Lonely Planet Writer

Cook and eat your way around Iran on a Persian food tour

When it comes to reasons for travelling, food is always at the top of the list. What better way to explore a country than doing so through its culinary culture and traditional dishes? That’s exactly the way a new company would like for you to explore Iran.

The Persian Food Tours take place in both Tehran and Esfahan. Image courtesy of Persian Food Tours

Persian Food Tours was created by Matin Lashkari and Shirin Tahanan to really dive into Iran’s culinary traditions, which come from all over, from Azerbaijan to Greece. “The idea of Persian Food Tours was developed to offer the knowledge and taste of Persian food cooked at an Iranian home,” co-founder Matin Lashkari told Lonely Planet. She got the idea after touring around the country with a group of Spanish tourists and being disappointed in the food on offer. “On a 12-day trip, we were obliged to repeat dishes and the menus always lacked some of the best dishes we could cook at home”.

Persian Food Tours is run by a small group composed entirely of women. Image courtesy of Persian Food Tours

The tours include a guided bazaar shopping experience and hands-on cooking classes, at the end of which guests can obviously taste all the food they just created. These “half-day food adventures” take place in both Tehran and Esfahan and the best part is “definitely the chance to meet interesting people with great stories,” Matin explained. “While I think that guests particularly love the time when all the food is decorated,” she added. “Iranians take food decoration very seriously and everyone has a chance to decorate their own on our tours”.

The objective of Persian Food Tours is to create a fun experience that will also help visitors explore Iran’s culinary traditions. Image courtesy of Persian Food Tours

Matin has also given Lonely Planet some insight into what kind of food they prepare during the cooking tours. “I love Koofteh, which is the main dish of our autumn menu in Tehran”. Koofteh is a large stuffed meatball that is sure to satisfy everyone’s hunger. “We also make saffron Masghati for spring dessert, and it’s absolutely lovely”. And considering that Masghati is a soft sweet made with rose water and sugar, Matin is probably right about its loveliness.

At the end of each tour everyone gets the chance to taste what they have just created! Image courtesy of Persian Food Tours

The experiences of Persian Food Tours start at a price of €40 or €50 (US$45 – US$57), and if you’re interested you can book one on the company’s official website here.