Canton Food Tours
When Barbara Abbott and her friends visited Scottsdale, Ariz., they experienced the city through a combination of culture and cuisine.
“We started out in the historic ‘Western’ part of town and ended up in the modern, colorful arts district. We liked one of the restaurants on our tour so much we went back there that same night for dinner,” says Abbott.
Smitten with food tours, Abbott took tasty treks in Chicago, Columbus and Cleveland. She soon realized that pairing unique food tastings with one-of-a-kind peeks into a city’s history, arts and culture was a winning recipe for the Hall of Fame City.
Beginning this summer, Abbott and her crew at Canton Food Tours are inviting locals and visitors to savor this city known for everything from presidents to gridiron heroes, an explosive arts and cultural district to reinvented rust-belt industries.
With these tours, every morsel of your experience is imaginative, delectable and overflowing with flavor. Each tour offers six or more tastings — substantial enough to amount to a full-meal combined, and tourists also receive a goody bag. Guests will walk or ride in the food-tour van, making stops along the way to sightsee.
“Even if you’ve lived here all of your life, even if you’re a ‘regular’ at the restaurants on our tours, you’ll be delighted,” says Abbott. “By discovering gems right in our own neighborhoods, we become aware of opportunities, activities, events, people, places and history that add immense value and dimension to our everyday lives.”
With more than 20 tasting partners in place, Abbott’s foodie adventure gives local restaurants and tourism organizations a boost in sales and, more importantly, in exposure.
“I have a list of favorite restaurants from each of the cities I’ve taken food tours in that I will definitely return to and have already recommended to friends. Meeting business owners, hearing their stories and seeing their passion fosters a connection and understanding that makes you want to support them and see them succeed,” says Abbott.
When Abbott leads a tour, it’s like letting a group of friends in on her exciting secret.
“It’s the mentality of ‘You’ve got to check this out,’ or ‘You have to meet so-and-so,’ or ‘Here, taste this!’ And then voila, a great surprise is revealed around every corner.”
Tour du Jour
This summer’s tours are destined to become foodie favorites. Or, you can customize your own tour — the perfect solution for families, companies and local groups. Bottom line: You’ve never been on an adventure that tasted so good.
Warehouse District Food Tour: Top to bottom, this tour has it all. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view atop Chase Tower, and then dine beneath the bustling streets in a cozy underground retreat. You’ll be amazed at what’s inside seemingly abandoned warehouses, including a cutting-edge clothing and furniture design studio. Artistic creation doesn’t stop with cloth and wood; you’ll marvel at a demonstration by skilled baristas at Muggswigz Coffee and Tea Co. Enjoy six great tastings including a special dessert made exclusively for Canton Food Tours. Tickets are $48, and tours are Thursdays, 6 to 9 p.m.
Presidential Plate Food Tour: Haven’t been invited to a formal dinner at the White House? See what you’ve been missing! View original White House China, and drool over State Dinner menus at the National First Ladies’ Library. Learn why Henry Ford’s visit to Canton ignited the auto industry and see rare automobiles for yourself. Top off the tour with a visit to Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor and discover the Bittner! Invented in the 1930s when a customer dared the staff to make a milkshake so thick that a spoon would stand upright in it, the Bittner is ¾-pound of vanilla ice cream blended with chocolate syrup and heaped with roasted pecans. Tickets are $45, and tours are Fridays, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Run, Canton, Run! Food Tour: Canton is off and running this summer! This healthy food tour focuses on the Canton Marathon and the build-up to inaugural race day. But you can rest your feet — at least this time around. On this van-based tour, we’ll drive the southeastern portion of the marathon route, stopping along the way for healthy food samples, expert tips on nutrition, gluten-free eating, running shoes, historical and cultural highlights, and lots of marathon fun facts and trivia. All samples on this tour are gluten-free. Enjoy nine great stops with healthy and delicious food and drink samples. Tickets are $45, and tours are Saturdays, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
A Seasonal Menu
Not one to rest on her laurels, Abbott’s already cooking up new tour concepts for this fall and next year.
As the Pro Football Hall of Fame celebrates 50 years in 2013, Abbott and her Canton Food Tours team will be there with a “Touchdown Tour.” Working with the Hall of Fame, she will craft the tour around points of interest that established Canton as the birthplace of the NFL and the cradle of professional football.
In an effort to unveil Canton’s hidden gems, Abbott will add the “Nooks and Crannies Tour” this fall. While potential stops are for Abbott to know and you to find out, you can expect to see parts of the city never seen. But don’t worry: This cloak-and-dagger routine will be as delicious as it is mysterious.
The “Farm-to-Table Tour” includes a visit to area farms and restaurants to learn firsthand the path our food takes from seedling to plate, grape to wine, leaf to cup and bean to morning joe.
Other tours will include one with heart-healthy guests in mind and a decadent dessert-only tour of the Canton Arts District.