About the Tour

Part food. Part history.
Vermont’s Burlington Edible History Tour takes you back in time to connect the history of Burlington’s early ethnic groups to their food traditions, when farm to table was a way of life.

Over a 2-mile walk, you’ll discover the local ethnic history and food traditions of Abenaki, African Americans, Chinese, French Canadians, Germans, Greeks, Irish, Italians, Jewish, Lebanese, and Yankees. To celebrate their traditions of eating local foods – often from their backyards – we will sample food at five restaurants that serve local foods: Waterside Café Maglianero / Jam Bakery, Honey Road, Penny Cluse / Lucky Next Door, and Juniper Bar & Restaurant.

Along the way, you’ll hear about:

The first recorded food cart on Church Street, Burlington, owned by Jews from Latvia

Grapevines growing in backyards; Italians cultivating them for wine, and Lebanese for the leaves to make dolmas

An Irish meat company that sponsored a German sausage maker who was abandoned at Ellis Island

One hundred years without legal breweries

The Chinese restaurant owners who became famous for their St Patrick’s Day celebration

This tour offers a different side of Burlington’s rich history. As tour co-founders, together we uncovered stories about various cultural groups, their food businesses, and food traditions through extensive research. Our historical heroes are the owners of small grocery stores, who kept neighbors fed during the hardest times by letting them buy with IOUs, often ripped up at the end of the year. Our heroes include the women who not only grew food and cooked for their large families, but also fed any hungry person who came to their doors.

In the spirit of our community’s past, we are donating 10% of our profits to the New Farms for New Americans project, which provides affordable farm land to refugees so they can stay connected to their own culinary traditions and crops.

We offer customized tours during our season. Contact us if you are looking for corporate team-building, alumni group events, or any special group activity.

“Growing up in this area I was constantly steeped in the one-dimensional “white” story of Burlington’s European settlement history. Gail and Elise blew the lid off this misnomer through tasty food and extraordinarily well researched history perspectives. In no time, we were right at the intersection of Lebanese, Irish, Abenaki, Jewish, Greek, and “Yankee” cultures as revealed by great stories around local food history.”
— Trip Advisor, Burlington, VT

“Gail and Elise developed a custom evening tour for our alumni group. …I’d highly recommend this tour to anyone including businesses or team leaders who might be looking for a nice way to connect their staff members in a fun way.”
— Trip Advisor, Pasadena, CA