Hoping to lure foodies with local produce, gourmet chocolate and wine tastings, Hillsborough began a new tour program this weekend.
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours held its first tour in Hillsborough on Saturday, visiting the Eno River Farmers Market, the Wooden Nickel, Matthew’s Chocolates, Cup A Joe, Hillsborough Wine Company and Panciuto.
Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens said the tours are an excellent way to expand the town’s tourism sector.
“We’re finding more and more people are coming to Hillsborough because of the food,” he said. “I just know that it will add to the overall vitality of the economy and the town.”
For $41 a person, the tour allows groups of about 12 to visit five to eight local restaurants for tastings and a chance to observe the food service process or ask chefs about their work.
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours co-founder Lesley Stracks said by going to area markets, tourists see how restaurants use locally-grown ingredients in their kitchens.
“We’re hoping that people who live in the Triangle, but don’t know Hillsborough, come and see it,” she said.
The program also provides tours in downtown Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
Patty Griffin, director of communications for the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitor’s Bureau, said the county relies heavily on tourism, which brought in $135 million to the area in 2009.