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San Francisco: Tom explains foccaccia making- Liguria Bakery

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Published on Mar 11, 2008

Day 2 (February 22, 2008) of our San Francisco adventure began more promisingly: bright sunshine greeted us as we made our way by public bus to Washington Square, the heart of San Francisco's Italian North Beach neighbourhood. We set off to meet Tom Medin, who runs Local Tastes of the City Tours, who was going to take us around this neighbourhood and introduce us to all sorts of interesting culinary treats.

Tom explained that San Francisco is a city for foodies - high quality fresh food plays an enormously important role in the locals' lives. Shopping habits are very similar to the old European ways: people go shopping on foot in their local neighbourhoods and visit all sorts of specialty stores such as bakeries, pastry shops, vegetable stores, delicatessens, butcher shops and many more. Food is bought fresh almost every day, and a home-cooked leisurely dinner is an important part of the social agenda. Cafés and coffee houses also thrive here.

Our first stop was Caffe Roma where owner Toni Azzolini explained to us the coffee roasting process and had us taste some of his famous capuccino. Coffee is roasted freshly on site and their most popular blend includes four different coffee varieties from different countries, all purchased from small-scale farmers who don't use pesticides or fertilizer. We then went to XOX Truffles where we saw the truffle-making process in action. The owner Jean-Marc Gorce graciously equipped us with a little paper bag full of some these French delicacies.

After a brief visit to the Saints Peter and Paul Church where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had their wedding pictures taken, Liguria Bakery was next where we had a chance to taste some real Italian foccaccia bread, the only type of bread that is made at this bakery.

Up the road we continued to the Italian French bakery where we saw a century old bakery oven in action and got to taste various home-baked goodies. At Palermo Delicatessen we got to sample two different types of olive oil and some real Italian salamis, copa meat and fresh mozzarella. The Victoria Pastry Company welcomed us with a free sampling of fresh canoli and at Caffe Trieste we got to admire the place where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the script for Godfather III. Lots of other local and international celebrities have visited this popular neighbourhood café.

This 3.5 hour culinary tour gave us great insight into the San Francisco mindset and strengthened us for a steep walk to our next destination: Coit Tower.

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