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We were absolutely THRILLED to be asked to participate in a WCVB TV5 Chronicle taping with co-anchor Shayna Seymour! This past week, we were honored to take Shayna on a Harvard Square Chocolate Tour. Stay tuned to watch the taping and let us know what you think (it's rumored to be debuting on Monday, August 27th so set your DVR!)
We were also excited to have gotten the notice of Babson's WIN Lab women's entrepreneurship accelerator. Our founder Lizzie is a Babson MBA alum and sat down with the WIN Lab to give advice to others prepping for their first TV interview. Read on to hear what she said below or by clicking here.
Reposted with permission from the WIN Lab blog:
Lizzie Bell, a Babson MBA alumna from the Class of 2011, launched Off The Beaten Path Food Tours in 2017, running food tours, chocolate tours, and trivia nights in foodie-fueled neighborhoods like Somerville, Cambridge, and Jamaica Plain. Each guided tour features a healthy dose of local history and the chance to try delectable cuisine from up to 7 local businesses, often meeting the owner themselves.
Recently, Lizzie met one of her entrepreneurial goals when WCVB TV5’s Chronicle news program gave her a call with an invitation to be featured on the show. After filming wrapped up, we sat down and asked Lizzie to share her top 5 tips on getting ready for the camera.
We're excited to see our Harvard Square Chocolate Tour featured on Chronicle WCVB TV5 on August 27, 2018. Save the date and tune in to let us know how we did!
Sam and I love living in Camberville, and we certainly don't have immediate plans of leaving the area, but if there was one area of town that we wished was much MUCH closer to us, it would be Jamaica Plain, which is located in the City of Boston near Brookline and Fenway Park. It can take us over an hour to drive to Jamaica Plain on a busy traffic day, and so when we do go there we tend to make it "count" by hitting up multiple restaurants and shops in one day. In fact, we've been known to get there for breakfast and not leave until after dinner, finding things to do and eat along the way.
There are lots of similarities between Jamaica Plain -- called "JP" by the locals -- and Somerville. Although Somerville has double the number of residents as JP, both cities' cultural impact locally is significant. One notable similarity is that both communities love Porch Fest where residents jam out on the open air patios of neighbors and attendees walk or bike from stop to stop. They both have residents who want to keep things "neighborly" and also have significant biking cultures, a DIY scene, and most notably a unique and diverse and delicious food scene!
Over the past few months, we have spent lots of time not only researching the history of the local food establishments but also the history of JP itself. Did you know there are over six theories of how JP got its name? We are in the final stages of launching our new Jamaica Plain food tour, on which you'll be able to taste everything from Lebanese food that uses family recipes from over 100 years ago -- to locally brewed kombucha tea -- to the freshest tacos you could ever eat -- to a beer made with ingredients all from Massachusetts. Won't you join us?
We are so proud of all of our tours, and we are excited to say that our newest tours in Harvard Square garnered high ratings like our Somerville Tours have done, on review sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp.
Scott writes: "We had an amazing time touring Harvard Square in Cambridge on the Chocolate Tour. We visited several shops in the area tasting and experiencing chocolate, learning about the history, tastes, and culture of chocolate. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, not only about the subject but also about details of the many places we visited. All in all a very engaging and enjoyable evening."
Elena enthuses: "This is another great tour for both locals and tourists. I've lived in the area for 9 years and had never been to any of places we stopped at! I loved how much variety there was on the tour. We got to try plenty of chocolate from local chocolate shops but also got to try more innovative foods that incorporated chocolate such as chocolate tea and chocolate baos."
Nicolas explains: "We thought we knew the Harvard Square, but the tour allowed us to discover many new restaurants and new dishes at restaurants we already knew. The tour was fun, interesting and, best of all, allowed us to enjoy many great brands of chocolate. We would highly recommend this tour to any chocolate enthusiast. Thank you."
And for good measure, we thought we'd highlight a review from our Davis Square Food Tour as well.
Our guest writes: "Our group of 6 had THE best time on this Davis Square tour with Katie. She was a tremendous guide, full of knowledge and history. The area (which we had visited but never really knew) is fascinating. We went with her to multiple locations, meeting the owners and talking to people in the shops. The food was simply delicious and the people were gracious and welcoming. We have since been back several times to a few of the shops/restaurants we visited. This is a great way to find hidden gems in the neighborhoods we love. Highly, highly recommended."
We can't stop smiling at this feedback. It really feels like all of our hard work is paying off, and we are creating an amazing experience for our guests and restaurant partners. Motivation like this is exactly what we need to keep going as we work tirelessly to create new tours in Harvard Square including a new Chocolate Tour and a Food Tour as well as a Jamaica Plain Food Tour. You know you're in start-up mode when you're jotting down notes about the history of JP at 2 in the morning that you didn't have time to look into the day before. We're excited to start training our new guides in this month, so stay tuned for new tours on the calendar in March, and please consider taking a Somerville tour this weekend!
Boston has a TON of candy and chocolate history.
Did you know that Baker's chocolate was actually named for Dr. James Baker from Dorchester, Massachusetts in the 1700's? He had the perfect last name for this baking products company!
And those little Valentine's Day Sweethearts candies originated from the New England Candy Company (NECCO) that was started in Boston as well.
You may see the Schrafft's building in Charlestown from the highway. Yup, it was a chocolate, candy, and cake company until the 1960's.
All this chocolate manufacturing talk, and Somerville comes to mind -- right? No?? Well Taza Chocolate has grown from a tiny bean to bar operation to a huge globally sold chocolate-making company, and they OFFER TOURS OF THEIR AMAZING CHOCOLATE FACTORY RIGHT IN SOMERVILLE!! Yes!!
Tours run every day from Tuesday - Sunday, and you should definitely register in advance online because they often sell out. Sam and I have been on their tours multiple times and are just *obsessed* with their Stone Ground chocolate, made in the style of Mexican chocolate where they grind cacao beans using hand-carved granite millstones.
Taza also has a brand new cocoa classroom where they do unique tasting panels and offer a host of kid-friendly story-time chocolate events that are sure to intrigue and wow. Check out their tour website for full information.
Insider Tip: Best of all, if you can't make it out to Taza for a tour, try their chocolate on our Off The Beaten Path food tour in Somerville -- we love to give out samples of Taza whenever possible because we believe full-heartedly in their delicious, homegrown stone-ground discs of chocolately goodness, and we will never waiver!
Hope everyone's Labor Day weekends were fun! Sam and I wanted a warm weather getaway, and since the weather looked nice we headed out to Nantucket. Did you know "Nantucket" means "far away island" in Wampanoag? In all actuality, it's only a one hour fast ferry from the Cape. And definitely an enchanted island - we fell in love with it and can't wait for our next visit.
While at this magical place, we took a really fun bike tour with Nantucket By Bike. Our only complaint is that the "town view" tour wasn't hours longer.
Other Insider Tips:
The Juice Bar: With lines around the block for good reason, this is the best ice cream on the Island. Their homemade waffle cone bowls are perfect to share, and my favorite scoop was strawberry ice cream with dark chocolate chips. Mmm!
Seven Sea Street Inn: We loved this cozy B&B with yummy breakfasts, comfy beds, and quiet evenings although close to everything.
Town Pool: This extremely expensive retail shop has imaginative activities inside such as mini golf and a surprise photo opp downstairs.
B-ACK Yard BBQ: All the noms - definitely worth checking out (the baked beans, mac and cheese, and brisket were the best!)
Brotherhood of Thieves: cool patio and fresh food.