If you’ve ever stepped foot in Britain’s most eclectic (to say the least!) south-western city, you’ll know that Bristol is the mecca of “for us, by us” brands, coffee houses, and restaurants.
Just a short(ish) walk down the glorious Gloucester road gets your nose whiffing around to find the source of that mouth-watering smell of Jamaican jerk chicken, Turkish shawarmas, Korean noodles, burgers bigger than your mouth, and pizzas straight out of the stone oven within minutes.
Trust me; it was a never-ending struggle not to eat out every single day when I lived in Bristol!
It was also a struggle not to feel shame and self-loathing every time I indulged in a slice of pizza from Pepe Nero, or a cream cheese and salmon bagel from Bagel Boy (may it rest in peace.)
As someone who had wrestled with body image issues since the young age of 8 (when I went on my first of many, many diets), living in a city brimming with wholesome food made with love and fresh ingredients on every corner was as exhausting as the walk up the steep Park Street.
Enter Alice Dalrymple, Bristol’s resident “anti-diet advocate” and co-founder of The Bristol Food Tour, who is helping locals and visitors celebrate the city’s scrumptious spreads while embracing their body’s nooks and crannies- one Instagram post at a time.
Running both @TheBristolFoodTour and her personal body positivity-focused Instagram account, @Aliceandpeanutbutter, alongside a full-time job didn’t stop Alice from catching up with Roving Panda about all things Bristol, food, and body empowerment!
As all brilliant ventures start, she disclosed how hers began with an inspiring conversation with friend and co-founder of the tour, Jo, over a bottle of wine.
QUOTE: “I went on an amazing walking food tour in NYC during the Summer of 2015 and loved the idea of unlocking a city through food,” she told me.
After finding out that Jo, who is just as passionate about food as Alice, had also gone on a fantastic food tour in India and loved the idea of starting a food tour business in Bristol, they decided to put their skill sets and passions together, and that was the start of The Bristol Food Tour!
Whatever you do, don’t expect to visit a Maccy D’s or a Pret on the food tour…
QUOTE: “There is such a wealth of [independent restaurants and producers] in Bristol [that] are far better than the offering of chains, and we set out to show them off!”
The culinary landmarks chosen by Alice and fellow foodie Jo are first and foremost ones that they both feel genuine enthusiasm about. It’s not just food they want to share with you, but also “insider info about the different stop offs and interesting facts about the dishes they get to taste.” Who doesn’t love a little mealtime story time!
QUOTE: “It’s given us the chance to try such a range of different places, learn about their roots & the eating part is always a bonus…”
And according to her, the true winner of the tour happens to be Flour and Ash, an incredible pizza place on Cheltenham road.
What caught my attention about The Bristol Food Tour was that it was seamlessly interlinked with @Aliceandpeanutbutter’s dedication to showing the world that bloating, rolls, and off days are as normal as bread going stale. We all see beautifully curated food Instas but we hardly ever see what the poster’s body looks like after indulging in all that delicious food. Alice’s approach breaks the stigma through her incredibly inspiring posts.
QUOTE: “It’s important to mention that body positivity is a political movement about diversifying the representation of bodies. In terms of self-image – dissatisfaction with the way we look is almost always tied up with our relationships around food, and I wanted to create something that was wholly positive and focused on celebrating delicious food.”
When asked whether she feels that both Instagram accounts compliment each other’s messages, Alice wholeheartedly agreed: “ I want both of these platforms to be positive spaces. I love sharing the yummy food we are eating on a tour or on our own explorations without any moral judgment attached. In a diet-crazed society I think people find that to be pretty refreshing,” she shared.
That, they do indeed!
If you want to live Alice’s perfect food day, you’d want to start off at Ceres for brunch, followed by a roast lunch at the Florist, and dinner at Dain Korea on Gloucester Road. Dessert always means cake (or it should, anyway), and Alice recommends going to Ahh Toots for a taste of their delicious creations. If cake isn’t your thing, then pop over to Swoon at the bottom of Park Street for some delicious gelato before rounding off the night at the quaint Bristol Spirit for cocktails!
If you want to know a little more about Alice, make sure you follow her on Instagram. For more insights into body positivity, the anti-diet life, and all things food, be sure to follow Alice’s side project, @sinceslicedbreadmag- a monthly newsletter that will surely bless your inbox with nothing but love and positivity.
The independent dream is very much alive and kicking in this indie haven, so make sure to check out Thebristolfoodtour.com if you’re in the city!