Top 10 Culinary Tours
New Orleans is not in a foreign country but one look at a typical restaurant menu’s offerings suggests otherwise: boudin, etouffée, mirliton, beignet. Like the soul of the city itself, New Orleans cuisine is a blend of French, Spanish, Italian, African, Native American, Cajun, Creole, and Cuban flavors. It draws heavily from local ingredients, including crawfish (“mudbugs”), pompano and black drum fish, plump shrimp and blue crab, sweet pecans and Gulf oysters. And the local restaurant scene, from po’boy counters to white tablecloth establishments, is booming.
“It should be on the must-visit list of all foodies,” says Connie Walsh of New York-based travel company Tour de Forks (www.tourdeforks.com), whose five-day A Taste of New Orleans culinary tour subtracts any guesswork and promises to feed visitors’ minds as well as stomachs.
This year’s trip in November mixes stops at in-demand restaurants such as Commander’s Palace (www.commanderspalace.com) with a Creole cooking class at Savvy Gourmet (www.savvygourmet.com) and an exclusive tour of the Alice Waters–inspired Edible Schoolyard of New Orleans (www.esynola.org), launched in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. At pork-happy Cochon (www.cochonrestaurant.com), the group will visit the in-house butcher shop before dinner. Participants will bed down at the French Quarter’s tranquil Dauphine Orleans Hotel (www.dauphineorleans.com), whose main building dates from 1834. By the end of the trip, visitors will know the difference between Creole and Cajun cuisine and – thanks to in-the-know guide Chantel Martineau – where to find the city’s finest sazerac.
Upcoming trip: November 5 to 9, 2010; from $1,600 a person, all inclusive except for several meals.
For more trip-planning information, see our New Orleans Travel Guide.