On Columbus Day weekend, my husband and I had the pleasure to attend a Boston Food Tour of Back Bay & Beacon Hill courtesy of Audrey at Boston Food Finds. Never heard of Boston Food Finds? Well Audrey has developed some amazing relationships with Boston area restaurants and specialty food stores to create some amazing food tours. Her tours include Beacon Hill/Back Bay, Greenway, and coming soon, Harvard Sq & Downtown (which includes Quincy Market & the North End). They are great for the tourist as well as a local!
I was excited to try the Beacon Hill/Back Bay tour. When Joe and I moved in together, our first apartment was in Beacon Hill, so the stroll to and from each place brought back some nice memories.
Our first stop was at Lydia Shire’s famed restaurant Scampo, which is located in the beautiful Liberty Hotel. I had heard so many fantastic things about Scampo so I was very eager to start our tour.
We were given a menu of what we would be sampling while we were at Scampo. My mouth was watering the second I looked at the menu! Gnocchi and pizza?!? Two of my most favorite things!
Obviously any restaurant that has it’s own slicing machine is a great place in my book.
But first! We were able to take a tour of the kitchen. It’s fairly small, but very efficient. Many of the chef’s were working on prepping for dinner service. Yum-mie.
While we waited for the food to be served, we got to munch on some tasty homemade bread sticks. These aren’t your run of the mill boring packaged bread sticks that are served at sub par restaurants. These were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, so-good-I-ate-3-of-them-breasticks.
We were sitting at the chef’s table, so we were able to see everything as it was made. I LOVE sitting at Chef’s tables. It’s so interesting to me to see how the food comes together to become something truly amazing.
And let me tell you, our first course did NOT disappoint. Fresh arugula, fresh tomatoes, with gooey mozzarella paired along side gnocchi served with chestnuts, Parmesan cheese reduction, and a browned butter, garlic and sage sauce.
I pretty much ate this in about 5 seconds. So amazing. And I remembered to sop up all the sauce with a fourth breadstick.
Don’t judge me.
Next we tried Scampo’s world famous Lobster pizza. Um, hello? Lobster AND pizza. I might just have to live at Scampo (much to my wallet’s detriment). This pizza was amazing, tender and crispy crust, juicy and big pieces of lobster. My only teensy tiny problem with the pizza was that it was a little on the oily side. But still didn’t detract from the amazingness.
This tour was obviously off to a good start.
Our next stop was at Beacon Hill Chocolates. I have to admit, I’d walked past BHC while I lived in Beacon Hill, but never went inside. For shame. For inside contained….happiness.
BHC was in full Halloween mood. But you won’t find boring candy corn here. Sweet potato pie bars. Halloween inspired candy apples. Truffles. Lots and lots of truffles.
We were able to sample a variety of chocolates. And not just boring chocolate. Milk chocolate with lime and chile oil. Dark chocolate. All of it fantastic. And we got to take home some delicious S’Mores pops and some brownie pops. And I may have bought a couple
pounds additional items.
The next stop on our tour was Bacco’s wine and cheese shop. Bacco’s opened this year and it has just been flourishing. This was another place I had walked by and was curious to see what it was all about.
Cheese? Check. Pâté? Check. Craft beers? Check. Awesome wine selection? Check. Delicious and affordable meals from Pigalle restaurant? Check. Meat and Cheese BENTO boxes?!?!! CHECKITY CHECK.
For this stop we got to sample some amazing Dukkah from Lydia’s Handcrafted Foods, which is an Egyptian nut and spice mix. Grab some bread, dip it in some fabulous olive oil, dip it in the Dukkah, repeat 1000 times, and fall into complete bliss. Next came the most amazing almond macaroons I’ve ever had. Made by an older gentleman, St. Emilion’s macaroons have an intense almond flavor that is out of this world. You cannot just eat one of these. We also tried 2 different varieties of cheese, plus a sweet pino grigio that was pretty amazing.
Up next was Sabatino & Co. I literally felt like I was walking into a perfume store, not a specialty food store (which is why I walked right past it!). Sabatino’s definitely belongs on Newbury St., with decadent olive oils (truffle infused olive oil anyone??), to the most amazing pistachio cream I’ve ever had in my life. I may have single handedly eaten about half of the jar.
Besides the sweets, we got to sample an intense black olive tapenade, a delicious eggplant caponata, and some delicious espresso cream.
The orange and strawberry chutney was one of my favorites. One of the most interesting products they had was truffle infused honey. Alone, I didn’t really care for the taste, but after I heard some of the things it can be used for, I would totally try it. Unfortunately, most of the items at Sabatino’s were out of my price range ($26.00 for an 8oz bottle of lemon infused olive oil????? Ouch) I didn’t buy anything.
Our second to last stop was at Turner Fisheries for their legendary clam chowder. To make their chowder, they use rice flour instead of regular flour because it produced a better consistency to the chowder. They even provided us with a copy of their recipe! Yum!
Their chowder definitely had a silky feel to it which I liked. The potatoes were great, not too soft, not too hard. Was it my favorite? Probably not, as I would have like more chunks of clam, but I will definitely take their advice on the rice flour.
Our last stop of the tour was at Sweet, because obviously we need to end with dessert. I’ve never really bought into the whole cupcake craze that has taken over Boston, as most of the time the cupcakes are overpriced, overly sweet, and overly dry.
With that said, I had a hard time picking a cupcake though. Do I go with a classic chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting? Do I go more Bostonian with a Boston Cream Pie cupcake? Do I go Fall with a Pumpkin Pie cupcake with cream cheese frosting? Decision Decisions.
In the end, I went with the Caramel Apple cupcake, complete with apple compote in the middle, vanilla bean caramel frosting, and a Popsicle stick to finish it off. It was pretty much the perfect ending to an amazing tour. Joe ended up getting the Molasses cupcake with crystallized ginger frosting, but saved it for later.
Thanks so much to Audrey and Boston Food Finds for such an amazing tour! And if you haven’t checked one out yet, you totally should!
Disclaimer: My husband and I were given 2 complimentary tickets for this tour. However, as always, all opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way shape or form.