Last Word: Adventure!
The Taster publishes a regular final interview with a character in the foodie world; in our last issue, this was Carol Adams, founder of Food Adventure South Wales. Originally from the Bronx, New York, Carol spent many years traversing the globe before finally settling in the UK — but, never one to put her feet up, she soon got busy setting up her foodie experiences company: it now attracts visitors from the USA and Europe as well as the rest of the UK. Here’s her story:
“Food has always been a passion in my life but never a career until now. I grew up in the Bronx, New York, but my original career (in finance and social regeneration) brought me to live and travel in many countries, from the US to France, Israel, West Africa and South America. I’ve always had hobbies around food: in the Bahamas, I was director of a wine & food society; in New Orleans, I organised culinary tours; and over here (earlier this year) I cooked gumbo on ITV’s cookery show Mel and Sue.
I always tried to get to know a country through its food. I loved going to markets; whenever I saw someone buying an ingredient I was curious about, I asked them how they cooked with it. This often led to invitations to come home and cook along with the family! — In this way, I developed extensive knowledge of various cuisines.
When I moved to Wales 10 years ago, I was astounded by the quality of the local food — but also by how little known it was. My husband, Mark, started a food blog (Corpulent Capers) about local restaurants, and persuaded me to start writing about food producers. If I discovered something I loved, I’d go to the producer’s farm or site to learn what made their produce so special.
The blogs were great successes. Mark and I became part of a virtual ‘food community’ and often, my readers would say ‘Oh, I’d love to go with you the next time you visit a producer’. Thus the idea for Food Adventure was born.
Once I had the idea, I met with food producers, devised tours and set up the website. In 2014, the first tour for paying guests was ‘A Wonderful Welsh Wine Adventure’. This was a full-day minibus tour of two vineyards in Monmouthshire with a five-course lunch. Up until this point I had no idea if any one would buy a ticket or not! You have no idea how much I celebrated when I sold the first ticket! People came from all over Wales, and also from Bristol. It was a success!
I invited the press and key partners to my official launch. We learnt about dairy farming and ethical rose veal at a Welsh dairy farm followed by a cooking demo and lunch at an award-winning tapas restaurant.
I’ve now used my knowledge of food in Wales to create many unique outings, and I have guests from as far away as London and the US. I offer ‘Tipple Adventures’ for those interested in drinks; or dining adventures for those who want to discover a great restaurant. People can learn skills, such as making bacon or preserves, from award-winning artisan producers; or more general cooking with top chefs, cooks — and myself! In our foraging adventures, farm visits and walks, people can discover beautiful scenery and historical places as well as great food. It has all been a great Adventure!”