*we received a complimentary tour in return for honest feedback. I wasn’t asked to specifically write this post
I’ve worked with Triple A tours a few times now and am a big fan. They’re Newcastle and Ouseburn food tours really are something special and two things I recommend time and time again to locals and visitors alike. I know Amy was nervous about expanding into Durham but to me, it felt like a natural progression.
For somewhere that’s only 10 minutes down the road on the train it’s amazing we don’t go more often. That’s why we were really honoured to be invited to test run the new Taste of Durham tour, seeing as we were pretty much guaranteed to be trying places we’d never been before.
The tour kicks off in Durham Market just off the main square and we were in safe hands with Durham local Julie, who speaks passionately about her home city – I could listen to her talk all day! Within the small but perfectly formed market we sampled locally made cheese, authentic Turkish Delight and Turkish apple tea after which things got a little boozy (whey hey!) with rum made in Yorkshire, saki and a local Durham IPA.
Next was across to the newly developed Riverwalk and to Old Toms Gin Bar. Honestly this is somewhere you could spend hours and hours looking at all the quirky décor alone. Not to mention they have over 260 different gins to sample, it’s a session pub for sure! We had a very bountiful charcuterie board and were able to chat with the very experienced mixologists as we chose what gin and tonic combo we wanted. I’ve always been a big lemon gin fan, so was really excited to hear they had a lemon gin which was likened to Fanta Limon (the ultimate taste of holidays is it not?) mixed with lemon and elderflower tonic it really was the perfect refreshing summer drink.
A short walk up past the cathedral (can you do any kind of Durham tour without passing this stunning building?) it was on to Barrio Comida. Those native to Newcastle may remember they used to have a pop up kitchen at River Brew and have now expanded and opened a full restaurant in Durham where everything, down to the tortillas are made from scratch.
Dave and I are massive mexican food fans so this was absolutely the best stop on the tour for us. The fact they do Lindisfarne oysters with their own green chilli salsa is inspired (and they were really tasty!) and the flavours in the prawn tostadas and chicken tacos were probably the most authentic I’ve tasted outside of our holiday to San Diego in 2009. The north east is crying out for good mexican food, and I pray Barrio Comida will open a venue there soon however we’ll just have to venture down to Durham in the meantime until then because we will be back for sure!
We also got to try any drink of the menu so I went for a grapefruit juice and tequila cocktail which fabulous. I’m going to have to buy some grapefruit juice and try and recreate that at home I reckon!
Final stop was for something sweet and found us in the Cellar Door which is a lovely stylish bisto overlooking the river for pudding and wine. I went for the Millionaires chocolate shortbread with honeycomb and cherry ice cream whilst Dave had the Lemon Meringue pie washed down with a large glass of pinot grigio.
There’s a reason why Amy has won a Gold North East Tourism Award for best new business this year. These food tours are impeccably put together and get the balance of food and history spot on. The food you get is plentiful and for the £65 price tag, it works out as exceptional value for money (the dessert and glass of wine alone in the Cellar Door would cost £19).
The only thing I told Amy I would change about our tour would be, and I can’t quite believe I’m saying this, is to reduce the amount of cheese on the menus. You sample local cheese first and then lots of cheese on the charcuterie board at Old Toms, it was a bit much, especially at lunchtime. I’ve since been told that the cheese has been replaced with sardines, which makes perfect sense since Old Tom’s also own Tin of Sardines, the smallest gin bar in the North East and is just round the corner on Elvet Bridge.
Check out availability and book a tour of gift voucher for yourself on the Triple A website.