I wish I could blame the sunny Parisian weather or constant traveling to explain my unexpected hiatus from the blog. But neither of those things have happened. In reality, I just don’t know where the time went. I am now renewing my commitment to posting more regularly because I’m just bursting with ideas for posts that includes great stories and pictures to share with you. So on that note, let me tell you about a great new Parisian experience I had the privilege to test out recently.
If you read my post about Le Food Trip a few months ago you’ll know they are a young start-up company I came across when browsing Meetup.com. At the time they were searching for “beta-tasters” for their food tours and I gladly paid the reduced price to experience the tour and provide my feedback before they officially launched. I shared it on the blog because that’s what I do… I share the cool, fun experiences I encounter in Paris and elsewhere.
Full disclosure here
They liked my completely un-sponsored post and as a thank-you invited me to test their newest product: the Tasting Passport.
I will say upfront, I didn’t have to pay for anything this time and Martin, one of the founders even said there’s no need to write a post about it. But I like sharing good stuff with you, and I enjoyed the experience so much I figured I’d write about it anyway.
So picture this…
You visit a great foodie city like Paris and want to try a variety of foods but just don’t know where to go. You are good with a map and happy to personally interact with people who love food and wine as much as you do. Maybe your Paris itinerary is full and you couldn’t fit in a 2-4 hour guided food tour.
Martin & Adrien from Le Food Trip have the answer to all those scenarios: the Tasting Passport.
It’s your personal guide to taste Paris, at your own pace, on your own time. The Tasting Passport can be purchased online and is a little booklet pointing you to 12 different food shops, spread over 3 different areas in Paris. The passport contains the shop location and opening hours, information about the owner and products and additional anecdotes. It also comes with an smartphone app to help you navigate using your phone’s GPS. With this in hand, you can walk into any of the shops listed, tell them you’re there with the Passport, present your voucher and prepare to devour French delicious-ness. From cheese to foie gras, olive oils and jam, traditional confectionery and pastries.
So how did it go
The day of the visit, I joined and met other bloggers, journalists and tourism professionals in the 7th arrondissement at the first stop: Benjamin & Nina from another cool French start-up, INSIDR. Sophie from the Paris Tourist Office. Yanique from My Parisian Life. Ariana, reporting for Girls Guide to Paris. And Courtney and Colette from GoParis.about.com.
Among the group was a production team for a French TV channel doing a news segment on food tours in Paris. To be honest, I felt a little out of my element and a intimidated. Especially when I was interviewed on camera, in my broken French (!) about my thoughts on food tours. (We’ll see if I make the cut. If so, that will be my second time on French TV! Pretty cool, huh? Either way, I’ll share it with you once it airs.)
I was quickly put at ease; the group was extremely friendly. And when you are sharing good wine and food, how can you NOT be happy and friendly!
We visited three shops in the 7th: a wine cellar, a foie gras producer, and confectionery shop. All the vendors were helpful, engaging and ready to answer our questions and share their passions. The highlight for me was discovering a regional candy product out of Provence that I had never even heard of, the Calisson.
I’m now looking forward to visiting the rest of the shops on my own soon.
Why you should try it out for yourself
The reason I love the Tasting Passport is that it’s an affordable way to discover the authentic Parisian food scene at your own pace. I would have loved something like this on our visit to Rome earlier this year. I basically tried my own do-it-yourself food tour there, but it was missing the advantages that the Tasting Passport offers: a clear map, the background information and shopkeepers who are ready to welcome and accept self-guided foodie tourists.
If you’re in Paris and happen to give this a try, let me know what you think!