San Francisco Food and Wine Tours

Taste your way around a city of constant reinvention

San Francisco has always been the place to be on America’s west coast. Everywhere you look you’re surrounded by iconic landmarks, from the Golden Gate bridge shrouded in fog to the mysterious prison island of Alcatraz. This city has a reputation for relentless reinvention and, in many ways, that's borne out of necessity. Three-quarters of the city was destroyed by fire and earthquakes in 1906, and out of the rubble a thriving, modern sanctuary has emerged, bubbling with energy and determined to live every day to the full. San Francisco is a world within itself, with neighbourhood microclimates, more hills than you can count, and spectacular Pacific views providing a dramatic backdrop for visitors from all over the world.

You can bet that any city determined to live this well is going to eat well too. San Francisco has the most restaurants and farmers markets per capita in North America, and keeps its stocks of meat, fruit and vegetables high with help from local organic farms. The city also has a history with alcohol. After making a name for itself as a go-to in the days of the Wild West, drinking was driven underground in the 1930s with Prohibition. These days San Francisco’s Wine Country and independent brewers more than make up for the dry years; the world famous Napa Valley is just a short drive away.

Being within touching distance of the Pacific Ocean has its advantages, and from a culinary point of view, most of these can be found at Fisherman’s Wharf, a neighborhood packed with fish restaurants and seafood stands. The Dungeness crab is a local favourite. Aside from seafood, there are many other gastronomic treats iconic in San Francisco. Sourdough bread was first popular with miners during the gold rush and is still eaten across the state, while another legacy of that era is the Hangtown fry, made up of scrambled eggs, oysters, and bacon. Mission burritos were invented here in the 1960’s in the Mission district, and are characterised by their large size and the addition of rice and other ingredients. Such was their popularity that they soon spread throughout the US and indeed Europe.

Another treat to try for foodies with a sweet tooth is an ice cream sandwich. A small package of vanilla ice cream pressed between two oatmeal cookies and covered with chocolate - how could you resist? They were first invented in 1928 and are now sold in any corner shop in the Bay.

Steam Beer is believed to have first been brewed on rooftops in the cool San Francisco climate. Rather than steam, the surrounding fog was likely to have naturally cooled the fermenting beer, but the nickname still stuck. Its distinctive flavour and deep amber colour pay homage to this unique brewing process and many years of San Fran history in the process. If wine is more your thing, then vintages from the world renowned Napa Valley are served all over the city. Enjoy a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and watch the world go by.  

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