Salem’s So Sweet!

Ah, the romance of February! Good food, wine and chocolate warm us as we celebrate our loved ones. And beautiful Salem – with a blanket of snow – couldn’t be a prettier or a more perfect destination to indulge our senses!

This weekend starts the annual Salem’s So Sweet Festival, running February 7th-16th. Downtown will be filled with fun activities, including the  Chocolate and Wine Kick-Off Event on Friday evening. Salem Food Tour Partners 62 Restaurant and Wine Bar, Caffe Graziani, Finz Seafood and Grill, Grapevine Restaurant, Flying Saucer Pizza Company, Harbor Sweets, Melita Fiore, Pamplemousse, Turtle Alley Chocolates and Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company will all be on hand offering sweet tastings – get your tickets in advance as this tasty event sells out every year!  Please visit Salem Main Streets for more information on all Festival offerings.

Pictured above:

As part of Salem’s So Sweet, The Phillips House will be offering “Love Letters of the Phillips Family” on Saturday February 8th from 2-3pm. This special event allows visitors to get a glimpse into the love lives of five generation of the Phillips Family of Salem. Hot cocoa and sweet treats will be served while listening to readings of the correspondence exchanged over the course of courtship and marriage. Registration is required for the event. Please call 978-744-0440 or visit Tickets are $10 for the public and $5 for Historic New England members.   If you have never been to the Phillips House in the historic McIntyre District, we can’t recommend it enough!  Photo: courtesy Historic New England. 

Food Tour News

We run Tours all winter…  the cooler weather is just perfect! With warm coats, we duck in and out of shops and restaurants – sipping and tasting our way through our historic and flavorful city.  It is a great way to embrace the weather and take in all that Salem has to offer this quieter time of year.

We warmly welcome you to join us on one of our upcoming Tours, including: 

Our Sunday February 16th Valentine’s Food Tour is sold out, but we do have a waitlist. Email: The Tour runs from 2-5.30pm.

We have Tours with spots coming up– including Saturday March 1st and Friday March 7th. For more info and reservations, please visit:

Photos, clockwise upper left: Guests enjoying the Pickering House on a recent Food Tour (join them for their fabulous Second Sunday Chowder and Lecture Series this winter!); Enjoying a wine tasting on a recent Food Tour at Salem Wine Imports (fyi: you can enjoy wine tastings with them every Tuesday night at 6.30pm!);FLAVOR packed homemade Giardinera at Longboards Cafe awaits Food Tour guests – stop on by to grab one of their delicious flatbreads or sandwiches; and Manager Amy at Turtle Alley Chocolates II always offers a warm smile and delicious treats to Tour guests.  They’ve got an amazing assortment of chocolates including specialty items like bacon infused turtles, and have a lovely variety of sugar free options. 

2014, Celebrating Spice! 

As our guests learn on the Food Tours, Salem is home to the spice trades. Our illustrious maritime history changed the culture and economics of our City forever.

Celebrating this fascinating and compelling part of Salem’s past, the new 2014 Destination Salem guide will feature a beautiful still life with spices on its cover, as well as have information for visitors who want to learn more about this history. And in September, the first annual Spice Festival will take place (September 13th and 14th) with events at Pioneer Village and related activities around the downtown area. It is going to be a fantastic Festival for all ages, more information soon!

We are also excited about the Salem Arts Festival (June 6-8th) which will also have a spice theme component. One of the main projects of this years Arts Festival is collecting unwanted spices to be used as paints by local children.  Want to your donate expired/unwanted spices? Drop them off at Salem Spice, and as a thank you, receive 5% off any new spices you’d like to buy!  Stay tuned for other hot and spicy events leading up to the Arts Festival – we’ll be announcing those soon.

Photo: David Bowie of Salem Spice gives Food Tour guests an overview of our spice trade history, as well as tastings of his amazing collection of salts, peppers and spices.  

Vegan & Gluten-Free options in Salem

On our recent Tour: wild mushrooms dance on root vegetable puree of butternut squash, carrots, turnips and rutabaga at Opus Salem.   

