Introducing children to new foods can be exciting or daunting, depending on the child, of course. I have two peanuts and their palates couldn’t be more different. Some days it seems the only thing they have in common is that they eat. Food for our family is more than sustenance, it’s an experience and we like to enjoy our mealtimes. We rarely dine at restaurants chains simply because we prefer to support local, independent restaurants and also because you can enjoy local cuisine at local joints.
Whenever we travel, we often ask locals where they like the eat because who better to advise you on the best places than those who live there? In the absence of a local, consider a culinary tour.
Culinary tours are great for a number of reasons:
- they are organized
- they visit a variety of dining locations
- it’s a social experience which can be fun, too
While some culinary tours are meant for adults only, there are plenty that either cater to or welcome children.
Does your child prefer to watch Top Chef than SpongeBob? City Food Tours in New York Cities offers its In the Steps of a Top Chef tour and children as young as 11 are welcome to participate in the three hour tour that includes participating in an interactive challenge, learning how to use a variety of knives and enjoying a snack at one of Tom Colicchio’s eateries.
Another great option for kids is located in Miami. The Miami Culinary Tours is a small local company forged with a team of knowledgeable and passionate foodies guiding popular Miami food tours. Each participant at the South Beach Food Tour and at the Little Havana Food Tour is given a booklet with top restaurant recommendations as well as other tips to navigate the diverse Miami food scene.
Participants recognize the importance of food in travel and celebrate the authentic culinary experiences around Miami historic neighborhoods – but knowing where to go can be difficult to navigate in a city with so many options. Miami Culinary Tours guides travelers and locals alike through exclusive epicurean adventures while stopping at some of the best restaurants in Miami for tastings at each stop.
“We have children coming to our tours all the time!” says Grace Della, founder of Miami Culinary Tours. “The 4 sweet stops part of the tour (we make a total of 8 food stops) is very geared toward kids as they get to taste a sweet bubble tea, ice cream, candies from a Jewish deli and Cuban guava pastelitos. We supplement the alcoholic drinks – and the food we serve are delicious dishes that children enjoy discovering such as empanadas and ropa vieja. I always see children finishing their meals at each of the stops!”
According to Della, children 11 and up make great tour participants although children of any age are allowed and those under 11 years of age are free.
Many kids are adventurous when it comes to trying things, too. Della finds most of the kids on the tour really enjoy the candy-like tapioca lychee drink they taste on the tour.
Della has been offering guided cultural walking and food tasting tours through the city’s historic neighborhoods of Miami since 2010. Tours are held twice daily at 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm and up to four times a day in high season. Her food tours are lead by passionate locals knowledgeable in the history and culture behind the food and the neighborhoods that make it unique.
So whether you’re visiting Naperville, Illinois, or Miami, Florida, seek out the culinary tours offered and don’t be afraid to bring the kids along.
Have you been on a culinary tour lately? What was your experience? I have a chocolate tasting tour to do in Chicago soon and I can’t wait!
Photos courtesy of Miami Culinary Tours