Surprise: I’m now a food tour guide with Orlando Food Tours! Part of my training is going on the actual tour, so this past Sunday John and I did exactly that. I didn’t pay for this tour but opinions here are 100% my own (as they always are) and I’m speaking honestly about my experience. Which, spoiler alert, was awesome.
Living a good 40 minutes from Orlando means that expeditions into downtown (especially for food) are always carefully planned. This can get a little frustrating, especially with the food scene booming. I want to try everything! But my stomach can only fit so much. Sigh.
The Winter Park walking food tour was a perfect solution. We made 5 stops total, with some walking time in between to digest and learn some Winter Park history. The end result is a filling sampling of the food scene in Winter Park, with a just right dose of history and exercise (to help you justify the ice cream and cheese).
We kicked things off with mimosas, a light green salad and a caprese style bread. We didn’t get much info on the first restaurant from the server but were provided with menus and I couldn’t stop eyeing the baked brie on the brunch menu. I’ll be back for you, brie.
The next stop taught me a thing (or five) about olive oil and balsamic. Did you know there’s a specific way to taste olive oil? You start by warming the cup of oil in your hands, then sip the olive oil. Now the fun part: suck in air through your teeth (we learned this is called strippaggio – as fun to say as it looks) swallow, and exhale through your nose. Allowing your brain a few seconds to process the tastes, you’re then able to pick up on some of the subtle notes of the olive oil. Or at least that’s what is supposed to happen…I think my strippaggio needs some work. 🙂
While I enjoyed sampling oils, the vanilla ice cream mixed with blueberry balsamic and blueberry jam was a highlight. Mind = blown. Before leaving, Melanie, our guide, gave us a sample of her favorite balsamic and olive oil pairing – dark chocolate and blood orange. Heavenly.
Hopped up on cheese and olive oil, our guide Melanie took us on a leisurely walk to digest and learn about Winter Park’s history and prominent figures from the past. If you love architecture, you’ll enjoy this portion of the tour. I was pumped to finally see Casa Feliz (on my wedding photography location bucket list) up close. Having no prior knowledge of Winter Park and it’s history, or knowing that it contained so much beautiful architecture, this part of the tour was really enjoyable.
Ready for round two, we wrapped up the tour with three more stops where we sampled spices and two of my favorite things: pizza and ice cream. My day was made right there.
Strolling through Winter Park on a sunny day, meeting new people, and sampling all new to me foods ended up being the perfect way to spend a Sunday. The fact that architecture, walking, and history are mixed in along with stops that aren’t just restaurants makes this a unique offering. For someone who doesn’t live in town, it’s nice to be able to come in and sample food from many restaurants all in a few hours to get a real feel for Winter Park and it’s endless offerings.
The 3 hour tour went by incredibly fast, but by the end I was pleasantly full (and ready for a nap). This is an activity I’d recommend to tourists and locals alike – a fantastic way to get to know just one of many of Orlando’s thriving food scenes. Who knows, hop on a tour and I may just be your guide!
Need to Know: This is a longer tour (around 3 hours) with 5 food stops and while the pace is leisurely make sure you bring some water with you if it’s hot. Water wasn’t served until the third stop after the walking portion and we were pretty thirsty by then. Street parking is available, but we opted to park in a nearby garage which we found by following parking signs. Email communications from Orlando Food Tours will provide all the info you need! For tickets, visit the Orlando Food Tours website.
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