Tucson, Arizona: A Premiere Culinary Destination

Up Next:

Tucson's Colorful Art Scene: Murals, Music + More

cancel or

Ever since Tucson became the first city in the North America to be designated a World City of Gastronomy by UNESCO, the world has taken notice of how much this southern Arizona town has to offer in terms of food, flavors, dining, and culinary history.

After thousands of centuries spent perfecting the art of growing food in the hot, dry climate of the Sonoran Desert (the city is home to some of the oldest continually-farmed lands in North America,) these days Tucson locals are focused on preserving their history of cultivation and farming. We’ve got our eye on the local food entrepreneurs and food experts that are continuing to make this a true food lover’s paradise. Some highlights from our trip include:

  • According to Master Baker Don Guerra, supporting local grain farmers is one of the staples of creating artisanal bread. His bakery, Barrio Bread, has locals and tourists alike lining up to get a taste of his fresh-baked loaves, so we’ll take his word for it. Watch Don in action in the video, and see why he was recently named one of the “Top Ten Bakers in America” by Dessert Professionals magazine.

  • Tucson's agriculture heritage extends back more than 4,000 years as the longest known continuously cultivated area in the North America, a legacy celebrated today at Mission Garden, a living agricultural museum that aims to preserve and honor this history. Watch above as Garden board member Roger Pfeuffer gives our host Paula Keung a tour of this fascinating attraction that is one part museum, one part archeological site, and one part farm and garden! From the local Sonoran plum to Mexican sweet lime, visitors can taste fruits that are genetically identical to crops grown in Tucson hundreds of years ago.

  • Food writer Andi Berlin showed Travel Savvy around Tucson’s top Mexican eateries, including Tacos Apson. According to Berlin, Mexican cuisine from the Sonoran region is composed of few (but quality) ingredients. By this definition, Tacos Apson does not disappoint. This location has Sonoran rib burritos on lock, while anyone on the hunt for a juicy, steamed taco al vapor (unique to the Tucson area) should head to Taqueria Porfis, just down the street. Follow Andi’s column on the Arizona Daily Star’s website and you’ll always know where you’re going to dinner...and lunch too!

  • Tucson’s UNESCO World City of Gastronomy designation can be, in part, credited to one of Tucson’s most influential chefs, Yanos Wilder. While Wilder gave us the skinny on the extended agricultural history and rich flavor profiles the city is known for, we sipped some of the best cocktails in the United States at his bar, Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails.

Don’t forget to check out the video above to hear more about this city’s fascinating food economy, and sign up for our newsletter by clicking the mail icon in the top right corner to get more Tucson, Arizona videos sent straight to your inbox!

Filed Under: Arizona, cocktails, food, Mexican food

Get weekly tips from locals on where to eat, drink, and shop — whether you are traveling or finding more around the corner from you.