Do you consider yourself a genuine “foodie”? Are you the type of person that makes reservations months in advance to dine at a critically-acclaimed restaurant on opening night? If so, we’ve got just the thing for you. Check out these seven experiences designed for the ultimate foodies that go beyond the restaurants to provide a hands-on, behind-the-scenes approach to the plate.
Virginia Oyster Academy at the Tides Inn—Irvington
Located on the Virginia Oyster Trail, The Tides Inn offers the Virginia Oyster Academy, an experiential course on the Chesapeake Bay oyster. The academy begins with a lesson on the history of Virginia’s oyster industry, the ecology of the Bay, and the tools of the harvest. After your formal education, you’ll accompany a traditional Virginia waterman on a one-hour boat excursion to harvest oysters straight from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Once you’ve collected the fresh oysters, head back to the Tides Inn, where Head Chef T.V. Flynn will teach you how to properly shuck an oyster and expertly pair your half-shell feast with wines and sauces. While the main season for the oyster academy begins in September, the Tides Inn can set you up with a local waterman to learn about harvesting crabs, another Chesapeake Bay delicacy.
Waterman Sportfishing—Virginia Beach
Waterman Sportfishing in Virginia Beach is the ultimate fisherman’s tour, with a 57-foot charter boat taking you out on the Atlantic Ocean for a deep sea fishing excursion. Afterwards, you’ll bring your catch back to Waterman’s Surfside Grille to have it prepared for you by their chefs, creating the freshest seafood feast possible. And don’t miss out on the restaurant’s signature Orange Crushes, made with fresh squeezed orange juice!
Real Richmond Food Tours—Richmond
Real Richmond Food Tours lead a variety of walking tours through Richmond’s historic neighborhoods for a taste of the local art, history, and of course, notable Richmond restaurants. Tours last about two and a half hours and are at most a little over a mile in length, giving you the chance to work up an appetite without wearing yourself out. Try the “Fan of the Food” tour, which showcases Richmond’s street art pieces along Main and Cary Street in the Fan district while stopping in to some of the neighborhood’s best local eateries. They also offer tours around Shockoe Slip, the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, the University of Richmond campus, Historic Church Hill, Scott’s Addition, and several other food-centric neighborhoods of the capital city. Custom foodie tours are available for those that have select restaurants and regions already in mind.
Steve Haas Wild Mushroom Forays—Richmond
Forage for wild mushrooms in thousands of acres of old growth hardwoods around Richmond with Steve Haas Wild Mushroom Forays. Book a tour with a group, or arrange for an individual mushroom hunt for a more customized experience. You’ll receive an education on the edible mushrooms typically found in the woods and ideas for gourmet culinary delights you can craft from your fungus finds.
Pleasure House Oyster Farm Chef’s Table Tour—Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach visitors can learn about about the oyster and dine right in the water during the Pleasure House Oyster Farm Chef’s Table Tour. You’ll start the tour with a guided boat ride to the Pleasure House Oyster Farm, where you’ll stand knee-deep in the Lynnhaven River (with waders, of course!) and dine on a specially prepared menu that includes the Lynnhaven Oysters harvested from the waters beneath you. Bring your own wine along to savor the oysters with your favorite Virginia vintage as you enjoy the open air of a truly one-of-a-kind dining venue. As you eat, the waterman will teach you about the oyster ecosystem, the local waterways, and the environmental impact their work has on Virginia’s waters.
Charlottesville Evening Delight Food Tour—Charlottesville
Charlottesville Evening Delight Food Tour is a two-and-a-half hour walking tour that lets you taste and learn about the history, architecture, food, and culture of Charlottesville. The tour includes food samples from the best restaurants in town, all for one price. The tour covers approximately one mile and features five restaurant stops along the route, where you’ll try the restaurant’s most mouth-watering dishes paired with a local wine or craft beer. Private tours are available for groups looking to customize their Charlottesville food and history experience.
Virginia Watermen’s Heritage Tour Program—Gloucester, Irvington, and other Bay Locations
Get out on the Chesapeake Bay with the Virginia Watermen’s Heritage Tour Program, a tour series that highlights the local history, culture, and flavors of the tidewater area. Many different tours are available, including trips out on the water to catch your own crabs, tong for oysters, or fish the waters of the Chesapeake, and each tour provides you the opportunity to taste fresh seafood straight from your catch. Customizable tours let you stay out on the water for however long you desire, from a few short hours to a full day on the Bay.
Whether exploring the waters, woods, or streets of Virginia, these foodie experiences offer a whole new look at the Commonwealth’s impressive culinary scene. Book a tour today and dive into the edible delights that make Virginia a foodie paradise!