It's always fun to try new restaurants and get a taste of new flavors, and thanks to a host of food tours throughout New Jersey, you can whet your appetite with numerous culinary delights in one single day. ¶ Food tours are more than just a chance for great food; they are cultural walking adventures that engage all of the senses with history, architecture and local lore. They also o er groups an interactive way to bond and nosh at the same time.
Mangia Hoboken! The Hoboken Food & Culture Tour meets every Saturday afternoon at the PATH station entrance in Hoboken and takes culinary enthusiasts on a walking tour of some of the city’s most popular eateries.
“We emphasize Hoboken’s Italian family- owned food establishments, with some of them open for more than a century,” says Avi Ohring, founder of the tour. “Unlike food tours in Manhattan, you will actually get to meet the owners of some of our stops.”
Along the way, tour participants will sample some award-winning mozzarella cheese that’s made right in front of them at Lisa’s Italian Deli, and will get to try a piece of warm Italian bread, handmade and baked in a traditional coal-burning brick oven.
“There’s also cannolis from Cake Boss’s Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shop,” Ohring says. “As an added bonus, we’ll stop at the site of the childhood home of Hoboken’s most famous son,Frank Sinatra.”
The Cape May Food Tour makes six stops and serves a variety of foods, enough for a satisfying lunch for most appetites.Those participating can expect a fun afternoon of good food, healthy walking, beautiful scenic gardens and Victorian architecture.
“Our tours are known for delicious local cuisine prepared by well-respected chefs at many award-winning establishments,” says Mary Ockrymiek, owner of the Cape May Food Tours, LLC. “We highlight familyowned businesses, many of which are multigenerational, like the Mad Batter, which is on its third generation of the same family.”
Other stops on the tour include: Freda’s Café, a charming corner cafe boasting creative cuisine in an intimate atmosphere; Coffee Tyme, known for quality home-baked goods and excellent local coffee; Oyster Bay Restaurant, serving a Cape May tradition of seafood and steak; and the Cape May Peanut Butter Company.
A Jersey Renaissance
Alessia Aron, co-founder of Jersey Girls Food Tour, notes that Jersey City’s downtown area has changed dramatically in the last few years, giving way to a culinary renaissance. That was the genesis behind the food tour, which features 5-8 dining experiences where participants get delicious samplings that are larger than most tour companies typically serve.
“With our tour, we pride ourselves on the amount of food and its quality, and we get owners and chefs involved to share with guests what makes their food so great,” Aron says. “We can accommodate team-building events, private groups, parties—you name it and we will cater the tour towards the participants.”
Just a quick PATH ride from New York City, the Grove Street stop leaves you at the heart of downtown, where tour participants will sample some of Jersey City’s best pizza, tacos, ice cream, burgers, pasta and fries.
Some popular locations often included on the tour are Orale Mexican Kitchen, Porta Pizza, Beclaws, Talde and Pasta Dal Cuore.
A Global Tasting Experience
After finding success leading food tours in New York City with the culinary tour Noshwalks, founder Myra Alperson expanded with two tours in New Jersey in 2014: one in Newark’s Ironbound district and the other in Jersey City’s vibrant Journal Square neighborhood.
“I work with clients to organize custom tours based on their needs, but since I’m a solo operator, my custom tours top out at 25,” Alperson says. “I talk to the client extensively to find out what is wanted—a sit-down meal, a theme, a particular type of food, etc., and then I organize a great food tour for them.”
Alperson tries to give participants a great sampling of food from around the world. For example, the Newark tour spotlights the Portuguese and Brazilian specialties that draw people far and wide, as well as the delicious Ecuadorean and Peruvian tastes.
All Noshwalkers receive handouts that include a detailed map with the tour route; brief neighborhood history; and addresses of markets, restaurants and local landmarks.
Wash it Down
The husband-and-wife team of Mike and Eileen Curran took advantage of the number of wineries tripling in New Jersey over the last five years and created the popular South Jersey Wine Tour. Combined with their existing limo business, the tour offers guests the chance to check out the diverse grapes and crafted boutique wines which make the New Jersey wine trails so unique.
“We handle every aspect of the tour, from reservations at the wineries to setting up itineraries for each vendor,” Mike says. “We give our customers a one-minute spiel at each winery, stating fun facts about the winery, owners, events and types of wine they serve. We hand out wine passport booklets printed by the GSWGA, and we handle any wines they may purchase.”
The tour lasts five hours and normally visits three to four wineries in the Cape May area, Hammonton area, and Gloucester, Salem and Burlington Counties. They are also able to combine the tour with visits to specialty cheese shops, chocolatiers, painting classes, spas and restaurants.