The neighborhood has a lovely air of calm after the holidays. Bundle up and enjoy a great winter outing: join us on tour, return to your favorite shops and treat yourself to a new product discovered on tour, end your day by enjoying a new restaurant.
Visit “Little Italy” and experience the markets of Boston’s North End
The secret of Italian cuisine is the high quality of ingredients, a sense of regional tradition, and that very Italian love of life. Sources for ingredients abound in the narrow streets of the North End. But for the outsider, finding the finest is not always easy. Join us on Michele Topor’s original award-winning North End Market Tour and let us unlock for you the secrets of the cuisine and of America’s oldest Italian community while you enjoy the colorful sights, the tantalizing aromas and authentic tastes of America’s most vibrant Italian neighborhood.
- Take inspiration from the Mediterranean diet. Learn how the social aspects of a meal along with a reliance on seasonal produce and extra virgin olive oil have traditionally played a role in influencing peoples’ health since antiquity.
- Understand how Italians adapted their dishes to their new country and created the familiar Italian-American cuisine.
- Discover the the most Italian pasticceria that offers the best biscotti, amaretti, sfogliatelle, taralli, marzipan, cannoli and other confections. Learn about the true Italian dessert culture.
- Stop at the greengrocer and learn about select seasonal fruits and vegetables, and gain new ideas on how to use them.
- Stray down a little alley to find the panetteria that supplies some of the best neighborhood restaurants.
- Visit an authentic salumeria in search of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta, prosciutto and imported cheese. Learn how to select the freshest olive oil and how to identify “real” balsamic vinegar. Did you know that 50% of the EVOO in the world does not have olives in it? We’ll also discuss the different types of cheeses and tell you how to distinguish artisan pasta from the commercially produced varieties.
- Savor the scents of an Old World spice and coffee vendor that has been in the neighborhood for over 80 years. Learn about Italian coffee culture and be introduced to various ingredients that are almost impossible to find in ordinary stores.
- Tour an enoteca to learn how to select aperitivi to begin, wine to complement, and digestivi to conclude your meal.
- Relive memories, perhaps of holidays past, of growing up in an Italian household.
The North End Market Tour has been designed to reflect Michele Topor’s passion for all things Italian. Trained as a professional chef, Michele has taught cooking, catered, and consulted on Italian food since 1979. Michele’s cooking classes, market tours and culinary trips to Italy have been featured on television (including TVFood Network, HGTV and CNN), on the radio, and in various national and international publications.
As a 40+ year resident of Boston’s North End, Michele initially designed The North End Market Tour to introduce cooking class participants to her neighborhood and sources for authentic Italian ingredients. Since 1994, Michele and her personally trained guides have shared their passion for the food and wine of Italy on this one-of-a-kind, five-senses-alive, walking cooking class.
THE OVERALL EXPERIENCE
Discover one of the most vibrant ethnic neighborhoods in this country. After a brief overview of local immigrant history and a description of Italian regional foodways, you will embark on a walking tour that is like a cooking class on foot: learn about how Italians eat; glean insider cooking tips; gain resources and knowledge on how to identify and where to buy the very best ingredients. (“Old world” as they are, many of the stores we’ll be visiting sell their products online as well.) Most importantly, we’ll reveal how you can distinguish these ingredients from the thousands of “fraudulent foods” that have flooded the marketplace in recent years. Now you truly can relate to what Hippocrates proclaimed: Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.
At nearly every stop, we’ll enjoy small tastes of specific Italian food ingredients so that you may experience benchmark flavors to incorporate in your own cooking and dining adventures. As you will see, gli ingredienti veraci — authentic ingredients — are the key to la bellissima cucina italiana.
During this European-style tour, we do not visit restaurants and you will not be eating your way through the neighborhood. If your intention is to visit restaurants, this is not the tour for you. Some participants have described the tastes to be “like an antipasto to whet the appetite” while others have told us that they “were too full to eat after the tour”. Rather, our goal is to provide you with an understanding of the Mediterranean diet and methods of identifying and buying authentic Italian ingredients.
- A three-hour walking tour of the North End markets
- Tips on purchasing, cooking, and storing foods
- Tastings of specific Italian food ingredients
- A handout describing the best stores and favorite restaurants
- Historical insights into the North End community
TIMES + RATES
Standard Weekly Schedule
Wednesday & Saturday
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
2:00pm to 5:00 pm
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
3:00pm to 6:00 pm
We often add additional tours when the regularly scheduled tours are sold out. Please click here to view our latest schedule. Or please contact us via email at [email protected], or call us at 617-523-6032 to let us know what date you are interested in.
- $64.00 + 5% tax per person
- Advance tickets required: Book a Tour
- Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon ticket purchase
- Limited to 13 people per tour
All tickets sold are non-refundable and may not be exchanged or rescheduled. In the rare situation where we cancel a tour that fails to attract minimum enrollment, we will contact you ahead of time to reschedule your tickets, convert to a gift certificate, or issue a full refund, whichever you prefer. We reserve the right to limit the number of participants and to cancel a tour that fails to attract minimum enrollment. The tour is held rain or shine.
For Private/Custom Group Tour details, please click here.