Our recent Vegan and Gluten-Free Food Tours were a resounding success, and we look forward to more special Tours in 2014! Many people are making different dietary choices, and knowing you can enjoy a meal or buy products locally is a win-win for you and for our local shops and restaurants.  For our gluten-free readers, did you know:

+ A&B Burger has gluten-free rolls available for all their burgers

+ Finz Seafood and Grill and 62 Restaurant and Wine Bar each have gluten-free menus to make selections easier

+ Scratch Kitchen offers a delicious clam chowder that is gluten-free as well as fresh salads with locally sourced ingredients

+ Live Alive can modify most bowls to be gluten-free

Click here to enjoy photos from our recent Gluten-Free Food Tour.

Click here to read the wonderful write-up by Will Travel for Vegan Food who took our Vegan Tour this past fall.

Want to join in on a Tour? You can either reserve a spot on a Tour that is already launching, or form your own Tour group (minimum of 6 guests.) More info click here

Shown here: what do we love? Gluten-free PIZZA and BEER!  Flying Saucer is now making their own gluten-free crust in house using amaranth flour – it is absolutely crispy and delicious – shown here with arugula and a balsamic glaze.


Want to take gluten-free items to go? Pamplemousse carries gluten-free beer in stock, and Milk & Honey has a myriad of GF items, including bread, whole grains, and baked goods. 

Salem’s So Sweet Festival runs February 7th-9th

Eat and and shop locally for the best Valentine’s! Salem’s wonderful shops can help you put together an amazing local gift for that special someone. Fragrance from Aroma Sanctum, bubbly, red wine, chocolates, hot sauces, exotic peppers, spices like cinnamon and saffron, French Macarons, and more!

One last look…

Big fluffy flakes adorn the beautiful branches outside of The Pickering House

Tour Partner News… 

Our Tour Partners have some deliciously special things planned coming up…. special Valentine’s menus can be found at The Grapevine Restaurant where they will be featuring a delicious four course menu that will have you hungry just reading it… Opus will also be offering four tasty courses and will be featuring music at 9pm… Finz not only has a Valentine’s menu, but they are also offering a Paleo Dinner later month and early March – 2nd date added…62 Restaurant and Wine Bar have announced their Tuesday Wine Tastings (we can’t wait for the comfort food one!) and will be announcing their Valentine’s menu soon… A&J King is taking Valentine’s orders till February 11th (info click here)… and Harbor Sweets has popular Sweet Sloops are all dolled up for the holiday…. Please keep checking Salem Food Tours Facebook page for more Tour Partner offerings and updates.

Shown above: hearts overflow with chocolate at Ye Olde Pepper Candy Co.  Below: a taste of Heaven – chocolate mousse made with chantilly cream at The Grapevine.

Interested in the history of chocolate? Click here to view an interesting and concise timeline of this precious bean.  

Salem in Winter

A great stay!

Even if you live on the North Shore, staying in Salem overnight can be a great way to break the winter blues and get away from it all.  If you stay at any of our local B&Bs, don’t forget to mention this when you book your Food Tour spots. To see a list of local places to stay, visit our website.  Henry Derby HouseNorthey StreetMorning Glory, and The Salem Inn are just a few of the many fine places that are open this winter, and many have special off-season rates.  We have Tours coming up on February 16th and March 1st and 7th, if you’d like to pair a Tour with your stay! 

From the pens of our guests

“Highly recommended whether you are a local, from out of town, state, or country. There is something for everyone! We grew up in Salem and still live nearby, yet were introduced to several “hidden gems” that we will now be frequenting often!” …  “Great Tour – A+++”…  “The Salem Food Tour was fantastic. Karen is so sweet and knowledgeable. You get to sample different types of food and meet the chefs who are proud, as they should be, to share their techniques. All of the products used in the preparation of the food is fresh and locally sourced, which my husband and I like. If you are looking for a food tour, this is the BOMB!!! You’ll love it!!!” 

Gift Certficates

Visit us online to purchase Gift Certificates and to shop other Salem Food Tour items – a deliciously fun way to bring a little Salem magic to your kitchen.  


While on a Salem Food Tour, management is not responsible for any excess joy or belly laughter that may occur.  We reserve the right to make sure you leave with great memories.

 Click here to view ALL of our fantastic Tour Partners. THANK YOU you for patronizing these wonderful shops and restaurants. This is the time of year when you can not only experience all that Salem has to offer without the crowds, your support of hard-working local businesses during their quite season is truly appreciated!