Taste the City with Salem Food Tours
New tour offers participants the chance to sample Salem's culinary offerings, taste the city's roots.
Karen Scalia wants to invite you to her dinner party, and you're sure to get "a taste of history" in the process.
The Salem resident is combining her love of fresh, locally sourced food and experience as a tour guide with her new Salem-centric culinary adventure — Salem Food Tours.
Scalia said she's hopes she can help her guests see all their community has to offer and open their eyes to some places they might often pass but never had the chance to try.
"We're a really great town, especially on the food level," Scalia said. "Food shows off Salem in a really rich way like nothing else."
Scalia's "personal food journey" has included time running a restaurant in Brooklyn and a dedication to fresh foods, especially in the past 20 years. In Salem, Scalia said, she's excited about what she sees.
"The culinary food revolution is happening and Salem is a hot spot for it," she explained.
During her tours, which switch up regularly depending on season, etc., Scalia said she highlights Salem spots that have an eye for local sources and bringing fresh foods to their guests' plates. Examples include Comida, 62 and Milk and Honey (a full list of tour partners can be found here).
During tours, "chefs come out and talk to people," Scalia said. "It's not just a nibble." Curious people who really want the opportunity to get to know what's on their plate will have ample opportunity, according to Scalia.
At Scratch Kitchen (our meeting spot for the interview), for example, Scalia said "there's just a really generous spirit of wanting to source locally that I really admire. When you come in, Chef Bill will tell you the farms he's working with. That's fabulous."
And, in addition to information about the food and its preparation, Scalia said participants will have a chance to go back in time.
"I want to introduce people to Salem. We've got the spice history here. We were the kings of black pepper," Scalia explained.
Talking to Dave, the owner of the Picklepot (one of her tour partners, which specializes in spices), Scalia said "you get taken on this journey."
From the "salt on your kitchen table to the nutmeg in your pie, history hits you in the visceral way that salt sticks on your tongue. You think of the 20-plus wharves dotting the sea-line and you think about how important that port was," Scalia said of Salem's maritime spice trade history.
If you're someone interested in joining Scalia's traveling dinner party, reservations are recommended, and you can find more information on her website here.
As for her own food, tour guide and performing arts background that's brought her to this destination, Scalia said Salem Food Tours " is such a marriage of all that for me. I love it, really."