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I always book a place on a food tour whenever I visit a new city – eating and travelling are two of my biggest passions in life. Then recently it dawned upon me that I have never taken part in one in my own home city of London. I researched some food tours online and came across a company named Sweet Tooth Tours. I loved the sound of their ‘Sugar and Spice’ tour – a morning of exploring London’s upmarket Belgravia by foot and discovering hidden foodie gems.
2023 UPDATE: Sweet Tooth Tours are permanently closed
The itinerary consists of 5 different stops over 3 hours, sampling delicious sweet and savoury snacks, whilst incorporating the history and stories of the local area. I thought this sounded like the perfect way to spend a lazy Saturday morning. I was not too familiar with the neighbourhood of Belgravia either so it was a bit of a new adventure for me!
I signed up for the tour along with my boyfriend Neil. We always feel pretty smug about how well we know the capital but this tour took us totally by surprise. We discovered new streets, mews and markets that we hadn’t even heard of before, let alone have visited!
Lynne was our guide and owner of the tour company. She was just wonderful and super friendly, and with a background as a pastry chef, she knew exactly what makes a good dessert. We were joined by one other girl visiting from Iceland for the weekend so the group size was nice and comfortable.
Our first stop and meeting point for the tour was a lovely Sardinian Italian deli. We were presented with a large sharing platter that included many of my personal food heavens. There was prosciutto ham, salami, artichoke, a selection of some hard sheep cheeses including a truffle flavoured one, dolce sardo cheese (a soft cow’s milk table cheese) and a basket with a selection of rustic breads.
If that wasn’t enough we were also handed two small pots of pasta each – one sundried tomato and mozarella with malloreddus pasta (a shape I’ve not seen before and known as Sardinian gnocchi), and the other was a vegetable giant cous cous. A small dish with strips of dried fish was placed on the table for us to try – and it was actually rather pleasant to taste!
We carried on walking further into Belgravia and stopped at a small cafe which I instantly recognised from many popular Instagram accounts. This bakery is famous for it’s very pink decor and gorgeous looking cupcakes. We waited for about 5 minutes for a table as it was fairly busy, then took a seat at one of the outdoor tables. As part of the tour we got to sample a few different flavours of cupcake – today Lynne picked ‘strawberry and champagne’, ‘salted caramel’ and ‘banoffee pie’. They all tasted dreamy, but it was the banoffee pie with the large crunchy chocolate chips that won me over.
Next we stopped by a small local market for a quick browse at the local gourmet produce. The tomatoes must be of exceptional quality as the queue to purchase them was very long!
We carried on with our walk and arrived at my favourite stop of the tour, a fine food market located in Chelsea. I was so surprised I had never heard of this place as I thought I knew all the food markets in the city. The gourmet food stalls looked incredible and I could have spent all day here eating my way around them all.
As part of the tour we got to try a canalé which is a dessert from the Bordeaux region in France. It is a small French pastry flavored with rum and vanilla with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. Neil tried a coconut flavoured one and couldn’t stop smiling for ages afterwards – it has become his new favourite dessert.
We sampled a few more items from the market – Lynne purchased half a dozen oysters and some fresh and vibrant Vietnamese summer rolls for us to try. We spent another 10 minutes browsing the rest of the market before moving on to our next stop.
The next stop of the tour was a small colourful shop with a very cool and modern interior, owned by a famous French chef who was awarded the title of ‘World’s Best Pastry Chef’ in 2016. We were here to sample macarons and started our tasting session with a blind taste test to try and identify the unusual flavours (I managed to identify one of the two). A tray of delicate little glasses with refreshing rose flavoured cold tea was presented to us to drink with a macaron of our choice.
Our final stop of the tour was a very charming cheese shop where the beautiful blocks of produce are stacked high behind the counter. One of the staff members presented us with a wooden board of small samples for us to try and explained each of them in great detail. I absolutely adore any gooey cheese so the Flower Marie we got to taste was heavenly.
The also company produce a range of their own cheese accompaniments including crackers, toast and chutney. We had a chance at the end of the tour to have a browse in the shop and anything we wanted to purchase came with a 10% tour discount (this was the same for the macaron shop too).
I wholeheartedly recommend this tour to everyone – whether you are a Londoner or just visiting. I had a really relaxed and fun 3 hours eating lots of my favourite things and walking through some of the loveliest streets in London. Lynne was the perfect tour guide and we will be revisiting some of the discoveries we made – Neil already has his eye on a return visit to the Chelsea market to taste the the coconut and banana canalés again, whilst I want to buy another half a dozen oysters to eat all to myself!
London food tour – add to Pinterest!
Disclosure: The tour places were complimentary but as always, opinions are all my own.