Most people leave the Eating Rehoboth walking tour with a full belly.
That’s because the 2½-hour trek through downtown Rehoboth Beach pauses at five eateries for samples.
Ann Vaughan, however, took home an idea.
“Oh, my God, this would be so great in Kennett Square,” she told herself.
That was in 2013. By 2014, Taste Kennett Food Tours was operating in her hometown.
The guided excursion through the heart of the Mushroom Capital takes about three hours, and participants will not leave hungry.
Or so I learned when I went with two friends on a culinary adventure—which is satisfying in more ways than one.
“The host provided just the right amount of Kennett history along with a good mix of Kennett flavors,” said Deena Dimmer, a tour participant.
If you haven’t explored Kennett in some time, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
The borough is bursting with restaurants and shops, and on a Sunday, it was full of families, couples and friends.
But if you want to take a food tour in 2023, book now. They stop on Nov. 5 for the year and restart on the Sunday after Mother’s Day.
Recipe for Taste success
Before launching Taste Kennett, Vaughan booked similar walking tours in New York, where there is seemingly one for every neighborhood.
She consulted with Paul Cullen, a co-founder of Eating Rehoboth, who was “super helpful,” she said.
The next step was knocking on restaurant doors to gauge their interest. “It wasn’t going to work if I didn’t have restaurants,” she noted.
Only one declined, and that business is no longer in town. Everyone else was eager to sign up.
Initially, the tours started in April, but Kennett’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, held on a Sunday, has grown so large that it makes the tour impractical, and Mother’s Day put a dent in reservations.
Vaughan stops in November because of the temperature
Moreover, Kennett’s streets are hilly, and sidewalks have cobblestone edges. Ice would create slippery slopes.
(Those with mobility issues may have difficulty managing the sidewalks no matter the month.)
Mushrooms are a must
During our visit, the trip was led by Vaughan’s son, T.J. Suchta, who corralled the 16 participants at the Kennett Square Brewing Co.
The speakeasy-looking brewpub, accessed from alleys, is the brainchild of Jossy and Mark Osborne, and it’s garnered a cult following for craft beer, live music and a hophead skull logo.
Guests received a beer sample and shrimp tempura with an orange glaze over greens and Kennett mushrooms.
Meanwhile, mushroom duxelles were the foundation for arancini (risotto rice ball) at Letty’s Tavern in the Kennett Square Inn’s old space.
The bronze orb also included buffalo mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, a caramelized onion balsamic jam, pecorino and micro greens.
Letty’s is named for Letitia Penn, William Penn’s daughter, who reportedly haunts the building. However, there is no remnant of Kennett Square Inn. The new owners renovated the space and ditched the inn’s menu in favor of global cuisine.
The tour also included grab-and-go food.
For instance, we stopped at the tiny Michoacana Grill, which offers tacos, burritos, bowls and quesadillas.
Guests received a chicken or beef taco with a side of hot sauce, and there was a bean taco for someone who did not eat meat.
The counter-service restaurant is slightly off the beaten track, so it was like finding a hidden gem, and everyone eagerly ate the wonderfully messy tacos.
The Market at Liberty Place is a food hall with burgers, Korean cuisine, pizza and sweets.
We sampled Kennett Chicken’s tenders and fries while sipping a peach wine from Paradocx Vineyard, a local winery.
For culinary diversity, the group visited Café Emis, which also goes by Greek from Greece (GfG).
The slender shop has seats in the front where people with laptops were sipping latte drinks. In the back were cases filled with prepared foods.
The café offered triangular cheese-filled pies and a shot of specialty organic juice with green apple, celery, cucumber, ginger, spinach and lemon.
Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop and Mrs. Robinson’s Sweet & Treats are adjoining shops with specialty goods.
The former features loose teas that are in demand outside the borough. Cruise ships call for proprietary blends.
The latter sells items that will make baby boomers wax nostalgic, such as Double Bubble gum, Pop Rocks and Mallo Cups. There are also treats from abroad.
We received chocolate-covered pretzels and brewed tea.
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The Taste Kennett tour ended at La Michoacana Ice Cream for a scoop of the creamy corn flavor or another of the options on the menu board. (It’s owned by the same family who have Michoacana Grill.)
For those who don’t live in Kennett, the tour is a chance to experience flavors other than the larger, better-known restaurants in town.
“We have a lot of people who are visiting Longwood Gardens on a Saturday and do the tour on Sunday,” Vaughan said.
For residents, it’s a great outing with visiting family and friends.
And for everyone, it’s good eats.
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