, stopping in Portland and other charming little towns along the way. I will provide a detailed description of my adventures in each, but first up is my visit to the Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville (just outside of Boston).
I didn’t know what to expect as I pulled up in my Mini Clubman (courtesy of Mini of Peabody) at the front entrance of the Taza Chocolate Factory. Images of Willy Wonka ran rampant in my mind. I was meeting with Amanda Mallen, Retail Manager for Taza Chocolate and the person who I had been conversing with via phone and emails for the past several months in preparation for our upcoming culinary tours taking place inside the Boston Public Market where Taza has an outlet shop. It was so nice to finally meet Amanda in person. Our tour began in the lobby/retail area where Amanda began to take me through the Bean to Bar process with several visuals. I learned about the flavor development of the cacao beans and how it is a one week process to ferment the beans and another week to dry on the farms in which they acquire their beans before being shipped to Taza’s factory in Somerville. Currently, Taza is receiving their beans from farms located in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Belize & Bolivia.
Taza Chocolate company was founded in 2005 & their very first chocolate bar was sold on Valentine’s Day 2007. Amanda shared with me that the first beans were actually brought over to the factory in a station wagon from the airport; fast forward 10 years later, they are now being delivered via ship containers!
The beans are roasted at 230 degrees (farenheit) for about an hour-hour & a half which starts to loosen the shell. One batch of chocolate will yield 800 – 1300 lbs, depends on how dark the chocolate is. The next process after roasting is winnowing – that’s when they break the shells off and smash them down, to create the final product – cocoa nibs. The shells that remain after the winnowing process are then packed up and distributed to various organizations such as tea blenders and also used in local community gardens – to be used as organic fertilizer, the soil loves it, I am told.
Stone mills from Mexico are used to grind the nibs. These stones are hand carved & have unique patterns on them depending on what the product they are being used for. Another common use of these ancient stones is for milling corn into flour for the making of tortillas. “Chocolate liquor” is the result of the finely ground nibs that have passed through the stone mills. The chocolate liquor is then pumped into the chocolate plumbing where they will then add sugar and the quantity depends on how dark the chocolate will be. The finished chocolate is popped out & packaged. Check out this video to see the bean to bar process for yourself.
They are open: Monday- Friday 11am – 6pm & Saturday – Sunday 10am – 6pm.
Take a tour and learn how they make stone ground, organic chocolate and sample the results! Tours are available 7 days a week (although the factory is not in production on Saturdays & Sundays).
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Taza Chocolate is one of the tasting stops on our new “Boston Markets & Cultural Tour” currently available to private groups of 10 – 14 guests. If you are interested in booking a private tour for your company or group of friends, contact us for a quote at info@SavorOurCity.com or (954) 410-3177.
Some of you who are following me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram know that I have just returned from a trip to Boston; an exploratory trip, that is. I went there to accomplish two things: 1. Get to know Boston, a city that we will soon be operating a series of private group culinary tours and then 2. To share my wonderful FoodFinds with you.
My trip began with a great deal flying Spirit Air thanks to a friend of mine who works for the line who was able to extend a friends/family rate to me. I am thankful that the stand-by status paid off as I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t since I had my hotel room booked and meetings & interviews and even a food tour lined up. But thankfully, it was seamless. So I arrived at Boston Logan Airport and exited through the bag claim area and proceeded outside to the center area marked ‘Shared Van Service’. I was staying at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, thanks to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau who helped to make the connection. The hotel did not have a pick up service at the airport, so after reviewing my options of getting from the airport to the hotel (I was only staying in town a couple nights and everything I needed to do was close enough to walk or Uber, so I did not rent a car), I opted to reserve a seat on Go Boston, a shuttle I ended up sharing with just one other gal. When I got to the hotel, I realized I didn’t have any singles on me. When the driver said he didn’t have any change, I asked him to wait for a moment so I could run in and get some. Little did I know that we arrived in the back entrance and after running inside what might have been about 3o feet, I frantically turned my head to the left and to the right and assessed there was no lobby or front desk in sight. Before I had a moment to despair though, I ran into three knights in dapper business suits (Tony, Jonathan & Rob were their names; turns out they were 3 top Execs of the Hotel, lucky me). They asked me what seemed to be the problem and I explained and without an ounce of hesitation, two of them were reaching in their pockets to offer me the tip money. Of course I was super appreciative of these gentlemen being there to not only help out by fronting me the money to tip my driver and watching my bags which I just dropped at their feet, but when I asked the gentleman who laid the money out how I could find him again to repay him, he absolutely refused. Nice, right?!? I really appreciated the gesture and hospitality, which didn’t end there. I made my way to the front desk to check in, and as I was waiting for my room assignment, Rob, one of my new friends (who turned out to be the Hotel Manager), suddenly appeared at the desk and made a point to ensure I was given a nice room, which I had.
Off the Common Restaurant in the main lobby. Guests can keep their phones, iPads and laptops charged with several convenient charging stations tastefully placed down the center of the dining room and throughout the hotel.
Pictured above: Fritz the Bartender
The plan was for me to contact Vanessa, Boston Park Plaza’s Marketing Manager upon my arrival to have her give me a tour of the hotel. Vanessa and I had been corresponding closely prior to my arrival and I already felt like I was meeting a new friend. While I was waiting for Vanessa to take me on my tour, I had a seat at the bar and started chatting with Fritz the bartender. Fritz has been working at the Park Plaza Hotel for 17 years, ever since he was in college. I think that says a lot about the hotel, which incidentally just celebrated its 89th birthday. They must be treating their guests (and employees) right!
We began our tour of the hotel at the library. It was a nice cozy library with plenty of good light for reading. One cool feature they have thought to add here is a “call pod”, a call for service button available from 5pm – midnight, where guests can have food and/or beverages delivered right to them from the comfort of their chair. How convenient is that?!
Pictured above: The Cozy Corner
This gorgeous ballroom is 13,000 square feet and can hold up to 2,200 guests. There are several other options available for various other meeting spaces as well.
Pictured above: The David Barton gym, an ultra sheek, ultra modern 19k sq ft space found one level below the lobby. Here one can get a great work out in the gym, take one of their group classes and even spin. The gym is open to the public and memberships are also available.
Pictured below: My bedroom on the 15th Floor. Nicely appointed with mini fridge, flat screen tv, sitting area, King bed (with the most dreamy pillows I can remember laying my head on in a very long time) and (not pictured: bathroom). The dual head shower was a nice touch as was the hand soaps. The brand they use is Pure and I loved the fragrance of lemongrass.
Pictured below: A special surprise was awaiting me when I returned to my room later that evening. The chocolate ganache cake was to-die-for!
They have a great breakfast buffet at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Here’s a little sample of what I got.
After completing my wonderful tour with Vanessa, I headed out to explore this unique city. Check back soon for Boston – The Park May Be Common, But The City’s Unique! (Part 2) where I cover my walk from the Boston Park Plaza Hotel to the North End via Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, my food tour and other fabulous food finds..