North End Market Tours
www.northendmarkettours.com; 617.523.6032; $48
Led by guides personally trained by Italian food authority Michele Topor, this tour of Boston's Little Italy markets features tastings as well as information about local restaurants and historical insights into the North End community. It is described by Ms. Topor as "a cooking class on foot" and includes tips on food selection, preparation, and preservation.
Chicago Food Planet
www.chicagofoodplanet.com; 800.979.3370; $38
The "Near North Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour" visits an authentic Chicago-style pizzeria, a spice and herb shop, a fudge and confectioner shop, an artisan bakery, a Middle Eastern-Jewish deli, a high-end specialty tea merchant, and a chocolate lounge. Vegetarians take note: No meat is tasted.
Chicago Neighborhood Tours
www.chicagoneighborhoodtours.com; 877.244.2246, 312.742.1190; $50
The "Taste of the Neighborhoods Tour" departs by bus from the Chicago Cultural Center once a month. A Chicago Office of Tourism program, it visits several communities to sample some of the city's ethnic restaurants, bakeries, and delis.
Ethnic Grocery Store Tours
www.ethnic-grocery-tours.com; 773.465.8064; $70 for two people
On this customized excursion, tour originator and guide Evelyn Thompson drives you around in her own car. Not only will Evelyn lead you down the aisles to exotic ingredients and educate you on their unique properties and how they are used, she will also reveal how they were discovered and their cultural history. Bring an appetite and some spare change, because sampling is part of the tour and you might want to stock up on some of the unusual items you'll encounter.
Hawaii Food Tours
www.hawaiifoodtours.com; 800.715.2468, 808.926.FOOD; $59 to $149
The "Hole-in-the-Wall Tour" includes air-conditioned transportation and stops at four exotic ethnic restaurants "in Honolulu's delicious melting pot." Tours are each a little different, but samplings might include a Hawaiian plate lunch, Chinese dumplings, Thai noodles, Vietnamese summer rolls, a Japanese bento box, Hawaiian crack seed, and maybe some malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) for dessert. A "Hawaiian Feast in Paradise Tour" (like a luau) and "Gourmet Trilogy Tour" (fine dining and wine) are also available.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication