By Jaclyn Hayward
Thinking of your favourite place can be a very sensory experience. Memories of sights, sounds, tastes; memories of how the people there make you feel. Lise from Chew on This Tasty Tours has assembled opportunities around invoking these senses, with a chance to discover and rediscover places through curated tasting boxes and tours. Specially put together with the right food and the right folks, Lise creates an unforgettable experience for guests to truly get to know “local” through the people, the businesses, and the flavours.
Lise spent many years working in the tourism industry as a tour planner and “professional traveller” of sorts. Known amongst friends to be the one to consult for ideas and suggestions around travel, Lise planned many fantastic itineraries both personally and professionally around food, shopping, and accommodations. As a longtime patron of buying and supporting local, Lise felt the impact of the pandemic on her entrepreneur friends and wanted to find a way to make a difference. By combining her decades of experience in the tourism industry with her love for community, Chew on This Tasty Tours was established and it now brings light to local businesses while bringing great food and experiences to happy neighbours and visitors.
Tell us more about tasting tours! What does a tour look like, and who signs up?
“The tours are elevated experiences with every element thoughtfully planned out. Guests just have to show up, ready to be spoiled! They are private 2 to 4 person tours with the option for more people on our custom curated tours. We have recently curated a custom tour as a team-building event for a group of managers and we have a board of eleven members who will be taking a custom tour soon. We offer the opportunity for weekday staff retreats and reconnections with an optional focus on food, art, music, architecture, shopping and history. Our tours are all self-guided with the option to add-on a guide.”
How do you decide between products and vendors?
“When choosing which producers and entrepreneurs to align with I go through a very specific vetting process. This has consistently resulted in very happy and return customers and businesses who are appreciative of the exposure and opportunity to connect with the owners. The majority of my guests have taken two and more different tours. Once they taste one, they want more! Kinda like potato chips.”
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The tasting box sounds delicious. What kinds of things are in it and how do I get one?
“Each box offers up a variety of small-batch and locally produced food and drinks. It’s not a meal prep kit. It’s all grab-and-go/on-the-go food and drinks. This is all about [experiencing] the small caramel maker in North Vancouver, to the midsize cracker maker in Cranbrook, to the tea producer on the Island. What a joy to collaborate, learn and share the stories and passion of these folks. Boxes are currently available as an add-on to tours. There are also three Holiday-themed Discover Local Tasting Boxes available exclusively for the Holiday season that are [available] at three different price points: NIBBLE, GRAZE, and FEAST. We have had several large corporate orders for employee gift-giving for these already so sales will end November 26 or while supplies last.”
Is there anything you’d like to share about your story? Why do you do what you do?
“The other day I delivered a Discover Local Tasting Box to a group on tour in Abbotsford. While out there I offered to take photos of them. In conversation with one of the guests, she confided that she and her husband had decided to take the tour because her Mom that was on tour with them had stage 4 cancer. They were constantly coming out to the Abbotsford Hospital for treatments and appointments and they just wanted to have a different, more happy association with the community of Abbotsford.
“As a two time cancer survivor this filled my spirit! It is my personal commitment to seek out joy and to provide the opportunity to experience joy on my tours. It is a thrill to collaborate with dynamic destination hosts (the restaurants, the retailers, the chocolatiers and bakers and makers) to offer up these unique experiences that are a benefit for all in many ways!”
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On a tasting tour guests get VIP treatment, with generous portions and takeaways, instagram-worthy food presentations, and interesting stories and conversations from hosts that want to connect and share. Participants are sure to experience a true “sense of place” that keeps these communities rooted and remembered in their minds for years to come. Lise has also collaborated with several local properties to offer accommodation packages for tours, so plan a visit or your next staycation and explore a tour like The Spice Trail in South Surrey.
Visit Chew on This Tasty Tours to learn more about the tasting tours currently offered and check back for updates as Lise networks and finds even more experiences and tastes to share from local communities. Also, order a Tasting Box while supplies last and discover the local love for making great food.