Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Art and Food Tour Kicks-off Fall Season 2016 (The Palm Beach Post Part One and Part Two)

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016

Cannolis. Sugar cookies. Rainbow cookies. Rum balls. You name it.

It was one of the Boynton Beach stops on Lori Durante’s Taste History Culinary Tours. I had heard of the tour before, and have seen the news releases, but never went until my colleague Lulu Ramadan, the Post’s Delray Beach reporter, asked if I wanted to go.

I said sure, but honestly, there was a bit of hesitation. It’s between three and four hours long. That’s a long time, I thought. And on a Saturday?

But I quickly learned this history, food and arts tour is one of the best ways to spend your Saturday.

We all met Saturday at the Boynton Beach Mall and boarded a bus that fit the 20 of us. It was a sold-out event. First we hit the Delray Beach spots: Sweet’s Sensational Jamaican Cuisine CafĂ©; Cabana El Rey and The French Bakery.Then we hit the Boynton spots: Palermo’s; Hurricane Alley Raw Bar and Restaurant; the Avenue of the Arts District and the Boynton Beach Industrial Arts District.  All restaurants are family owned.

 The Palm Beach Post in the Boynton Beach Industrial Arts District
You won’t find a friendlier business owner than Sweet. Cabana El Rey has delicious food, especially the guacamole. The French Bakery has amazing focaccia bread. I fell in love with Hurricane’s pasta salad and seafood bisque. I could stare at the murals of art on Industrial Avenue all day.Lori J. Durante has been nominated for the Glass Ceiling Award by the South Palm Beach County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Among her achievements is the establishment of the Taste History Culinary Tours of Historic Palm Beach County.

The Delray/Boynton tour was the first of the fall 2016 season. Taste History is the first culinary tour in Palm Beach County, and the nonprofit was started in 2011. The tours rotate trips to West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Lantana, Delray and Boynton. The next tour is Saturday in West Palm Beach and Lake Worth.

We tasted Delray and Boynton Beach, 

and it was eye-opening…

DELRAY BEACH — Did you know Atlantic Avenue was once called Sundy Highway, named after Delray Beach’s first mayor, John Shaw Sundy? Or that Cabana El Rey on Atlantic Avenue is a family-owned restaurant?
I started covering Delray Beach about two months ago, and I think I learned more about the city in one three-hour food, art and history tour than in two months roaming this village.
Lori J. Durante , founder of Taste History Culinary Tours of Historic Palm Beach County, stands inside Palermo's Bakery in Boynton Beach, one of the stops in a cultural culinary tour of Delray and Boynton Beach. (Photo contributed)
Lori J. Durante , founder of Taste History Culinary Tours of Historic Palm Beach County, stands inside Palermo’s Bakery in Boynton Beach, one of the stops in a cultural culinary tour of Delray and Boynton Beach. (Photo contributed)
The Palm Beach Post’s Alex Seltzer, who covers Boynton Beach, and I signed up for a Taste History Culinary Tour of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, guided by Lori Durante, a prolific source of knowledge about Palm Beach County.
Taste History is Durante’s brainchild, a cultural culinary tour that takes you by air-conditioned bus to different family-owned restaurants, art districts and other local hotspots. She started the tour five years ago covering just Delray Beach, but has since expanded to cover Boynton Beach, Lake Worth and West Palm Beach.
Each tour, which is once a month in each city, is $65.
On Saturday, we joined Durante and a group of about 18 others on a tour of Delray and Boynton, with Durante narrating the long histories of each city as our bus traveled the length of the tour. Each tour is unique, as Durante chooses different family-owned eateries and art destinations each month.
I learned a great deal about my city, and met the unique people behind some popular southern Palm Beach County destinations.
Alex and I documented our experience on The Palm Beach Post’s Snapchat. You can check out the video below.
Here are some of my highlights:
Delray doesn’t end at Swinton. There’s a rich history behind the Swinton Avenue divide. This roadway once separated the white and African-American neighborhoods during the era of segregation. Now, the west portion of the city is rich with Floribbean — Florida mingled with Carribbean — cuisine and preserved African-American history, like the Spady Museum, the former home of Solomon D. Spady, a well-known educator and community leader.

There are still family-owned destinations, despite recent growth. I often hear complaints that over-development in Delray has forced out some beloved, longtime shops and restaurants. But there are new ones popping up often, like The French Bakery on Federal Highway near George Bush Boulevard. Not only is this bakery, which opened this past summer, family-owned, but it uses mostly locally sourced ingredients and sells goods from other local businesses, likeThe Delray Beach Jam Company.We visited Sweet’s Sensational Jamaican cuisine, on Southwest 5th Avenue at Atlantic Avenue. Ivet Durrant opened the small eatery three years ago, making traditional Jamaican foods from scratch every morning.

We visited The French Bakery on the tour, as well as Cabana El Rey, a family-owned chain that blends foods from several Latin American cultures, mimicking the cultural makeup of Florida.
If you’re interested in a Taste History Culinary Tour, check out the website here.
Alexandra Seltzer’s look at the Boynton Beach tour will be on line Wednesday and in print editions Thursday.

 The Palm Beach Post at Sweet's Sensational Jamaican Cafe in Delray Beach

 The Palm Beach Post - Delray Beach

The non-profit Taste History Culinary Tours of Historic Palm Beach County, Florida has been designated one of the official community event partners for the State of Florida’s Viva Florida initiative.  

The tour program includes bus riding and 4 to 6 blocks of walking. The mission of the tour includes incorporating education about food culture and food history with the food tastings thus dietary restrictions cannot be accommodated.
Taste History is sponsored, in part, by Macy’s. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Additional support for Taste History has been received from Kingston Fresh, Carl and Iris Apfel; and bequests from the late Patricia Ann Ravo and the late Boris & Edith Rueger.

Effective January 1, 2017, $50 per person is the new rate for the tours traveling to Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Lake Worth and Lantana; and  West Palm Beach.  Free for children under age 14 (children must be accompanied by a paid adult family member). Children age 14 and over pay regular price. Due to the increased operational costs and insurance an increase in our tour fees is necessary. Pre-paid reservations that have been made prior to that date will not be affected. Taste History is a non-profit educational organization. Fees are inclusive of all food and visits to cultural centers and art galleries. 

For more information, call 561-638-8277. Email tour@tastehistoryculinarytours.org 

Brief Facts about Taste History:
  • Offered year-round
  • Held on the first, second, third and fourth Saturdays at 11am
  • At least 3 to 4 locally owned and family-owned bakeries and eateries are visited for food tasting. Some cuisines may be culturally-specific.  Most food portions are hearty.
  • Cultural centers or emerging art and craft shops are visited
  • Tour travels through historic neighborhoods, downtowns, main streets and off the beaten path.
  • Bus riding and 4 to 6 blocks of walking
  • Some eating experiences are standing-only. 
  • Tour is at least 3 to 4 hours
  • Food and Florida history are narrated by a guide
  • To maintain an element of surprise, each tour is different and never an exact duplication of any previous tour hosted. 
  • Private group tours are also available during the weekday
  • Pre-payment is required. Fees are inclusive
  • Tour takes place Rain or Shine.
  • Dietary Restrictions Cannot be Accommodated. Click here to read about types of foods served on the tour.  
  • Taste History is a food tasting tour, with art and history combined, and although there is some sitting it's not a sit-down luncheon but many of the food portions are hearty and most people are full by the end of the tour.
Click here to read News Media Reviews 

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