|Incredible Bath buns from the Thoughtful Bread Company|
The very first time I met Jennifer & heard about her idea for food tours of Bath, I was a total convert. In fact, all I could think was – why is nobody already doing this? Bath is a beautiful place for walking & discovering, and the idea of a tour with plenty of stops for eating & drinking with a bit of history & culture thrown in just seemed like a stroke of genius. So when Jennifer asked if I’d like to come along on a couple of her first tours, my answer was an immediate yes.
|Tasting Lovett Pies at the Bath Farmers Market|
To start with, Jennifer is offering two regular tours – Food Heroes of Bath, which covers the whole of the city centre and ranges from some of Bath’s most venerable & well-respected eateries to the newest & most exciting, and Local Flavours, which starts in Kingsmead Square (one of Bath’s indie business hotspots) and then proceeds with a thorough shakedown of the weekly farmers’ market in Green Park Station. You can also book tours for a private group (this would be perfect for a foodie stag or hen do) and Jennifer hopes to add a third tour focusing on Bath’s pubs in the not-too-distant future. Visit the Savouring Bath website to find out more.
I loved the idea of this tour from the get-go – Jennifer weaves together the story of the Georgian revolution in food & drink with today’s foodie trends. I don’t want to give away too many of the secrets of the tour, but we started at the very beginning, with a glass of water from the famous spring to cure all our ills, and a little introduction to the city itself. The tour then progressed through a selection of Bath’s most delicious highlights, covering everything from the careful preservation of traditional goodies the Georgians might have been familiar with (such as the classic French patisserie at the Bertinet Bakery, and the wealth of British cheeses at royal-warrant-holder Paxton & Whitfield) to exciting new ideas & twists (including a personal favourite of mine, the fabulous Chai Walla – a pocket-sized takeaway specializing in fabulous Indian street food). Jennifer is extremely knowledgeable and has plenty to share at each stop, but it’s also clear that she’s carefully chosen her stops not just for the food but for the people too – like Rob at Comin’s Teahouse, an expert on the fascinating history of tea, and James at Hunter & Sons (formerly Colonna & Hunter), the final stop, who guided us through a great beer tasting, matching each one with cheeses from Paxton & Whitfield.
|Jennifer in full swing, at the Thoughtful Bread Company|
I had started to write that this tour gives you a flavor of what it’s like living in Bath as a resident, but I must admit, I’ve lived here ten years and it still opened up some new discoveries for me. It starts with coffee & cake, from the Bath Coffee Company & the Thoughtful Bread bakery respectively, and then progresses through Bath’s weekly farmers’ market, which is a sumptuous spread of everything from fruit & vegetables, game & fresh fish, and homemade bread, to artisan chocolates, local apple juice and souped-up Scotch eggs. Although I’ve visited the market many times before, it was great to go with Jennifer, who has a lovely rapport with the traders. At each stall there was something different to nibble, before a short shopping break for us to go back & purchase our favourites. Finally, the tour ended at the nearby Bath Brew House, with a quick tour of their onsite brewery followed by a tasting of some of their most popular beers, soaked up with sizzling platters of sausages made in their onsite smokehouse.
By now, you’ve probably picked up that I really enjoyed both tours – Jennifer definitely knows her stuff and has a lovely friendly presentational style, and the routes she has put together work really well. Food Heroes covers quite a lot of ground, yet the way the stops are organized means there’s never far to walk each time, and in both tours, a good balance is struck between seeing (and eating and drinking) plenty whilst keeping a relaxed pace. All in all, I think Savouring Bath is a brilliant way to experience the city, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Just make sure you skip breakfast so you have room to try everything.