Take a delectable walk through Salem’s culinary scene.
There’s no better way to spend a delicious afternoon than to take one of Karen Scalia’s culinary walks around this historic North Shore town. Whether you are a hardcore foodie or someone who just loves tasting great food, Salem Food Tours is well worth the $54. Scalia’s impeccable palate will take you to some of Salem’s hidden treasures as well as some tried-and- true restaurants.
On a recent tour, guests enjoyed the following stops (all tours are unique and boutique):
Stop 1 Jean Louis Pasta Shop We sampled Jean’s to-die-for homemade saffron ravioli stuffed with fresh lobster meat drenched in his signature vodka sauce. Jean Louis’s has customers lining up at the door on Saturdays to take away his handmade raviolis stuffed with creative culinary ingredients.
Stop 2 Ye Olde Pepper Companie America’s oldest candy company opened in the early 19th century sells some of the sweetest treats on the North Shore. The shop manager Amanda has worked at the shop since she was 15 and knows her candies. She offered us three mouthwatering chocolates: fudge with white chocolate center; peanut butter melt-away (made with local Teddy’s peanut butter); and coconut almond delight. To sum up the experience in a word—yum!
Stop 3 Brodie’s Seaport was recently taken over by Joel Votto. Chef Mike Pistorio prepared freshly made Maryland-style crab cakes. Sourcing local seafood, Pistorio puts lots of care into every handmade dish and his crab cakes are some of the best I’ve ever tasted!
Stop 4 Salem Spice Proprietor David Bowie offered a tasting of 12 different salts from around the world—including local Atlantic Saltworks. We also tasted exotic spices and learned about Salem’s spice trade history. Salem-based ecotarian and vegetarian baker Jodi Bradbury of Jodi Bee Bakes was on deck with samples of her delicious baked goods—vegan chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, macaroons dipped in chocolate, and vanilla cake with strawberry—she makes at Kitchen Local in Amesbury.
Stop 5 Scratch Kitchen is where chef Bill Fogarty sources New England’s seasonal produce, dairy, meats, and fish for his regionally inspired dishes. He created a plate of homemade house pickles, hand-cut organic Maine potatoes with bacon dusting, Gloucester skate on homemade toast with homemade tartar sauce, and spring cream pea soup topped with smoked spiced ham.
Stop 6 Salem Wine Imports We took a mini break from the culinary delights and got our palates ready to taste two Italian wines: a Tuscan white called Sensi and an organic red—Nero d’Avola—from Sicily. Both were superb and we were surprised when the price was revealed—both were under $13.
Stop 7 Milk & Honey Green Grocer Owner Sharon Driscoll prepared beautiful cheese plates of locally sourced Grafton Village cheddar, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery goat’s milk, and Bayley Hazen Blue by Jasper Hill paired with grapes, Effie’s Sea Salt & Lavender crackers, Spanish Marcona almonds, and marinated olives. You’ll find a variety of other locally sourced items in her gourmet shop.
Stop 8 Aroma Sanctum Owner Akuura allowed us to indulge in her divine custom-blended natural essential oils.
Stop 9 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar Chef Tony Bettencourt invited us into his pristine kitchen to demonstrate how he prepares a delicious spring dish, which includes homemade pasta “rags,” preserved lemon, homemade breadcrumbs, asparagus, olive oil, and whipped ricotta. Manager Jeremy paired it with a delicious Domaine du Tariquet Ugni Blanc. www.salemfoodtours.com
Preserved lemons courtesy of Restaurant 62’s chef Tony
1 gal. water
1 c. salt
¼ c. sugar
2-3 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole black peppercorns
Approximately 12 lemons, cut down the center
Place lemons in a pot with all ingredients. Cover and simmer for two hours. Let cool, then refrigerate (can keep for years in the brine).
Note: When ready to use, scrape out the flesh and use the skins, finely minced, for vinaigrette or cut into larger pieces and add to a stew.