By Andrea Pyros
On the tour: Sunflower Cafe's signature Sunflower Salad. Photo: Jennifer Brizzi.
You may think you’ve got your farmers’ market and post-farmers’ market lunch game down, but Jennifer Brizzi, owner and operator of Hudson Valley Food Tours (HVFT)
, believes there’s much more we can learn about our region’s food scene. With her Culinary Crawls walking tours of Hudson Valley hotspots, Brizzi has devoted herself to bringing people who love to eat and explore, together with the people growing and producing our area’s amazing food, to the benefit of both.
Raven & Boar Farm offers samples at Rhinebeck Farmers Market. Photo: Jennifer Brizzi.
It was last spring when Brizzi, a Rhinebeck local and professional food writer, launched Culinary Crawls in Rhinebeck. She’d take small groups to the outdoor farmers’ market where she’d arranged for them to speak with farmers and vendors. Then her tour would continue on through the village to visit restaurants and shops, including stops at Krause's Chocolates
, Smoky Rock BBQ
She envisioned it as a way for people to meet and interact with each other, to sample amazing food and, most central to her vision, to allow her guests to learn from the people making and serving the food. “I love to travel," Brizzi says. “I wanted to create a traveling experience for people, so they get to know the culture of the Hudson Valley area, and so they can immerse themselves in it and talk to people and experience the area in a way you can’t if you stay in a chain hotel and eat in a chain restaurant."
Her Rhinebeck Crawls were so successful that, this spring, Hudson Valley Food Tours will expand to offer walking Crawls in Hudson and Beacon. Brizzi has hired Pete Ramos, a Culinary Institute grad, to run the Rhinebeck tours, and she plans to staff up in other locations as well. She’s also begun arranging longer Savor/Art & Food Tours, where food and beverage tasting stops will mix with stops at art galleries and centers, so guests can meet artists and even share meals with them.
HVFT president Jennifer Brizzi and Dutchess Tourism vice president Lydia Higginson on the Crawl. Photo: Camryn Lomicky.
Even if you’re familiar with the area’s food and art scene, Brizzi promises something new and interesting, and she welcomes guests from near and far.
Hudson Valley Food Tours
Crawls in Rhinebeck, Beacon & Hudson
Art & Food Tours in Poughkeepsie, Rondout Valley & Millerton
Private tours also available upon request.