Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Fri July 29 2016

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  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | July 29, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Chicago’s 4 Best Food Tours

    Chicago’s 4 Best Food Tours

    Photo courtesy of Chicago Pizza Tours

    It’s no secret that Chicago is a city of serious eats. Deep dish pizza, thick cut steaks, hot dogs and Italian beef fortify us for endless winters and deathly winds.

    With loads of choices, both classic and trendy, exploring the city’s culinary landscape can be a bit overwhelming. Besides stuffing yourself silly at every top chef emporium, a great way to sample Chicago’s food and learn about the city’s history is by taking a food tour. Food tours are one of my favorite travel excursions because nothing reflects a place quite like the food that defines it. So whether you’re into food history or just enjoy chowing down, there’s a Windy City tour for you. Check these out:

    Chicago Pizza Tours

    First things first. Pizza is as much a part of Chicago as the striking skyline — so a pizza tour is a must. There are lots of Chicago pizza tours, but I like Chicago Pizza Tours because it supplies a broader overview of the city’s pizza landscape. You won’t just visit the touristy classic pizzerias but also the local neighborhood faves.

    READ MORE: A Guide To the Chicago Riverwalk

    This pizza tour is the only one that uses a shuttle bus, so you’ll glimpse the real essence of Chicago and not just downtown. You’ll learn the history of Chicago-style pizza and also sample thin crust and other variations.

    My favorite part is the behind the scenes perspective that some pizzerias will offer. You might get to take a look inside the pizza oven and watch some pizza dough being tossed. The places change up, but you always visit four pizzerias and the tour lasts about three and half hours. Do not eat at all before the tour unless you want to be dragging around doggie bags.

    Chinatown Food Tour

    The thing that many tourists don’t get about Chicago is that The Bean, Navy Pier and the Skydeck don’t represent authentic Chi-town. To really see the city, you need to explore the neighborhoods, and Chinatown is one of the city’s major, if overlooked, enclaves.

    Chicago Food Planet’s Chinatown food and walking tour remedies the situation, with an engaging and culturally rich tour through the historic neighborhood. What I love about this food tour is that it doesn’t just provide five visits to restaurants, but it includes etiquette demonstrations and explanations about the different regional dishes like Cantonese and Szechuan. You’ll also visit Chinatown landmarks and cultural sites, so be prepared with comfortable shoes for the three and a half hour walking tour.

    Bikes, Bites & Brews

    As an avid biker, this tour immediately captured my attention, but even if you’re not that into biking, Bikes, Bites & Brews is a great food tour. What makes it so exceptional is that it serves up signature Chicago bites — pizza, hot dogs, cupcakes and beer — and combines it with scenic rides through several neighborhoods. The four-hour ride also guarantees that you’ll work off at least some of the food, so that makes it one of the healthiest Chicago food tours.

    READ MORE: Classic Chicago Eats: The Silver Palm

    Chocolate Tour of Chicago

    Chicago’s glittering reputation as a foodie capital overshadows the fact that at the turn of the century, it was also the country’s confectionary capital. The Chocolate Tour of Chicago explores that sweet history as well as treats from some of the city’s best artisan chocolatiers. This two-hour walking tour focuses on Gold Coast dessert shops, so it's not a lot of walking, but I recommend bringing a bottle of water to cut the sugar build up.

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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