When tour groups get down to Birmingham, they get down to the business of exploring the city’s personality. Among the themed tours are trips to sample the city’s locally-produced snacks, real Southern dining and the influence of immigrants on the city’s cuisine.
Other tours explore the diversity of Birmingham’s ethnic communities, reflected in the architecture and cultural events throughout the city. Plan a tour to visit the Eternal Word Television Network, founded by Mother Mary Angelica. Take in the historic sites from Birmingham’s tumultuous role in America’s Civil Rights Movement. Hear interesting tales from the city’s rowdy pioneer days. And, by all means, settle in for the Southern Foods Tour.
Grits, Greens and Greeks: The Southern Foods Tour
Wake up the day with breakfast at Niki’s West, a Birmingham institution, where they serve up a heaping helping of Southern favorites: country ham, cheese grits, cathead biscuits with sawmill gravy, and eggs any way you like ‘em.
Then walk off some of that fine meal at the Pepper Place Saturday Market. This seasonal spread of Southern foods is a delight to wander through. Farmers’ stalls are filled with peaches, peppers and tomatoes. Local chefs demonstrate their skills at outdoor kitchens. Live Southern music and the smell of fresh-cut flowers fill the air.
Begun in 1923, Golden Flake Foods is now among the largest snack food companies in the country. This popular tour takes visitors from the potato bin to the final packaging, and everyone gets to sample along the way.
Time now for lunch at The Irondale Café, the Original Whistle Stop Café of “Fried Green Tomatoes” fame. People come from all over the world for the restaurant’s Hollywood connection and for a good Southern meal.
Then learn about a whole new concept in cookies—the bite-size cookie—at Bud’s Best Cookies. Watch as the wire-cut and rotary cookies roll off the lines at a rate of 3,500 a minute.
Time for some grown-up touring at breweries and wineries in the area. The Alabama Wine Trail includes three locations on the outskirts of Birmingham. These wineries welcome group tours to sample their bold muscadine and delicate peach wines, all made from local fruit. New breweries in the Birmingham area give groups a delightful assortment of flavors to sample on tours of their facilities. If the group has saved room for supper, try the fresh Gulf oysters and Athenian snapper at The Fish Market. This Birmingham eatery is a good example of the Greek immigrant influence on Birmingham’s rocketing dining scene.