Satisfy Your Hunger on a Tasting Tour
Culinary tourism is the rage these days, as travelers seek out authentic cuisine in places they visit to provide insights about the locales’ way of life.
In Kentucky’s two largest cities, Louisville and Lexington, visitors can take escorted tours of dining hot spots with a dash of history and culture on the side.
City Taste Tours in Louisville and Bleu Plate Tours in Lexington are operated separately by two women with a passion for showcasing some of the best food experiences their cities have to offer. Both Leslie Burke of City Taste Tours and Laura Mize of Bleu Plate Tours are foodies who love to regale guests with stories about places and people that make their communities unique.
A career entrepreneur with previous experience as a Realtor and maid-service owner, Burke has been taking tourists on spicy jaunts through Louisville’s dining scene since 2009. “I’ve entertained guests from Iowa to Ireland, and Cincinnati to Singapore,” says Burke, who leads daily bus tours throughout the distinctive neighborhoods that give the River City its flair.
Highlighting locally-owned restaurants where you can sample treats like bourbon chocolate truffles and a pie that takes its name from the Kentucky Derby, the year-round tours also stop at landmarks like Churchill Downs and Colonel Harland Sanders’ gravesite.
In the evening, Burke offers “progressive dinner” tours, featuring salad and appetizers at the first stop, entrées at the next and tantalizing desserts at the last stop.
“Every day I get to make people happy, show off the city I love and introduce folks to yummy food and drinks,” Burke says.
In Lexington, former musician Laura Mize will take you on walking tours of downtown dining spots every Saturday and Sunday from April through October. The 1.5 mile tours last about three hours as Mize leads visitors on leisurely rambles through Main Street, Gratz Park, Victorian Square and the Cheapside district.
Mize’s stops include two of Lexington’s finest upscale restaurants, an eclectic comfort food restaurant, an urban market and deli, a favorite watering hole and other interesting spots. Since starting the tours in 2010, Mize has witnessed a blossoming of downtown’s dining scene. About half of her guests are from out-of-state, but Mize has been surprised by the number of area residents who take her tours because they are intrigued by Lexington’s downtown revival.
Like Burke, Mize is a firm believer in food camaraderie. “I have had numerous instances where people met on my tour and then fostered a friendship after meeting there. Food does many, many things, and I love bringing people together!”
So if you’re hungry for a taste of Kentucky’s urban culture, find more information about both tours on their websites or by calling (502) 457-8686 for City Taste Tours, and Bleu Plate Tours at (800) 979-3370.