Oakland Food Tour – Rockridge Food Tour

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area on the Peninsula, Oakland was not a place I would frequent. Since moving to the East Bay three years ago, I have a new found love for the other side of the Bay and Oakland specifically.  Often I seek out trying new places each time I explore a new area. Why wouldn’t I want to see more and try an Oakland food tour? The Rockridge Food Tour is a perfect way to discover or even rediscover neighborhood gems. Lauren, the founder of Rockridge Food Tours and our guide, greeted each guest with a delicious morning bun from La Farine. What a perfect way to start the day! We started with a fun introduction of the group and our favorite foods. Of course I said cheese was my favorite. 

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Right off of Claremont avenue near the well-known Claremont Hotel is an amazing olive oil tasting and shop called Amphora Nueva. They specialize in ultra premium extra virgin olive oil and have over 80 unique products on tap. This is where I learned how to truly taste olive oil. Starting with warming it with your hands by rubbing the cup then smelling it to detect the aromas and slurping it similar to wine to get the full flavor. We tasted Arbosana Chile with peppery flavor, Hojiblanca Australia olive oil with fresh grass flavor, and Barnea Peru an organic olive oil that is very fruit forward. I took the liberty of trying a few others as people made purchases. The aged black mission fig balsamic had a great sweet flavor that would pair well with the herbs de provence extra virgin olive oil. I paid special attention to the container that the oil is stored in, which I learned is a stainless steel fusti. These are well sealed and minimize air and light exposure. After trying one last olive oil, the Baklouti Green Chile Pepper which had a spicy kick, we made our way through the neighborhood to the next stop on the tour. 

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As we continued down Claremont avenue we passed by Star Grocery which is a small and cute grocery store that is a neighborhood staple. Following our tour Mike and I even stopped by Star Grocery  to check it out for ourselves and get some sparkling wine. Our next stop was one I did not expect. Ver Brugge a local butcher shop that has been in the area of 35 years and is considered a centerpiece of the Rockridge food movement. I enjoyed the uniqueness of this stop, because the first thing I wondered is what were we going to try in a butcher shop. Lauren introduced us to their version of sous vide which they have pre-prepared as a convenience to the typical overworking professionals that make up the Bay Area. They offer such a variety including duck confit, shrimp scampi and chicken.

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Right next door is La Farine, an authentic french boulangerie. This is where the morning buns we had in the morning were from. Did I say how delicious they were? Well, they were! Walking through Rockridge I spotted some other places that I have had a my eye on and have made more mental notes to visit soon – Wood Tavern, Trappist and Cole Coffee. I loved the amount of history that was told during our tour as well. Other walking tours I have been on infrequently provided us with historic information about the area.

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la-farine-sign Getting into Oakland we arrive at Market Hall which is certainly busy on a Sunday as people prepare for the week ahead. Individual businesses make up the market, specializing either wine, fish, meat, cheese and more. The group gathered at the cheese counter where Jason, the cheesemonger, gave us a great overview their selections. At anytime the have over 250 to 300 types of cheese and 3,000 annually. Now that’s a lot of cheese! He put together our first taste, Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel with an orange/fig spread, then our second taste of Challerhocker (apline style cheese) with dried cherry. Throughout the cheese section there are surprise little samples which makes a cheese lover like me the happiest!

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 Next up – a staple to the area, Zachary’s Pizza! Yum! Then we finished it off with some Dreyer’s Ice Cream located at their headquarters which is surprisingly located on College Avenue in Oakland.

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Rockridge Food Tour offers day of discounts and coupons for the locations that are visited on the tour. They also partner with Alameda County Food Bank to donate $1 for every ticket sold to the tour. Lauren sees to it that you are satisfied with your food experience, get the history of the town and have a fun time. She is passionate about what she does and it certainly shows in her warm personality and throughout the tour. Hurry and experience it for yourself. There is a fall tour special happening. See details here.

 

Disclaimer: We were able to attend this tour as a courtesy. As always, you have our honest opinion

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