[As of the summer of 2016, it appears that Walks of New York has suspended the Batali tour but guests are still able to take other tours, including a popular Met Express tour and a 9/11 Tour.]
Talk about fun and foodie-licious. Tour company Walks of New York --- an offshoot of the very popular Walks of Italy --- is offering a Mario Batali inspired walking tour, built in conjunction with the celebrity chef.
The tour is centered in Greenwich Village, home to several of Batali's popular restaurants, including the acclaimed Babbo.
Jason Spiehler, co-owner of Walks of New York, explained that they created the Mario Batali tour partly because of their extensive experience in Italian food and culture through their Walks of Italy tours. Jason said, "When we began creating itineraries for New York, we were attracted to Chef Batali as a leading figure in the 'Italian food' space, for the quality of his restaurants and deep knowledge of the Italian culinary tradition. Like us, he spent many formative years working and living in Italy." Chef Batali and his team worked with Walks of New York to develop the tastings, themes, and discussion points on the tour.
The tour is designed to follow the course of an ordinary Italian meal, with tastings of antipasti, oils and breads, entrees, and dessert. Guides will include descriptions and information about Greenwich Village, as well as background on Mario Batali's philosophy and food culture.
Batali particularly emphasizes the importance of seasonality and quality in his ingredients. He has said, "Shop often, shop hard, and spend for the best stuff available - logic dictates that you can make delicious food only with delicious ingredients." Of course, Chef Batali is a busy man but Spiehler hopes that he may make a few guest appearances.
The tour begins with a sampling of antipasti, including cheeses, salami, and bruschetta, at Otto Pizzeria and, then, continues on to visit some of the chef's favorite Italian producers and grocers including: Raffetto's, a pasta making factory; O & Co., an olive oil and balsamic vinegar purveyor; and the famous Italian deli Faicco's. The tour stops in at Lupa to try Batali's signature ricotta gnocchi and then to Grom for gelato. Kirsten Alana, a guide for Walks of New York, explained that the tour has a perfect balance of both history and delicious food, and even New York locals will appreciate the in-depth look at lesser known Italian stores.
The Batali Greenwich Village tour is offered three days per week and costs $64 per person, which includes all of the tastings. For more information, see the Walks of New York website. [As of the summer of 2016, it appears that Walks of New York has suspended the Batali tour but guests are still able to take other tours, including a popular Met Express tour and a 9/11 Tour.]