Before Jen and I left for Madrid, I asked my roommate Rhi for recommendations. She studied abroad in Madrid and has been back several times since. I knew I had made the right decision in domestic life partner when all she could talk about was the food. She even still had photos on her phone from her last trip.
So when Jen asked if I wanted to do a food tour in Madrid, it was a hard yes. She was a bit more hesitant, reasoning that we would already be eating our way through the city on our own. I could see her logic, given how much we eat abroad (and there *will* be a separate Madrid Menu post, fret not), but when she sent me the Madrid Food Tour website, I knew this was something we had to do. The only question was which one? The "Tapas, Taverns, and History Tour," the "Ultimate Spanish Cuisines Tour," or the "Huertas Neighborhood Food and Market Tour?" Given that we were staying in Huertas and the tour included cheese, we opted for the third choice (no really, cheese was a huge factor).
The Madrid Food Tours are part of the Devour Spain food tour group. I basically love these people. They're made up of people who recognize that eating great food is a huge part of good travel, and I kind of wish we had known about them when we went to Barcelona. I've never done a food tour before (how is this even possible?!), but I think what makes this food tour group special is that they focus on less touristy spots, and introduce you to locals, telling you their stories and backgrounds.
Also, they were super organized. In fact, in the info they e-mailed Jen before the morning of our tour, they made sure to tell us that we would *not* be starting with coffee, so if we wanted coffee, we had better get it beforehand. This is vital information, so Jen and I planned on grabbing coffee at a place we saw nearby the starting spot, Plaza Santa Ana.
Unfortunately, we are bad at navigating with maps and without GPS on a good day. We are utterly hopeless without proper levels of caffeine coursing through our veins. And even though Plaza Santa Ana is huge, close by our hotel, and we were there visiting a jazz club the evening before, we still couldn't find it, and by the time we arrived we were late and hadn't had a drop of coffee.
Luckily, we weren't the latest (in fact, we weren't even the second-to-last to arrive), and our guide was completely chill about it. In fact, Mette was pretty awesome all around. A student from Denmark, Mette spoke perfect English and Spanish, was incredibly knowledgeable, super friendly, and obviously a foodie. Loved her.
So besides all the good things I've already mentioned about this food tour, the walking aspect of it is great for getting the lay of the land -- you know, if you aren't directionally challenged. If you ARE directionally challenged...well hey, it makes for some good photo ops!