Enjoy a Tasteful Walk or Drive on Kentucky Food Tours
You know all about the Bluegrass State’s popular bourbon tours – so many bourbon tours – but a person can only sip so much before fueling up. What better solution than themed food tours that provide the perfect opportunity to explore an area and taste its many unique flavors along the way.
You’ll stroll along gorgeous riverfronts, walk about charming towns and drive scenic farmland while hearing fascinating stories from knowledgeable and entertaining local guides about Kentucky’s history and signature dishes.
The icing on the cake? Delicious stops along each tour let you sample these iconic flavors yourself before moving on to the next stop.
Better bring your comfortable walking shoes – and a hearty appetite!
Guided Food Tours
In the Northern Kentucky city of Covington, Riverside Food Tours offers several ways to eat your way through town.
Its popular Mainstrasse Village Food Tour introduces you to delicious fare in the area’s charming German village, with stops at five locally owned restaurants. You’ll not only meet their chefs and owners, but also dig into German pretzels with beer cheese, charcuterie, handcrafted specialty pizza, authentic Kentucky dishes, coffee and homemade desserts – with beer and wine pairings, too. In between bites, you’ll explore the historic village’s pretty streets, tree-lined plaza and 100-foot-tall Glockenspiel to learn more about the German immigrants who settled here.
The same company’s Madison Avenue Food Tour offers a taste of how this area has become the culinary epicenter of Northern Kentucky, with six stops at restaurants offering global and local flavors. While exploring beautiful architecture along the riverfront and through town, you’ll enjoy an epic biscuit sandwich at a chic hotel plus local tacos, Sicilian-style pizza, craft beer, coffee and more.
Or combine great tastes with panoramic views of the Ohio River on the Roebling Bridge Food Tour, which takes you across the span and past million-dollar historic mansions on your way to five sit-down stops at some of Northern Kentucky’s top restaurants in two neighborhoods. You’ll start at an authentic Irish pub then move on to taste house-smoked chicken, indulge in comfort food, visit an urban market and end with a sweet surprise.
In the state’s largest city, Mint Julep Tours in Louisville offers a whole lineup of culinary experiences for groups, including live TV tapings of food shows, progressive food and cocktail tours, cooking events and more. Among them is a Boozy Brunch and Bourbon Bonanza that pairs pre-meal cocktails (mimosas and Bellinis and Bloody Marys, oh my!) with a full feast and a follow-up bourbon tasting for a tasty trifecta.
Also popular is a recurring Southern Supper Series featuring meals built on themes like all-star chefs, barbecue, smoked foods, grilling and distilling, and more.
In Lexington, famed artisan cheese-maker Boone Creek Creamery offers kid-friendly tours to see cheese being made using traditional European techniques, with no reservations required for groups of six or less. Tours last about 45 minutes (with samplings, of course) and end with an exciting visit to the cheese cave before stopping at the gift shop to pick up delicious souvenirs like Mama Mia, Sassy Redhead, Jerk Cheddar, Scandinavian Grilling Cheese, Abbey Road and Kentucky Derby to take home.
Self-Guided Food Tours
If you want to explore some of Kentucky’s signature flavors at your own pace, several self-guided food tours let you whip up your own itinerary on your own schedule.
The tangy spread of sharp cheddar, beer, garlic and spices known as “beer cheese” was invented in central Kentucky when Johnnie Allman first served his cousin Joe’s Snappy Cheese at the historic Driftwood Inn along the Kentucky River back in the 1940s.
Today, Clark County’s popular Kentucky Beer Cheese Trail features a dozen or so stops where you can enjoy this regional specialty. Just grab an official “Beer Cheese Log” at any participating restaurant, order any beer cheese item from the menu, then have your log officially stamped. (You can also track your progress on-the-go through the free Tour Winchester mobile app.)
Once you collect at least five stamps, return your log to the Winchester Tourism office for a free T-shirt. Or if you’re feeling super cheesy, collect all stamps to receive an additional prize and a chance to be an official judge at the town’s annual Beer Cheese Festival held the second Saturday in June!
Western Kentucky is known for legendary barbecue – the best in the region and, some say, America – and you can sample award-winning and age-old recipes featuring slow-cooked pork, chicken, beef and more at a dozen-plus restaurants from Louisville to Paducah along the Western Kentucky BBQ Trail.
Among the stops are Owensboro favorites Moonlite Bar-B-Q, known for its beef brisket and mutton, and Old Hickory Pit Barbecue, which has been serving top-quality mutton, pork, pork ribs, beef, ham, chicken and comforting sides for more than 100 years.
Finally, no culinary trip to Kentucky would be complete without a visit to where the Colonel’s secret blend of herbs and spices all began. Kentucky Fried Chicken got its start right here in Corbin back in 1930 before it became an iconic worldwide brand. Today, you can get a glimpse (and taste!) into the legacy of Col. Sanders’ “famous recipe” chicken at the Harland Sanders Café and Museum.
But fried chicken’s appeal here goes far beyond this famous family. You can also try what many swear is the best at the historic Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Parkette Drive-In or Merrick Inn in Lexington, or Greyhound Tavern in Ft. Mitchell.
Those are just a handful of more than a dozen restaurants on the Kentucky's Fried Chicken Trail. After you travel this tasty route, come back for the World Chicken Festival held each September in London that always promises a finger-lickin’ good time!