AAA Travel Tips / New Orleans Tasting Tours

New Orleans Tasting Tours

AAA/Laurie Sterbens
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
May 28, 2019
One of the best ways to experience a new place during your vacation is to explore its culinary scene, and this is certainly the case with New Orleans. This destination has a rich, fascinating cultural history that led to the diversity and unique flavors for which the city is known. With hundreds of local restaurants, choosing where to eat can be overwhelming. Starting your trip with a tasting tour is a great way to get an overview of the city’s iconic dishes.
Types of Tours
When it comes to choosing your tasting tour, it pays to do some research—there are nearly as many tours available here as there are restaurants. A great option in this walkable destination is food history tours that offer samples from several local restaurants—you walk through the city learning about food as well as historic sites you encounter on the way.
If you want to explore the food scene outside the French Quarter, tasting tours are available in different districts around the city. Other tours offer tastings with a different twist, such as a haunted history tour accompanied by tastings and/or cocktails. If you just want to sample desserts or the city’s iconic cocktails, there are tours for those as well. Factory tours allow you to sample a product such as a spirit or hot sauce and learn more about how it’s made.
Another great way to learn about New Orleans cuisine is a visit to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, which celebrates New Orleans and foods of the South with exhibits, events and cooking classes. The museum also houses the Museum of the American Cocktail and La Galerie de l’Absinthe, featuring an extensive collection of items related to the once-banned spirit.
Past Doctor Gumbo Food History tour in New Orleans included seafood gumbo from Tableau and a catfish poboy and muffaletta at NOLA Poboys.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens
Cost
Tasting tours typically range from $50 to $75 per person, but can cost more or less depending on the type of tour and the number of items sampled.
Past Doctor Gumbo Food History tour in New Orleans in April 2018 included seafood gumbo from Tableau and a catfish poboy and muffaletta at NOLA Poboys.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens
What to Know Before You Go
• While you’ll find tour operators throughout the city after you’ve arrived, it’s a good idea to research all of your options online before making a decision.
• While most tours have set menus, some are able to accommodate special dietary needs if you contact them in advance.
• Not all tours are offered every day, so check tour times online before you travel to make sure you can fit the tour you want into your vacation plans.
• Map out your route to the departure point beforehand rather than relying on a navigation app to work correctly en route, and be sure to arrive a few minutes early to check in with the tour guide.
• Dress appropriately for the weather (tours are often rain or shine) and wear comfortable walking shoes. You may be visiting nicer dining establishments, so some tour operators may recommend a ore “dressy casual” attire.
• Don’t forget to tip your guide. You’ll have an opportunity at the end of the tour to thank the guide and at this time it’s optional but appropriate to offer a 10 to 20 percent tip.
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