A toothsome tour of the town

By on July 12, 2017

Hungry for local flavor?

Then dig into the new “Come Eat Lititz” jaunt, sponsored by Lancaster County Food Tours, for a seven-course meal along Main and Broad streets.

This adventure takes foodies on a tasty trip of wine, beer, barbecue, olive oil, chocolate and pretzels. A food tour in Lititz must have chocolate and pretzels.

On a recent Friday morning, the Record Express joined one of these excursions, which is really a three-hour cruise from food stop to food stop. Paul Anater was the guide. He’s a chef and food fanatic who has taught culinary classes at Zest! in Lititz.

The tourists on this particular trek were Tom and Traci Mahn, and Esther Mooney, all from Carlisle, who decided to take a road trip to Lititz.

“I’ve been through Lititz, but never stopped,” Tom said. “When we heard about the food tour, we were sold.”

The first destination was the Bulls Head Public House at the General Sutter Inn, where Anater recounted the story of Gen. John Augustus Sutter, who settled in Lititz in 1870 and spent the final decade of his life seeking restitution for the land and fortune he lost to the swarming prospectors of the California Gold Rush. A painting of the stoic general that hangs in the hotel lobby peered at the tour group as they waited for their first bite of Lititz cuisine, the Scotch egg.

This blue-collar pub snack is served in the authentic British style of the Bulls Head. A hard-boiled egg enveloped in layers of sausage and breadcrumbs is deep fried to golden crispiness and served with traditional HP (a brown sauce named after London’s Houses of Parliament) or a red pepper sauce. It garnered a thumbs-up as a savory morning treat. There would be sweets later.

It was still morning when the group set off for the Waltz Vineyards tasting room, just a few doors away from the pub. Who ever said drinks are for after noon?

Three pours featured a smooth Chardonnay, the rich Baron Red, and the delicate Stiegel Rosé. Tom liked the red, Esther was partial to the white, and Traci liked them all.

After three friendly toasts, the tour set off for Olio Olive Oils & Balsamics on South Broad Street, where everyone was floored by the vast selection. With hundreds of choices at the ready, they sampled a variety of flavors ranging from the popular white balsamic with lemon to a new olive oil imported from Portugal.

Shop owner Joe Desimone guided them through his 104 oils and balsamics, 75 salts, 40 honeys, and other items like cookbooks, pasta, kitchenware, and serving sets.

Anater suggested that everyone sip from tiny plastic cups.

“If you use your finger to dip, you won’t get the full flavor,” he said.

Following his lead, they sampled blood orange balsamic, blackberry balsamic, Spanish blend olive oil, truffled olive oil, Greek olive oil, and rich chocolatey balsamic (a perfect topping for ice cream).

“We will have to come back here after the tour,” Esther said.

From Olio, the merry band traveled east to the Sturgis Pretzel House, where they rolled their own salty snacks in the historical home of America’s first commercial pretzel bakery, founded by Julius Sturgis in 1861 when pretzels were known as bretzels.

Next, it was time for something sweet, and Sugar Whipped Bakery on East Main was just the ticket.

The shelves are filled with tempting cupcakes in flavors like salted caramel, raspberry chocolate and deep chocolate fudge, along with homemade marshmallows, cupcake pops and more.

The tour focused on whoopie pies, moist cake layers filled with chocolate buttercream, chocolate peanut butter and banana, or peanut butter chocolate chip.

By this time the wine buzz was wearing off, so the tour group sought a cold one at JoBoy’s Brew Pub. And what goes better with a locally-brewed craft beer than barbecue? A JoBoy’s smoked slider — pork, brisket, or chicken — makes an ideal companion.

The last stop would be fittingly iconic for a Lititz tour.

“We heard that Lititz was all about chocolate,” Traci said as the group moved toward the Wilbur candy store. “We needed to try a Wilbur Bud.”

Or two, or three, or four.

“This was a great idea,” Tom said. “So glad we came.”

That was what Lancaster County Food Tours founder and president Philip Hiestand had in mind when he started the company, which also runs a Lancaster City tour. A world traveler who served in the U.S. Navy, Hiestand believes that food has a lot to do with the character of a town.

He likes to keep the tour groups small, usually less than a dozen. That gives people a chance to visit with each other, sample food and drink, and take in the sights. They can go shopping after the tour and bring a taste of Lititz back home with them.

The “Come Eat Lititz” food tour is held 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. The tour starts at the Lititz Welcome Center, at the entrance of Lititz Springs Park. The cost is $49 for ages 21 and up, and $39 for ages 12 to 20. For information or to make reservations, call 473-4397 or visit lancofoodtours.com.

Laura Knowles is a local freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com.



One Comment

  1. Lisa Radinovsky

    July 12, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    How interesting! As a native of Lancaster County now living in Crete, Greece, I am not surprised by the pretzels and chocolate, but I had no idea Lititz hosted a store that featured so many types of olive oil! It’s wonderful to hear that has come to Lancaster County! How long has that shop been there? Readers interested in learning more about olive oil can see my website, the fruit of over two years’ research into the Greek olive oil world (with recipes, photos from Greece, news from the Greek olive oil world, and some agrotourism suggestions); see http://www.greekliquidgold.com for more. (I do not sell anything; it is an informative site.)

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