{ Food & Drink }

dining trend

Tours with Taste

Finding NoCo’s culinary gems with Megan Bucholz.

By Shawna Jackson Van

Fort Collins has long been known for fantastic local beers and microbreweries, but more recently that renown has spread to craft distilleries, specialty food shops, innovative restaurants and great coffee. It seems a shame to be out of the loop on any of it, but thanks to Local Table Tours, the brainchild of Megan Bucholz, you don’t have to be. It’s her mission to make the Northern Colorado food and drink scene available to the curious local, the new-to-towner, or the out-of-towner.

Bucholz started Local Table Tours six years ago after a conversation with a friend, and it is a marriage of all the things she loves—a great food and drink scene, educating patrons, and relationship-building with local restaurateurs and bartenders. However, she originally moved to Boulder to earn a masters degree in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice from CU—a very different path. Though she thought she would end up at some point working for the government creating educational policy, fate had other plans. Already a foodie and a blogger, Bucholz found Boulder and its culinary scene a kind of utopia, and when her friend suggested she start a company providing tasting tours, Bucholz called a lawyer the next day and her business was born.

Though Bucholz started her guided tasting tours in Boulder, she expanded to Denver shortly after. Currently she’s really excited about the Fort Collins scene, and she launched her business here last fall. “There is so much happening in Northern Colorado,” she says, “it’s hard to keep up. But the most exciting concepts are in this area right now.” She is referring to businesses like The Farmhouse, Rebel Popcorn, Bindle Coffee, Nuance Chocolate, The Waffle Lab and Mobb Mountain Distillery.

To create a tasting tour, Bucholz focuses on a theme, taking patrons to three to four locations over a two-hour period. The tour I joined her on one wintery day in December was her Cocktail Tasting Tour. We started at The Whisk(e)y in downtown Fort Collins where General Manager and bartender extraordinaire, Octavio, made us several taster cocktails built around bourbon. From there, we walked up the street to The Kitchen, where we were treated to a Cranberry Sauced, an Old Fashioned made with a cranberry reduction. We learned that the bartenders at The Kitchen are encouraged to create new drinks monthly, and the Sauced was one such creative effort. We finished our cocktail tasting tour at Mobb Mountain Distillery…

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