Food tours are a unique and tasty way to understand the culture of a destination deeply, and Iran food tours let travelers discover the vast and ancient country of Iran through flavors and traditional cuisines. While traveling in Iran and visiting different cities, you will visit local markets and take part in culinary activities like cooking classes and confectionary workshops and taste delicious Persian foods.
Iran culinary tour of PackToIran is one of the most popular expeditions among our special Iran tours that offer unique and authentic experiences, as it includes less touristic yet amazing cities with significant culinary scenes like Rasht and Bushehr. Here we are going to review the memories of one of the Iran Food tours operated in November 2019.
Day 1 - Tehran
We met the group (including two couples around 50 years old) early in the morning at IKA Airport of Tehran and after their Iran Visa On Arrival process, we head to our hotel with our private van. All the members of the group had a passion for tasting new dishes and learning about food culture all over the world and they were very excited about their upcoming food adventure in Iran. After hotel check-in, we visited the top highlights of Tehran including the Iran National Museum and the Golestan Palace and after some walk in downtown Tehran, we joined a local family to experience our first local Iranian food on this tour. The family including a young husband and wife and two teenage daughters prepared us Ghormeh Sabzi which is one of the most popular Iranian cuisines made with green herbs (parsley, coriander, leek, dried lime) beans, and lamb or beef meat.
Day 2 – Rasht, creative city of gastronomy
We took a morning flight from Tehran to Rasht, which was introduced as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO in 2015. This lush and rainy city is the center of Gilan Province in northern Iran which is a unique region located by the Caspian Sea and the Alburz Mountain Range. After visiting the Municipality Square we had a tour of Rasht's traditional market with a local chef, where they sell fresh vegetables, fish, different types of mouth-watering pickles, and famous sweets of Gilan, Koloocheh (cookies), and Reshteh Khoshkar. Then we joined our cooking class and learned to cook some vegetarian cuisines of Rasht like Baghala Ghatogh and Mirza Ghasemi and some kebabs and seafood.
Day 3 – Ghazvin
After enjoying a walk in the city under the light rain, we hit the road and passed through the northern forests and scenic roads passing through the Alburz mountains. On the way, we stopped at Rudbar Town to taste different types of olives marinated in pomegranate paste and garlic pickles. Arriving at the historical city of Qazvin which was one of the capitals of the Iran during Safavid Dynasty, we met a local family and had our lunch (Gheimeh Nesar) with them and then did some sightseeing in the city.
Day 4 – Houses of Kashan
On our way to Kashan, we stopped at Qom, the religious city in Iran, and visited a workshop to learn about one of the most famous sweets in Iran named Sohan. This super tasty sweet is a brittle candy made with wheat sprout and honey and is topped with pistachio. In Kashan, we learned about the architecture of historical residential houses at the charming Tabatabai House and visited Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse and the Fin Garden.
Day 5 to 6 - Exotic foods in Isfahan
We spent two days in Isfahan, which is the top touristic city in Iran. On the first day, we went to a traditional Gaz factory. Gaz is one of the most famous Iranian sweets made with the sap of Gazangebin bush which is a rare plant found in the deserts of Isfahan. In the afternoon we joined a cooking class and learned to cook Khoresht e mast (Yogurt stew). This stew which is one of the exotic foods of Iran is made with yogurt, saffron, lamb, and sugar and is served as a side dish. The next day was spent visiting the fantastic highlights of Isfahan including the Naqshe Jahan Square, Sheikh Lotfollah and Jaame Shah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, and Chehel Sotun Palace. We finished our Isfahan city tour by having a unique snack at an old café which was Doogh a yogurt-based sour drink and Gooshfil a fried sweet pastry.
Day 7 – Sweets of Yazd
We left Isfahan early in the morning and drove towards Yazd, a city in the center of Iran. In Yazd, we explored the Zoroastrian legacies like the Fire Temple and the Tower of Silence, and then we visited the old city district, the Jaame Mosque, and Amir Chakhmaq Square. After the Yazd city tour, we met a local woman who holds wonderful cooking classes. First, we learned to bake some sweets of Yazd which are so famous in Iran, and then cooked Gheimeh Yazdi together and had it as our memorable dinner.
Day 8 to 9 – Hospitality in Shiraz
We hit the road toward Shiraz, early in the morning. On the way, we stopped to visit the ancient city of Pasargadae which was the first capital of the Achaemenids made by Cyrus the Great. Arriving Shiraz, we took a walking tour in Shiraz's historic city district and visited the Vakil Bazaar, Vakil Mosque, and Karimkhan Citadel and then tasted some traditional ice-cream and learned about the tasty herbal drinks of Shiraz and their medical properties.
The next day we visited the Nasir al Molk Mosque (known as the pink mosque) early in the morning and then drove to Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenids known as one of the top attractions in Iran where the group was fascinated by Iranian art and architecture of the ancient era. We also visited the Necropolis (Naqshe Rostam), which is the collection of Achaemenid rock tombs and Sassanid bass reliefs. Driving back to Shiraz we enjoyed the lovely and peaceful atmosphere at the Tomb of Hafez, the great Persian poet who has a special place in the heart of Iranians especially the locals of Shiraz. We finished our day with a fun cooking class at the house of a female professional cook who taught us how to cook Kalam Polo (cabbage and rice) which is one of the best cuisines of Shiraz.
Day 10 – Chilli seafood in Bushehr
We said goodbye to the lovely Shiraz and drove towards Bushehr in the south. Bushehr is a warm city located beside the Persian Gulf and enjoys very pleasant weather during autumn and winter, and visiting this city was a unique experience in Iran as it is not usually included on Iran tours. Bushehr is known for its tasty and chilly seafood cooked with lots of garlic and spice. Today we cooked Ghaliyeh Mahi and Ghaliyeh Meygoo with herbs, garlic, spice, tamarind topped with fried fish (Mahi) or fried shrimp (Meygoo) which we bought from the traditional market located by the sea. The next morning, we took a walk through the old alleys of the city and enjoyed the local architecture of Bushehr, and then took a flight back to Tehran.
This Iran Food Tour was a great experience for us as an Iran tour operator and the group as food lovers who looked for new tastes and adventures. The group left Iran with many new cooking skills and recipes and most importantly many wonderful memories they made with hospitable Iranians at the cooking classes and family dinners held in locals’ houses.