Follow your guide to some of the best Italian markets this side of Rome:
- Discover a pasticceria that offers the best biscotti, sfogliatelle, cannoli and other confections.
- Check out a neighborhood deli known for the best prosciutto; learn how to select the freshest olive oil and how to identify "real" balsamic vinegar. We'll discuss the different types of cheeses and tell you how to distinguish artisan pasta from the commercially produced varieties.
- Savor the scents of an 80-year-old coffee and spice shop while learning about Italian coffee culture and various old-world ingredients.
- Stop at a greengrocer to learn about select seasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Tour an enoteca to learn how to select aperitivi to begin, wine to complement, and digestivi to conclude your meal.
- Relive memories of growing up in an Italian household.
During this European-style tour, you will not be eating your way through the neighborhood. Rather, our goal is to provide you with an understanding of the Mediterranean diet and methods of identifying and buying authentic Italian ingredients.
"It’s like visiting Italy…no passport required!" Your world and dinner will never be the same.
|Sort by:||Date Attended||Gender||Age||Where From||Group Type|
Informative and entertaining
|SRBaker||Wed, Apr 15 10:00 AM||Male||60-69||Domestic Tourist(s)||Group of Friends|
Enjoyed Suzy's knowledge of the area and ability to communicate the nuances of the neighborhood and tastes and creation of the food. Good recommendations for dining, and a nice cross-section of the available resources in the North End. Very enjoyable!
Great tour... family had a great time.
|mrb7612||Fri, Apr 10 10:00 AM||Female||30-39||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family Without Children|
Great tour... family had a great time.
|RitaLash||Sat, Mar 14 2:00 PM||Female||Unspecified||Local||Family Without Children|
My husband and I were joined but our sons and daughter-in-law for a fabulous (but rainy) afternoon exploring the "hidden secrets" of the North End. Beth, our wonderful tour guide was fun, flexible and so knowledgable about the history, community and food that the afternoon flew by. We loved sampling some of the delights available in the shops, while learing about the differences in the products from olive oils and balsamic vinegars to breads, vegitables, amazing pasteries. I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this tour to anyone who loves Italian food and culture. We will definitely go back to the North End and spend more time.
|Silvertini||Sat, Feb 28 2:00 PM||Unspecified||Unspecified||Unspecified||Unspecified|
I thought the tour was very interesting and the guide was very knowledgable about the North End area. We did get to try small tasters in a few of the venues we visited, however as it was a foodie tour there could have been more food! It felt like there was a lot of talking about food before we actually tried some. It would have been nice to sit down in a few more of the venues and enjoy a little pizza or pasta. But overall, this is a good way to get to know where to buy food in the North End.
Great and interesting experience!!!
|Wiegerling||Sat, Feb 14 2:00 PM||Male||20-29||International Tourist(s)||Couple on a Date|
We were only a Group of 2, maybe because of the weather conditions in Boston. We had a great time. Beth was a great tour guide,. She gave us much Information. The tour took 3 hours and wasn't boring at any time.
Beth gave us some valuable recommendations on restaurants and shops.
We will definetely come back to do the China Town tour.
Thanks to Michel and her Team for this outstanding experience!
Outside tour means the weather matters
|Dennisdhondt||Sat, Jan 31 2:00 PM||Female||50-59||Domestic Tourist(s)||Family With Children|
Wind chills were -10 below and 3 hours walking outside was too cold
I lose out on the money for this tour so don't book too early until you know the weather conditions
Michele Topor, Inc. responded:
Thank you for your feedback regarding last Saturday. Since our tours are conducted inside the various shops, and not outdoors, we rarely cancel them. In extreme conditions, when we feel people's safety is in danger, we do cancel tours. Last Saturday was cold, no doubt about it, and windchills were below zero in the morning. By the time lunchtime arrived, the sun was out and the participants on our Chinatown Tour were commenting about how pleasant it felt in the sun.
