If you’re interested in getting a taste of India, Italy, Switzerland and Morocco all in one day, the Triangle Food Tour just might be the ticket to a gastronomical paradise.
The Triangle Food Tour offers several tours in four cities around the Triangle on designated Saturday afternoons every month. Tours are available in Cary, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham.
A recent tour of Chapel Hill’s downtown restaurants (the Highway 54/Glen Lennox tour is the alternative in Chapel Hill) began at a contemporary Indian eatery with us sampling a tender, Indian-spiced piece of Chicken Korma and a warm piece of nan at The Mint, topped by a glass of wine. The tour group was then whisked away to Sandwhich, a Moroccan-inspired gourmet sandwich shop to try a few of its famous sandwiches including the Outrageous BLT and the Avocado veggie sandwich made fresh with locally-sourced ingredients. Bite-sized sandwiches were washed down with a shot of house-made tomato soup and finished with a delectably moist Valrhona chocolate brownie sure to please the palate of any chocolate lover.
From Chapel Hill, we traversed into Carrboro’s Italian mainstay, Panzanella, and were treated to a plate of crispy calamari dipped into salsa verde and a glass of refreshing vino to cool the warm temps a bit on the sunny, spring afternoon. Our Carrboro visit wasn’t over yet. We delicately slipped into glasshalfull and were warmly greeted by one of the owners and the pastry chef whom gifted each of us with a ramekin of a raspberry creme brulee that may be only sufficiently described as wonderfully sinful. Tapping the spoon to crack the delicate surface of the brulee was akin to feeling the anticipation of discovering edible, liquid gold. Pitstops by our tour guide led us to a dip into the Carrboro Beverage Company and The Chocolate Door, a local chocolatier whereby we sampled a few craft beers and Swiss speciality chocolates. Our final stop landed us at Vimalya’s Curryblossom Cafe to indulge in the taste of its chole (chickpeas). Rush, the husband of the eponymous restaurant owner, regaled us with the heartwarming tale of the how the restaurant location off Franklin Street in the Courtyard originated as part of a community wide effort to take his wife’s food into the public masses to meet its overwhelming demand.
Each food tour lasts a satisfying three hours, long enough to justify the $30 price tag (plus fees). Be prepared to wear some comfortable shoes to walk around in as on our specific tour, we walked from Chapel Hill to Carrboro and back. The tour is guided the entire time and includes nuggets of historical town facts at various points throughout. Once we arrived at each eatery, the tour guide stepped aside and let each chef, owner or waitstaff take over to introduce each food item and to handle questions from the group. Alcohol is included in the price of the tour and as a sound piece of advice, definitely come with an empty stomach because you will be fed enough food to think that you’ve just gone overboard the at the Golden Corral buffet (with much better quality food, of course).
For more information about The Triangle Food Tour, see here. Each tour is generally limited to a group of 10 and tickets generally sell out ahead of time to be sure to reserve a spot early. Restaurants on tours do vary.