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“Zesty fun”

Zest Food Tours of Auckland
Ranked #35 of 77 Food & Drink in Auckland
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Owner description: Experience gourmet walking tours in Auckland with the highly regarded Zest Food Tours. Sightseeing with great food and a friendly knowledgeable tour guide, Zest tours are a great introduction to the food, culture and sights of the city. 'A real hit with foodies' (2010 Frommer's Guide). Zest tours take you to taste the best food and meet the passionate producers behind them, at places the locals know and love, in small exclusive groups. ....because the best way to discover a new place and its culture is through its food & wine.
Reviewed 2 August 2012

We had a thoroughly enjoyable time on our Zest Tour and learnt and saw so much. As a resident of Auckland, but not resident or working in the city for many years we found out so much about the place and saw new areas that had been developed. We enjoyed the food that we were offered and i personally had enough to keep me going until dinner. We loved the markets we visited and the tastings and the food of our choice that was bought for us. The walk through to the fish markets was interesting as we had not been around this area before and our platter there was worth the walk.
All in all thanks for an awesome time, it was like just popping out with an old friend! We are thinking of trying the Ponsonby one at some stage

Thank Lynda G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kerrys58, Director at Zest Food Tours of Auckland, responded to this reviewResponded 9 August 2012

Thanks so much for your review of our Auckland City Tastes tour.
It means a lot to hear you enjoyed yourselves and felt like you were being looked after all the way.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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41 - 43 of 43 reviews

Reviewed 1 March 2012

Auckland's food scene is still evolving. As a friend here recently said, "There are still a lot of guys in Auckland who think a nice meal out is a sausage, some chips, and a cheap beer."

But as the foodie scene -- and foodie tourism in particular -- become better integrated on the "shaky isles," New Zealanders are embracing more adventurous cuisine. And wherever a foodie scene begins to blossom, so do foodie tours, like the one we took today with Zest Food Tours of Auckland.

Like similar tours we've taken all over the planet (in Seattle, in Lisbon, in Brussels, in Barcelona), this Kiwi version of the tour combines ambulatory sight-seeing with gustatory thrill-seeking. It works like this: your tour guide leads you from eatery to eatery, explaining what makes each stop unique. In addition to giving you an opportunity to sample the eats, the tour gives you the opportunity to meet and interact with the people who are doing the cooking or running the restaurant. As a result, you tend to meet people who are very passionate about the wares they're selling.

While we liked today's tour, we'd have to say that this was the first foodie tour we've taken that involved more walking than eating. So much so, in fact, that I'd advise Zest to amend their advertising: instead of a "walking and eating tour," this one really should be described as a WALKING! (and tasting) tour. You shouldn't leave a foodie tour feeling peckish, and today, when I got home, I felt compelled to eat half a bag of Tim Tams. Not a good sign.

We started off at a local coffee shop, downing flat white coffees and remarkably good date and orange scones. I'm not big into scones; in the states, they tend to be dry and tasteless. But at the Shaky Isles coffee shop near Fort Street on Princes Wharf, the scones were moist and crumbly, and the bits of dates and orange made for an appealing combination. The berry muffin, though, was bland as could be: a little dry, and not sweet enough. After only a pinch or two, we left it on the plate.

From there, we tried Devonport Chocolates -- handmade truffles, filled candies, and bars infused with local flavors. We were given half a truffle each (!) along with a large chocolate caramel and a plastic shot glass of creamy hot chocolate. The samples were delicious, and the chocolates were fresh. Still, given that our truffle had been sawed in half and the caramels were actually out for public tasting today, we left feeling the folks at the chocolate shop were a bit stingy with us.

Next, we walked for about twenty-five days before coming to the Fish Market. There's lots to see here: from cases of live, freshly-prepared, and frozen fish to aisles and aisles of local products. Our guide, a chef by training, was knowledgable about them all, and that was satisfying ... but, once again, the samples were not.