We are sorry that you waited to contact us with your concerns. By the time that you did, our tour guide was already on a long commute in to conduct the tour, and we were obligated to pay her for a tour that never happened. We are always willing to address people's concerns about the weather, but ask that they contact us early enough so that we can either cancel the tour, or re-sell their tickets.
|Donvigliotti||Sat, Jan 17 2:00 PM||Male||50-59||Combination||Other|
We have been to the North End many times but never saw some of the places that this tour brought us to. Our guide was great and the tour was very informative and fun, despite the cold weather. We were a group of 7. Four of us are in our 50s and 3 kids in their 20s. We were with another couple that we did not know and they were very nice and fun to be with! I would highly recommend this tour.
|junkmail||Sat, Jan 17 10:00 AM||Female||40-49||Unspecified||Unspecified|
Even in single degree temps it was a great time. Informative, interesting, well paced, and tasty! Highly recommend!
|DonnaB106||Sat, Jan 10 10:00 AM||Female||50-59||Local||Family Without Children|
My daughter and I had a fabulous time. The other couples that were a part of the group were pleasant and it was nice to meet new people and learn so much about the North End. I highly recommended this tour to my friends and family.
|Tolandcm||Sat, Jan 10 10:00 AM||Female||20-29||Local||Couple on a Date|
I got this tour as a birthday present for my fiance, and we absolutely loved it! We have lived in the North End for several years and it was great to learn a little more about the history and more about Italian cooking--we are inspired to try new recipes and ingredients! This was a great new way to explore our neighborhood, and Beth was an excellent tour guide!
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance? Can I pay cash?
- Tickets must be purchased in advance, and tours often sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or AmEx. Cash is not accepted.
- Do you require a minimum number of tickets for the tour to take place?
- Yes, we only run our tours with at least 4 people. Since this is a very popular tour, this is not usually an issue, but during the winter months it may happen a bit more frequently. If you would like to go on a tour that has not yet met the minimum, and you do not wish to purchase 4 tickets, you may place yourself on the wait list by clicking on the "place your group on the wait list" link on the purchase page. We will then contact you if the tour opens up so that you can purchase your tickets.
- If a tour is sold out can I get on a waiting list?
- We do not provide a waiting list. If a date is sold out, it is likely that we will add an additional tour. Please contact us via e-mail at email@example.com or by clicking “Contact MicheleTopor” to let us know what date you are interested in.
- Do you offer custom private group tours?
- We welcome custom group tours from 10-60 people on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click “Contact MicheleTopor” to the left of the page and let us know the details of your request. A North End Market Tour representative will contact you shortly.
- Does the tour include lunch?
- While we wil be tasting specific Italian food ingredients so that you have benchmark flavors, lunch will not be provided, so please plan to eat before or after the tour - think of it as an antipasto to whet your appetite.
- What if I have dietary restrictions?
- We will be tasting specific Italian food ingredients so that you have benchmark flavors. If you have dietary restrictions (vegetarian, diabetic, kosher), you could just simply refrain from those particular tastings.
- Can I shop on the tour?
- We ask that you wait to shop until after the tour so that we can spend more time learning about the fabulous Italian food ingredients and enjoying the tastes we have arranged. Hopefully, you will allow yourselves some extra time at the end of the tour to return to your favorite stores.
- What is the maximum number of people on a tour?
- Since the shops are very small, we limit the regular tour to 13-14 depending on the day. Saturday tours before Christmas and Easter may be limited to 10 people.
- What if it rains or the weather is inclement?
- The tour is held rain or shine. If the weather is very inclement, e.g. heavy snow or hurricane, the tour may be cancelled. Refunds will be offered in the extremely rare event that the company cancels the tour, but in all other situations, no refunds will be provided.
- Who will be leading the tour? Can I register for a tour that Michele will be conducting?
- Most tours are led by Michele’s personally trained assistants (guides). Depending on availability, Michele might be leading a tour but there is no way of knowing beforehand. Rest assured that Michele's standards are very high - her assistants are terrific and each one brings their own special style.
- Are gratuities for the tour guide included in the ticket price?
- Gratuities (tips) for your guide are not included in the ticket price. If you enjoyed your tour, tipping your guide is acceptable, optional, and always appreciated.
- Where do the tours start?
- Upon registration you will receive a confirmation indicating where you are to meet the tour group.
- Where do the tours end?
- The tour route will depend on how busy the stores might be on a given day. The weekday and regularly scheduled Saturday tours will usually end at the corner of Richmond and North St. The 3pm Saturday afternoon tour and any other added tour will end at the corner of Fleet and Hanover St.
- I’m Italian American and have shopped in the North End for years – will the tour offer me anything new?
- We have had many local North Enders on tour and they have been amazed at their new food finds. And most important, they are able to relive memories of their childhood and learn how their food culture evolved.
