Eat.Walk.Talk food tours strike the perfect balance between the best of Bristolian grub, iconic sights and points of historical interest, all within a 3 hour tour – it’s the perfect new way to immerse yourself in the city, whether you’re a weekend visitor or a long-time local. Emma Payne sacrifices a morning at the office to find out more…
As I walked to the arranged meeting place, primed and ready for my first food tour, my mind was filled with terrible memories of school trips, ‘informative’ talks and tired legs from trudging behind guides at the UK’s rainiest attractions.
But the relaxed and affable Brian Iles, founder of Eat.Walk.Talk, quickly put the whole group at ease. His passion for food, garnered through travelling and extensive professional experience, immediately shone with a short introduction to street food culture and the growing popularity of tours across the world – the way was paved for our journey around the foodie highlights of Bristol’s ‘Old City’.
From Bakery to Bacon…
Brian’s thoughtful selection of restaurants, cafés and street food began with the crème de la crème of cake suppliers: Hart’s Bakery. Despite its devastatingly tempting location between the Bristol Magazine office and Temple Meads Station, I had never ventured in; a decision I began to seriously reconsider as we were presented with a generous supply of cinnamon buns and regaled with stories by owner Laura Hart.
Having bonded over the Scandinavian decadence of Hart’s buns, the tour continued at a comfortably upbeat pace. The short walks between food destinations were enhanced by Brian’s succinct, engaging historical stops: Temple Meads Train Station, St. Mary Redcliffe’s Church and Pero’s bridge, to name but a few.
After a Harbourside bacon butty and builder’s brew at Princes Pantry, the air-conditioned splendour of Swoon beckoned.
The Park Street gelateria was forthcoming with every conceivable flavour of Italian gelato and sorbet, and the enthusiasm of both Brian and the staff outshone the blistering summer sunshine. My inner child eyed the colourful displays and eagerly contributed to the conversation, in a gleeful end to the morning.
…And Cheese to Cold Brew Coffee
The afternoon centred on city staple St. Nick’s Market, the bustling atmosphere and vibrant stalls of which reinvigorated our gelato-laden group. As he led us through the crowds, Brian was more than happy to chat about all things Bristol, and the origins of his company.
‘Creating Eat.Walk.Talk food tours is a natural extension of my own passion for life in Bristol and the fantastic producers, suppliers, cafés, restaurants and bars that make up Bristol’s “foodie heaven”’. – Brian Iles, founder and tour guide at Eat.Walk.Talk
As we moved from locally produced beer at Brew Bristol to gourmet fish and chips at Source, my bulging seams caused me to wonder how I would continue the walking aspect of the tour – thankfully, reserved seating in almost every establishment meant we could rest easy (as did numerous toilet stops).
Tucked away on St Nicholas and Broad Street we came across my tour highlights – Bristol Cheesemonger and Full Court Press – neither of which had I discovered during my own exploration of the city. Rosie, the ‘Bristol Cheesemonger’, offered a charming and knowledgeable commentary as I tucked into more than my fair share of Cornish Blue and Fosseway Fleece; the other guests were equally impressed, with many lingering behind to purchase the full-sized articles.
Full Court Press provided speciality coffee in a contemporary setting
Full Court Press, the last stop on our tour, was certainly the most interesting – an introduction to cold brewing, coffee ‘cupping’ and beautifully rich Ethiopian and Columbian roasts all took place within a quirky, modern café, forming a perfect, palate-cleansing ending to our food journey. As the reality of an afternoon back at the office began to dawn I was loath to leave the Eat.Walk.Talk experience behind, although I knew I would be back at each stop – angling for more cheese samples – before the week was out.
‘Eat Walk Talk is a great way to familiarise yourself with the vibrant Bristol food scene; taking small bites of great local food and experiencing a little of Bristol’s history, culture and diversity gives you a real understanding of not just where Bristol has come from but also where it is going.’ – Brian Iles
Join the Tour
A place on an Eat.Walk.Talk tour costs £35 per person, including generous supplies of food and drink.
To book your place or to find out more, visit the website: eatwalktalkbristol.com
Words and images by Emma Payne