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Food tour offers a taste of the Spa City

Joe Haedrich went on a food tour in Chicago, and he couldn't help but think a food tour might work in the Capital District.

As it happens, Haedrich has done walking tours of Saratoga Springs for a few years. He's a history buff; he likes showing people the buildings and parks that are an integral part of the Spa City. Food and drink, he says, are another important piece of Saratoga. After all, the potato chip was invented there. Hotels on Broadway have long employed great chefs. People have been drinking from the city's springs for decades.

So, in June, Haedrich launched Saratoga Food Tours. They run every Saturday. Tickets are $40 and include food and drink at a number of stops.

When Haedrich decided to take the concept and run with it, he contacted the Saratoga Farmers Market to see if it was interested. He got an enthusiastic reply, so that's where the tours kick off. They start at 12:30 p.m. because that's when traffic at the market starts to thin, Haedrich said. Participants might try Greek yogurt or Saratoga Peanut Butter or one of the 100 or so jellies and jams Anna Mae makes.

All the people give little talks about what they do and their food philosophies, Haedrich said.

From the farmers market, the tour " which is all done on foot " heads to the Olde Bryan Inn.

"It's wonderful because it's got such a great history," Haedrich said of the building at 123 Maple Ave., which was built in the 1800s as a home for the Bryan family.

Another selling point of the restaurant is its steak bruschetta, which Haedrich said has earned high marks from people on the tour.

Next up is Broadway, where the tour stops at the Saratoga Olive Oil Co. Haedrich said the store has some 20 types of olive oils and 20 type of vinegar, many infused with flavors.

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