- What if I don’t live in Boston, why would I want to take the tour?
- To learn about one of the most vibrant ethnic neighborhoods in this country. Since the tour is like a walking cooking class, you will learn about how Italians eat, the best ingredients and how to buy them, special cooking tips, and what a feast for the senses! Since most of the stores also sell online, you will learn about great sources for ingredients. Your world and dinner will never be the same.
- Is the morning tour different from the afternoon tour?
- Both tours offer the very same information and food tastings. If you plan on staying in the neighborhood to revisit many of the stores after the tour, you might want to do the morning tour, keeping mind that most of the stores generally close at 6pm. Otherwise, many tour participants just want to stay on after the tour to enjoy dinner at one of our many fabulous restaurants.
- I took the tour a couple of years ago. Has anything changed?
- The discussion of the most important ingredients remain the same. Some ingredients change according to the seasons, especially during Easter and Christmas, when the neighborhood is most festive. As we learn more, we do our best to improve upon and enhance the tour.
- Will there be any place to sit during the tour? Is it a fast paced tour?
- Only one store has limited seating. The tour involves standing and walking as we wind our way through the neighborhood, visiting about 6 stores. You should plan to be on your feet for the length of the tour, so wear your comfortable walking shoes. We do walk at a relatively quick pace. The neighborhood is a bit under 1/3 square mile and we walk up and down about 8-9 blocks.
- Can you accommodate people with disabilities? What about strollers?
- Some of the stores have a step up to enter and are not wheelchair accessible. Most of the stores are also very tiny. If you are able to leave the wheelchair outside of the store and enter with a cane, the tour can accommodate you. Strollers will also have to remain outside the store. There is no problem with their safety outside the door of the store.
- What about taking children on the tour?
- Since the tour is three hours long and most children have a limited attention span, the tour may not be appropriate for them. Parents, who know their children best, should assess the situation individually. When deciding whether the tour is appropriate for your child, please consider the tiny congested stores, the amount of standing in place while listening to the guide, and the other participants on tour. Children tend to get very fidgety and command the parents attention. The parents then miss most of the discussion and the whole group gets distracted.
- Do you visit restaurants on the tour?
- We don’t walk into restaurants but we provide you with a handout of our favorite restaurants and point out our favorites as we pass by. Remember, this is a very subjective commentary.
- Are the tours offered only in English?
- Yes, we only offer tours in English. If you would like to make arrangements for your own interpreter to join the tour, please contact North End Market Tours by clicking “Contact MicheleTopor” or e-mail us at email@example.com.
- Are gift certificates available for the North End Market Tour?
- Yes, gift certificates are available for the North End Market Tour, and they make a perfect gift for holidays, birthdays or any other occasion! To purchase a gift certificate for the North End Market Tour please click on the "Gift certificates: Purchase" link in the box above.
- How is my gift certificate delivered? Can I print it out now and give it to the recipient myself?
- Yes, you can! When you purchase your gift certificate online, you will be presented immediately with your gift certificate so that you can print it out and deliver it. If you buy it over the phone, a link to your gift certificate will be emailed to you as soon as your purchase is completed.
- What if I want the gift certificate emailed to the recipient instead?
- That's no problem, either! When you purchase your gift certificate, just select the option to have the certificate emailed directly to the recipient and provide their email address. You'll even be able to decide whether you want the email sent immediately or if you'd prefer to schedule it to be emailed on a future date. (For instance, if you want to buy it today so you don't forget, but you don't want it emailed to the recipient until their special day!)
- Can we take photos during the tour?
- Still camera shots are welcomed and with the characters in the neighborhood, you could find yourself with some memorable photos. Video cameras are not allowed.
- Are bathrooms available during the tour?
- Except for emergencies, bathroom stops are not available during the tour. Prior to the tour, all coffee shops have bathrooms for customers.
- Do you offer discounts for travel agents?
- The standard travel agent discount is 10% for up to 4 people. This discount is valid for travel agents who will be attending the tour, and requires the agent to provide a business card at the start of the tour. To use this discount, please contact North End Market Tours by clicking “Contact MicheleTopor” and providing your travel agency’s name and contact information.
Michele Topor, Inc.
Since Michele is not available to conduct most of the tours, she has personally selected and trained her guides to convey not only the secrets of the cuisine in the high quality of ingredients but also the sense of regional tradition, the healthfulness of the Italian diet, and that very Italian love of life.