Food tours have long been a staple of tourism in cities like New York and Philadelphia, but now you can find several tasty tours in the Baltimore/Washington area that offer more than just a bite to eat.
“Food tours have only been around for about twenty years, but there’s a lot of people in the world that love food and love to eat,” says David Saxe, Chief Eating Officer and founder of Mangia DC food tours. “Once people experience a food tour, they realize what a fun way it can be to explore a city,” Saxe says.
On a food tour, one may visit several different restaurants or food merchants, try local specialties, and learn about the history of a particular neighborhood. The tastings are usually enough to make up an entire meal, all ages can participate, and it’s a unique way to experience your city or hometown.
In Frederick, people are discovering the city’s rich history and vibrant culinary scene through Taste Frederick’s popular three-hour tours. “In the past twenty years, Frederick’s culinary scene has exploded,” says Taste Frederick founder, Sarah Kurtanich.
“Our distillery and craft brewing scene is growing, there are so many different food options, and best of all—it’s all within walking distance.”
Food tours are not just for tourists either. “You don’t have to be a foodie or even a tourist to take a food tour. All you need is a sense of adventure and a love of food,” Kurtanich says.
Hungry for more? Read on for four tasty tours that promise great food, interesting history and a fun afternoon.
Mangia DC Food Tours
Tickets: Adults: $68, Children: $49
Wednesday through Sunday
Voted one of the 15 Best D.C. tours by U.S. News and World Report in 2019, Mangia Food Tours consistently delivers top-notch food tours to hungry tourists and locals alike. The group’s original Mangia Italian food tour explores Dupont Circle’s Italian roots, when the neighborhood was home to the city’s Italian immigrant population. You’ll visit four different local Italian eateries, tasting treats like homemade pasta and cannoli.
Mangia’s very popular Georgetown Foodie Tour explores Georgetown’s 1800’s history, highlighting when the neighborhood served as the city’s food commerce district, importing and exporting food via the C&O Canal. The tour goes off the beaten path of busy M street to sample food at more than five local eateries and hidden gems in the neighborhood. Taste local specialties like an award-winning half smoke or visit a bakery making scratch made treats that benefit our country’s military vets. The tour also stops in front of the former homes of John and Jackie Kennedy and Julia Child.
Mangia DC Food Tours offers culinary events and experiences throughout the year, like wine and yoga evenings, and can coordinate private food tours for small groups. Founder David Saxe promises that the tours will satisfy even the hungriest traveler or local, “Mangia in Italian means ‘to eat’, and what better way to experience the flavor of a city than by doing just that?”
Annapolis Food Tours
Tickets: Ages 7 and up: $60
Saturdays and Sundays
Thought you knew everything about Annapolis? Think again as you explore Annapolis’ culinary history and sample some of the city’s best seafood. Award-winning crab soup, artisanal flatbreads and oyster shooters are just some of the specialties on this tasty tour. Historians and foodies will love the Historic Annapolis food tour, a multi-course progressive meal that visits landmarks like the Maryland State House and a tavern frequented by George Washington. The Annapolis food tours weave the city’s storied colonial American history into every bite, with stops at the kitchen of the historic Hammond Harwood House, the 200-year-old Maryland Inn and the Sands House, a privately owned historic home in the heart of the city. Tickets include entry to all historic sites and enough food to equal to a full lunch.
Charm City Food Tours
Tickets: From $65
Thursday through Sunday
Charm City Food Tours has so many food tours it may be hard to decide which one to take. Four different neighborhood tours explore Baltimore’s Federal Hill, Mt. Vernon, Fells Point and Little Italy. Charm City Food Tours also conducts market tours of Lexington and Cross Street Markets. Expert food guides lead participants on a walking tour that visits several different restaurants and food vendors, while discussing the architecture, history, culture and entertainment that each Baltimore neighborhood has to offer. You can taste authentic Polish and Eastern European dishes on the Fells Point tour or tiramisu from the family that claims to have invented the dessert on the Little Italy tour. The Mt. Vernon tour offers an eclectic sampling of cultural dishes like Bahn Mi, Korean inspired dishes, French desserts and Chesapeake Bay specialties, while stopping at Walters Art Gallery and Peabody Conservatory. The Lexington Market tour explores the world’s largest continuously running market, which has been operating for more than 222 years. The market tour includes tastings of such Baltimore classics like the Original Berger cookie, Goetz’s chocolates and some award-winning crabcakes.
Taste Frederick Food Tours
Tickets: Adults: $65; 12 and under: $45
April-November: Saturdays and Sundays;
On the Taste Frederick Tour, you’ll discover why everyone is calling Frederick a destination for foodies. The three-hour Market Street tour includes stops at seven different restaurants and specialty food shops, with bites and sips of some of the city’s best local fare. Along the way, you might dine along Carroll Creek, a scenic waterway that runs through town, or visit a three-generation owned specialty cheese shop. Then taste a regionally famous pastrami sandwich before visiting a shop that specializes in artisanal chocolates with a Mediterranean flair. You can also learn about the city’s nearly 300-year history while visiting a nostalgic soda shop.
Taste Frederick founder Sarah Kurtanich began offering tours more than six years ago as a way to celebrate the city’s exploding culinary scene, while also supporting the businesses that make Frederick a charming small town with big city amenities. “Frederick is such a unique and beautiful city with a fantastic food scene,” she says. “Our tour offers a little something for everyone. Our only request on the tours,” she says: “Leave your diet at the door.”