I’ll let you into a little secret.
I love food.
I love good food.
I love fresh, good food that leaves a lasting impression, long after the tastebuds have dined out on a new sensation.
Yes, I may be a style blogger and more often than not when I travel you’ll find me in my natural habitat (fashion stores and beauty outlets) sniffing out a bargain but a big part of the thrill of traveling for me – whether that’s close to home or overseas – is fossicking for memorable food.
Whether that’s sitting down to a seven-course degustation menu in a Michelin-starred restaurant or biting into a fresh mozzarella ball wrapped in prosciutto at America’s oldest Italian cheese store, food can be the ultimate souvenir of a trip away.
Now, lets talk about those mozzarella balls, shall we?
My holiday in New York may be over but if I close my eyes I can still taste that mozzarella that had only been made that morning. Cheese that my mouth would never have bitten into except for joining the Ahoy New York City Food Tour.
That first stop on the tour at Alleva Dairy set the foodie scene for the following three hours as we walked through the eldest streets of Little Italy and Chinatown.
Before setting out I had a pretty good idea that we’d be sampling some amazing food. What I hadn’t anticipated were the historical and cultural lessons learned along the way.
These two neighbourhoods in New York are steeped in history and have grown personalities indicative of their immigrant beginnings.
With food being so much a part of each of these cultures, it’s no wonder it’s impossible to talk about one without the other.
And that’s just what our guide Laura did.
Her enthusiasm for this area of New York City is infectious. Whether describing the original way the traditional Sicilian dessert, Cannolis, were rolled (using a broomstick!) or explaining how a New York park is like a living room for the families living in small tenements, it’s this intertwining of food and history that made each of the tasting stops all the sweeter.
To be honest, particularly travelling with a seven-year-old, we might not have even attempted negotiating our way around Little Italy and Chinatown without this insider knowledge.
You certainly cannot judge a potentially good dining experience by its cover.
By day, a rusting roller door on a shopfront gives no clue to the fact that it’s an uber cool nighttime cocktail bar.
Want to take a peek at some of the other yummies that went in our bellies?
Food porn alert ahead.
If you’re into food and heading to New York, I’d recommend doing this tour early on in your trip.
It’s three hours well spent – yes you’re on your feet for most of that time (there’s a 30-minute stop at Pongrsi Thai Restaurant) – but you’re not covering a massive area.
Wear comfortable shoes (Ha! You should see my New York blisters … I call them badges of honour!); and bring a hat or raincoat depending on the weather.
Oh, and don’t eat too much for breakfast beforehand … you won’t end the tour bloated and feeling like you’ve visited Sizzler for a buffet but you will be full.
As for what you’ll see and find out? Not only will you visit places you will want to come back to – to dine in or takeout – but you’ll also be given a list of dining recommendations that you can work your way through during your stay.
It’s this insider foodie knowledge that can’t always be found in a guidebook – the type of knowledge that can create food memories which last a lifetime.
Cost: $49 per person. For more information or to book, visit www.AhoyNewYorkFoodTours.com
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Bio: Nikki Parkinson is a fashion and beauty blogger, blogging over at Styling You, a blog that offers real-world advice for busy women wanting to look and feel their best. You can also follow her love of all things fashion, foodie and travel via Instagram. And read Nikki’s post on 10 must do things in New York City
Note: Nikki joined the New York City food tour as a guest and on behalf of y travel blog.