A San Fran Foodie Tour


Biscotti and sourdough -- the hallmarks of San Francisco baking!

One of the most unique things about our visit to San Francisco was the foodie tour we took of the North Beach neighbourhood. The idea was that a local expert would take us to several shops or restaurants that showcased local talent, and we would get to sample their wares and learn a bit at the same time. We started at a coffee place where we learned all about roasting coffee beans… we got to see a roaster (although it wasn’t in action at the time). Then we went to a focaccia bakery that makes ONLY focaccia. They’ve been in business since 1912, and when they’ve sold all the focaccia on any given day, they just close up shop! (Hence the business hours are a bit fuzzy).  We got to try a pizza focaccia and an olive focaccia, and both were delicious (and I don’t even like focaccia!)

The tour was three hours long, so I won’t describe every single stop, but the ones that really stuck out for me were the bakeries. We went to one that a brick oven that was originally installed in the 1890s, and it’s still in service! The bricks inside are starting to break down, but our tour guide insists that this only makes the bread taste better.

We tried italian soda, focaccia, biscotti, sourdough bread, fudge, fudge truffles, cream-filled doughnuts, olive oil and pizza. It was a very filling tour! I really enjoyed learning all about the city, it’s food, and it’s people. Even though our tour guide has an eccentric personality (and pronounced population like poppalation), I really grew to like his style.

Of course, we only walked about 6 blocks, which was not nearly enough considering how much we sampled, but it was a great way to explore North Beach!

Here is Alex in one of the bakeries we visited.

This is the brick oven. The door is teeny tiny, but inside it's huge! Our guide explained that brick ovens work so well because they maintain a constant temperature, rather than most ovens that turn on and off to keep the heat.

This is a close up of the bricks inside the oven. You can see that some are starting to degrade. Apparently a brick oven isn't any good until it's at least 20 years old.

This is a lump of sourdough. Within 3 or 4 hours, it will expand to fill this entire trough!

These breads were on display at the Boudin Bakery - look closely, they are shaped like animals!

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Posted on 07/02/2011, in travel, Travel to the States and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Oh my gosh, this sounds so fun! I’ll have to keep it in mind in case we make it to San Francisco one of these days.

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