File this post under a definite “cool thing to do in Central Florida”.
I enjoyed a culinary tour today via Orlando Food Tours. This group just got its start in December of last year and already their weekend tours are quick sell-outs. Locals and out-of-town visitors alike (from Australia and Canada, to name a couple) have made their way through this 2.5 hour walking tour, currently traversing parts of Park Avenue in Winter Park. Not only do you get to stop at some great local spots, but you also get a bit of history behind the City of Winter Park, it’s cultural additions, as well as some highlights of its architectural past and present.
I ate at her sister store, Luma, not long ago but hadn’t yet tried Prato. Known for their pizzas and pasta, this fiery little brick oven gets quite the work out.
Our group sat in back with all the action of the open kitchen to admire.
Two pizzas were presented to us. This is the Widow Maker.
Caciocavallo, romesco, fennel sausage and in the middle, a farm egg. The arugula made this pizza for me. I would definitely return for this one.
Next up, the Americano.
Roasted eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, gorgonzola, and mint.
I loved Prato and look forward to visiting again, and recommending it to others.
Our second stop was at The Ancient Olive.
Forget your preconceived notions of an olive oil shop. This place superseded my expectations. Beyond oils and balsamics, there is much to explore and enjoy. We sampled a few olive oils (the mango and blood orange mix was my favorite)…
and moved on to some tastings.
This coconut curry rice wasn’t too spicy or heavy on the curry.
Everything is available to purchase and sample, and the focus is definitely on local. Next a blueberry cheesecake topped with a blueberry balsamic.
We also sampled olives (or course),…
and closed out the tour with a curry mustard dip.
I forgot to snap a pic of the drink we sampled, but I highly recommend a visit to Ancient Olive to spend time exploring.
Another stop on the tour is also owned by the folks who opened The Ancient Olive, The Tea and Spice Exchange has something for everyone.
We sampled an onion dip, some meatballs and a blood orange adult beverage concoction. Everything was delicious and more than you’d think to find in a tea and spice shop.
I also spotted goodies from Jane’s Short & Sweet and Peterbrooke Chocolatier!
We moved on (next door, conveniently) to Orchid Thai Cuisine. We began our visit with chicken satay with a peanut sauce and cucumber relish to dip.
I could have eat the cucumber relish alone, it was sweet, crunchy and had a slight heat to its finish. Everyone commented that the chicken was flavorful and perfect without any accompaniment, and I would agree.
Next up, a sample platter of dumplings, curry puffs and golden purses.
On a hot day in Central Florida a sweet, cold treat is a welcome stop. We came to Kilwin’s next and enjoyed some Winter Park Mud ice cream and turtle fudge.
Out last stop was at Sassafras Sweet Shoppe. I managed to miss the pic of our cotton candy and had to rush away at the close of the tour. But anyone who frequents Park Avenue knows about Sassafras and their candies, chips, sodas, and unique gifts (bacon flavored toothpaste anyone?)
Here is some additional info on our tour stops today:
On the back of our tour program we were also given some coupons to shop in the places we visited. This is a great feature and I can’t wait to return to do some shopping!
I would highly recommend checking out an Orlando Food Tour. They take up to 12 in their group tours, and if you book a Friday, you’ll likely have a private tour. These guys are onto a great concept and I hope they can expand into downtown Orlando and the surrounding areas. Thanks Reid for heading up our group tour and making it a truly enjoyable, one of a kind, local experience. (And a big thanks to Kiel too!)
You can go to OrlandoFoodTour.com for reservation information. Use “gottaeat” at checkout and get 10% off tickets! (Thanks @OrlandoFoodTour!)
In my first pic, you’ll see all of Orlando Food Tours social media information. Follow them on Twitter for contests and weekly info on their tours, as well as liking them Facebook. It’s all about #local #love y’all!
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