We were, after all, at a seafood market. Would you expect the samples served to be crackers, cheeses, kiwi fruit, anzac biscuits, and spreads? (Okay, okay -- there was a bit of smoked fish on the platter ... but not much.) Again, the food was good, but the portions were very small ... and it seemed odd to spend so much time talking about how delightful and rare New Zealand green-lipped mussels are ... and then be served a bit of brie.

From there, we walked about four hundred and thirty days to our lunch date -- Euro, a swanky waterfront joint owned and operated by a New Zealand Iron Chef. Given the option of a caesar or a calamari salad, we took Option Two, and were rewarded with a surprising and beautiful combination of greens, fresh seafood, and dates. Following our little salad course, we jumped right to dessert: a modest little blueberry crumble, served in a cocktail glass and topped with a bit of handmade vanilla ice cream.

All in all: nice. Just ... nice. If you're shopping around for a foodie tour of Auckland, I would say the one operated by Zest is ... nice. Our guide was nice. She introduced us to nice people. We had some nice samples. We had a nice chat. And our tour gave us a nice overview of the Quay Street area. (Lots of it, in fact. We covered a lot of ground. A. Lot. Of. Ground.) But still -- we left hungry, and that, I think, is a bit unpardonable when one is on a foodie tour, yes?

(And before you say it: no, I'm not one of those horrible Americans who eats at Cheesecake Factory and thinks every meal should be a buffet. On this and other tours, I've been quite happy with tiny servings of really good food. The problem with the Zest tour, I think, is that the ratio of walking and talking to tasting and savoring is not quite right. My verdict: you could pretty easily put this walk together for yourself, and, in the process, get a bit more to eat while spending less.

1  Thank MadeByMark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kerrys58, Director at Zest Food Tours of Auckland, responded to this reviewResponded 7 March 2012

...Thank you for your review on our Auckland City Tastes tour. We do appreciate your feedback about the nice guides and the nice tour, but our aim is to offer a tour that guests find truly fantastic and so we would like to address the not so positive feedback also, some of which we take on board, and some which needs correcting, so that guests reading the review have an accurate picture of the tour

Our goal is always to take our guests on an intimate and authentic tour. Our local guides are passionate foodies who share their love and knowledge of what Auckland has to offer and the foodie places we visit provide some extra special service as well as informing our guests about their businesses as we taste their wares.

We do take on board your comments and will continue to work to improve the experience.

However we would also like to correct a couple of points:

Regarding the walking time, as we mention on our website there is a total of 45 minutes during our four hour tour and this is made up of 5 to 10 minute strolls between our stops where we take in all the sights of the three foodie precincts to show off the great array of cafes, bars and restaurants..
We have chosen this particular area as it demonstrates how Auckland has come into its own as a dining destination for food lovers. We have re-checked the walking time to make sure that this is accurate.

At the chocolaterie we have three chocolate tastings and on this day you were, in addition to the usual three tastings, also offered the customers’ tasting of their truffle log which needs to be sliced into bite sized pieces.

Our platter at the market we visit, includes salmon and snapper pates, all made fresh each day from their market kitchen as well as in-house smoked salmon, seasonal fruits and regional cheeses. A glass of either fruit juice or regional wine is included so we are catering to all tastes hopefully. Our aim here is to give our guests a tasting of all that this fresh seafood and boutique food market is about.

Thanks again for your feedback, we do appreciate it.
Kind Regards

Kerry, Director, Zest Auckland

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Reviewed 11 July 2011

Ponsonby Gourmet Food tour is a wonderful way to explore, enjoy, taste and discover this interesting inner city suburb that has a fascinating history and is a foodies delight! During our guided half day tour I sampled gourmet delights, heard some quirky local stories and met enthusiastic business owners/managers. It was a marvellous introduction and luckily for me I have the opportunity to return to repeat some of the delicious food experiences and retail delights!
Thank you Kerry and Zest for a fun, informative and tasty morning excursion!
Meg

1  Thank mjszea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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