Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fun Playing With City Taste Tours of Louisville

We enjoyed a lovely tour of Louisville and environs with City Taste Tours. How could you not love a tour bus that shows up at your hotel decorated like this? The inside is dressed in whimsy also, but is quite comfortable.

This tour, called The “Everything” Tour, is NOT a hard core food tour. But we enjoyed it nevertheless. Our hosts, Leslie and Linda, showed us some wonderful sights that, with our mobility issues, we might not have been able to experience on our own. I loved the bus, which Leslie had fitted with a catering area at the front. Unlike some other food tours, for the most part, the food was served in the bus, together with some tantalizing alcoholic tastes (and non-alcoholic beverages also). 

Our first stop was over the bridge from Louisville into Jeffersonville, Indiana. As their website explains, "G.A. Schimpff’s Confectionery is one of the oldest, continuously operated, family-owned candy businesses in the United States. It was opened in its present location in 1891 by Gustav Schimpff Sr. and Jr."  We toured the Candy Museum and Candy Demonstration Area after tasting a couple of sweet treats.  

Candy making can be viewed through the front windows.

I believe this is Jill Schimpff, who lives in an apartment above the facility with her husband and, because they have no children, is part of the last Schimpff generation to own the business. Our tour guides said that they have other family members prepared to take the business when that time comes, even though their last name isn't Schimpff. Here, she is handing out samples of their famous Cinnamon Red Hots, which followed samples of their lovely chocolate.

Above you can see a row of hundred-year-old dies and copper pots still used in the confection making process. Simply amazing. 

They sell two sizes of this confection, which they described as marshmallow dipped in caramel (my favorite vegetable). The larger sized one is made with commercial marshmallow, but these smaller ones contain house-made. I couldn't resist getting one each for me and Bob - a taste of heaven wrapped in wax paper. There is just no comparison between fresh made-from-scratch marshmallow and packaged products. The story behind the Modjeska is related on the Schimpff's website here

Fried Green Tomato and Hush Puppy
After leaving the candy store, we toured the riverfront from the Indiana side and enjoyed these treats, from KingFish, Jeffersonville Indiana, on the bus. We drove past the restaurant too fast for me to get a good photo. We did some sightseeing at a public park nearby, then headed back across the river to Louisville. The tour offered options to get off the bus and explore either the Louisville Slugger Museum  or a Glass factory. We opted for the latter and it was ok, but let's face it, I was there for the food. 

Bristol Green Chili Wontons

If you read my last post, you know that our July 5 meal at the Bristol Bar & Grille didn't go very well. But it was the above bite that made us determined to check them out in the first place - fried wonton skins, stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese & green chilies, served with house-made guacamole sauce. This morsel was very delicious (and served up blistering hot!), and a sample of what Bristol seems to be capable of when it isn't a holiday weekend. 

After cruising some local streets while listening to lively and fun information from our hosts (including passing the Brown Hotel, inventor of the famous Hot Brown), this was our next stop - a shop specializing in bourbon-laced confections that are not your mother's bourbon balls, but a delicate bourbon-infused truffle. We each received half a truffle. 

After we pulled away from Art Edibles, we enjoyed the best bite of the tour - Hot Brown Pizza.

Yup, it's a Hot Brown on pizza dough - turkey, mornay sauce, tomato, bacon - very delicious. Though apparently a couple of places in town are making this, our hosts selected the "original" - Sicilian Pizza & Pasta on Fourth Street. 

The tour continued into the Highlands neighborhood, pointing out various sites along the way. Our stop was at Kizito Bakery, a unique African goods shop and cookie bakery. Bob and I each selected a "Lucky in Kentucky" cookie as our treat - dark Chocolate and White Chocolate mixed in with pecans. 

Leaving the Highlands, our next stop was the legendary Churchill Downs. We had about 20 minutes to wander about, then returned to the bus for this equally legendary treat:

Kern's Kitchen, Inc. Derby Pie

The pie is a chocolate and nut tart in a pie shell with a pastry dough crust. I thought I tasted pecans, chocolate chips, bourbon and caramel, but I guess the exact composition is a secret. The beverage is a refreshing mint tea.

On our way back to the Galt House from Churchill Downs, our hosts pointed out a number of very interesting sights and kept us laughing along with their good humor, even as the skies opened up and started storming again. I believe that all of the passengers were taken back to their hotels; a very tourist-friendly  policy.

If you are only interested in food and drink and not in seeing the local sights, this tour may not be for you. Bob and I, however, had a marvelous time and recommend it for fun playing with food and sights in and across the water from Louisville!

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