Recently, a couple of gals (Italian sisters actually) started up a Walking Food Tour in Old Towne. The tours take place every Saturday and Sunday from 11-2 and they began back in October. I finally had the opportunity to take the tour myself with my husband and foodie parents in tow. I have to admit, that while I was not skeptical, I was curious about the '3 hour' portion of this program, which I felt was going to be 'feeling' like 3 hours. However, I can tell you right off the bat that those 3 hours fly by.
So, here's the layout of the tour. You start with a group of 15 (max) that meets at the Wells Fargo Starbucks, appropriate starting point I think. The guides, Renee and Deanna, give a little history about the building and then take you off on the tour (oh, and you do get a Starbucks tasting, we had Peppermint Mocha). Our group was then led off to PJs Abbey, first stop. On the way, Renee and Deanna talk about movies that were filmed in Old Towne and it's actually quite fun hearing about a few historical tidbits. Once we hit the Abbey, there was a table set up for us in the bar and out comes the tasting. The presentation at PJ's was the best on the tour! We got to sample three items from their menu and all were delicious. In addition, we got to hear about the history of the Abbey and the unique art on the walls, all done by owner Gary Mead.
After this great start, we head back in to towne and proceed to taste aged balsamic and flavored grapeseed oils at Affaire de Coeur, a homemade blend of tea and wonderful potato cheese soup at Paris in a Cup, classic Cuban pork with beans and rice at Felix (who also brought us a bite of their Tres Leches cake). The tour then led us through the Plaza Park where we got some very fun historical tidbits about the fountain and the founding of the Plaza.
Then we were off to Orange Candy Company, Citrus City Grille (a good spot to order yourself a glass of wine on this tour) and Zito's. I must say the Margherita Pizza from Zito's might be my new favorite, simply delicious! Finally, we stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for a bite of fudge and ended at Cafe Lucca for Gelato. In short, we were stuffed and happy.
The tour itself is $49 and I will tell you that it's completely worth it. It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Old Towne Orange. The businesses we stopped by were all very welcoming, we met several of the owners, we got a lot of discounts and coupons along the way and we learned a lot of history (much of which I didn't already know). This is a great tour whether you live in Old Towne or are just visiting and it will for certain give you a few new spots to come back to 'in towne.'
My final words on the tour are to PACE YOURSELF. There is a lot of food and it's fun to try it all, but you want to make it all the way to the Gelato, because it's the best ever! This tour would make a great date, a fun afternoon with friends or I think even a good gift. It's very experiential, the whole 'walking' part of it is fun and casual and the tour goes slow, I didn't feel rushed at any point and I also didn't feel like we lingered anywhere. Be sure to bring your cash or credit cards in case you want to buy something in the stores you stop at, it's very tempting. I myself couldn't resist the Christmas Cookie tea from Paris in a Cup, it was delicious!
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