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August 20, 2013 / Linda Hartong


Carmel food tour is a three-hour, guided tour. The tour offers food tastings from seven unique eateries coupled with insightful presentations of Carmel’s cultural, historical, and architectural highlights provided by knowledgeable and entertaining local guides. 

Our group is led by Debbie whose knowledge of food, cooking and Carmel make this a special tour.

We  meet in the Courtyard of Carmel Plaza in front of the Cheese Shop, introduce ourselves and began.  



The Cheese Shop~Carmel 800.828.WINE/Santa Barbara 888.688.VINO




At the cheese shop we taste cheese from Italy, England, and good old Monterey.

Blake Northey instructs us



and entertains us with a running commentary about cheese lore, cheesy puns and jokes. By the time we leave, everyone is laughing.

Back outside Debbie rounds us up for the stroll to Casanova.


Along the way she winds us through hidden courtyards


and points out historic buildings.


CASANOVA Restaurant :: Carmel’s Most Romantic Restaurant

swords of madeira 549

On to Casanova and into the room that houses Van Goghs Table. 


Then we go into the Harvest Room


and are seated and treated to a tasting of gnocchi. This is not the heavy dough make from potato but a French pastry dough like a cream puff filled with spinach and cream sauce.  The man across the table from me is amazed that he can like anything that contains spinach. By now personalities are emerging. One woman assumes the role of hostess, pouring water, passing food and making sure everyone gets their share. I bet she is a wonderful Mom.

I go back to Casanova’s for lunch later in the week for gnocchi that I don’t have to share 


and enjoy it with a glass of wine. 


Hot tea 


and fresh apricot cream pie


complete my splurge. It is worth every calorie.

Welcome to Salumeria Luca, Italian Deli & Bakery

Now Luca


to be introduced to the joys of charcuterie. 


There is a diverse collection of cured meats, 


fresh breads, housemade pastas and gelato.


Today the table at the back of the store


is cleared of its olives and peppers 


and made into our tasting table. 

Debbie is supurb explaining the different salamis. 



Paired with a robust wine. Yum… 


Now I finally know what to order in this shop.


Welcome to Trio Carmel – Trio Carmel


Next up Trio.

The first thing you notice when entering Trio Carmel is the vibrant and richly contemporary atmosphere that’s generated by the fabulous work of the artists they exhibit. 


Walk by this center table


and find yourself in the wine tasting area. 


The owners suggest ways to use their vinegar and oils in salad dressings and marinades and for ice cream toppings,


flavorings for water


and even in cooking brownies. 

A real eye opener. 

I buy a bottle of raspberry balsamic vinegar and am advised to try it mixed with sparkling water. I’m hooked!

We stroll around the store


IMG_0230sampling vinegar such as  Pomegranate Dark Balsamic and Fig Dark Balsamic.

This is a Red Cayenne Chili Olive Oil from Tunisia.


And this is a “make your own” 6 pack of of infused olive oils. 


Check the website below for recipes such as these


and for innovative pairings of oils and vinegar. How about grapefruit White Balsamic and Lemon EVOO?

 Pairings – Trio Carmel

FIGGE : Chardonnay | Pinot Noir | Sarah

We slip into Figge for a wine tasting.

IMG_9843The back part of this shop was once a Carmel Dinner Theater. Now it is a showcase for fine art.

We hope to meet the vintner himself in his small wine bar but are disappointed this day.

Figge Cellars is a small winery dedicated to making single vineyard designated wines from various appellations in Monterey Country California. Launched in 2004 by Peter Figge, the winery produces three varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

La Bicyclette | Carmel CA | Rustic, French Eatery in downtown Carmel



Next we are seated in the back room of la bicyclette, 


one of Carmel’s most popular spots. Its atmosphere is that of a cafe. They have achieved their goal of creating not only a wonderful spot to eat and drink but also a social hub.


We are served 5 or 6 pizzas to share. While we pass them up and down the table,

the chef himself


comes out to describe his passion for serving fresh, local and creative food. He has been cooking since he was 15 and is all of 27 now . He is unassuming and spontaneous. His name is chef James. Click on the link below to see him in action.

La Bicyclette’s Chef James Talks Crab – YouTube

We finish with Assorted Chocolates — Lula’s Chocolates Online Store and Caramels — Lula’s Chocolates Online Store



This is a really delightful experience. I would highly recommend it. Good food, good company, and a guide who shares courtyards, stores, and history about the Carmel she obviously loves.

These thoughtful women check for food allergies and provide a brochure of the places we tour complete with map. They also include a list of restaurants they like for the consistently good food. 

It is a real treat.

When my daughter and son-in-law come to town , they take the tour and love it. 

Carmel Food Tours – Things to do in Carmel CA – Walking Tours near Monterey (California)


Leave a Comment
  1. Carol / Aug 20 2013 1:15 am

    Linda, You hit some of my favorite places in Carmel! I’ve been to all those places (particularly the Cheese Shop) and love them all. Sounds like a wonderful tour! Thanks for sharing your words and photos. Now I’m hungry again.

  2. VG&KL Lee / Aug 20 2013 1:58 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun!  I am jealous! Karen

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