Have afternoon tea with the Guinness family, forage for food and create your own three-course meal, sit by an open peat fire sipping 16th Century whiskey, or walk around the British Isles with a local for a truly unique and food-infused cultural experience. Whatever your budget and travel style, Adams & Butler have got you covered.
Q: Where do you think the food and culture capital of Britain and Ireland is, and why?
Kinsale in Ireland is officially known as the Gourmet Capital of Ireland and is home to the Gourmet Festival, but the West of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Dublin have eclipsed it. While Kinsale has a plethora of excellent restaurants, dining in a restaurant is now almost passé for our travellers – they want to explore the foodie scene thoroughly, and meet the suppliers. It’s no longer a question of farm to table, it’s now seed to mouth. They want to meet the farmers and the local fishermen, and learn how and why they grow the food they do, fish the fish and harvest the seafood.
Q: What are some trips or tours that are a must for foodies?
The best trips are foodie trails where you walk or cycle from tasting to tasting with a local – you not only taste, but discover and learn local facts and titbits (and gossip!) at the same time. We can do this in smaller cities such as Galway and Wexford, as well as the bigger ones such as London, Glasgow or Edinburgh. Our clients love our local walking, hiking, and cycling tours – the small-town walking guides can bring your vacation to life.
There are also lots of places around Dublin, including Glendalough and Powerscourt in Wicklow, (the garden of Ireland), and the seaside villages of medieval Dalkey and Killiney, Malahide and Howth, which are served by the DART – an over-ground subway with amazing seaside views. The seafood restaurants in these Dublin villages are amazing and a must for Dubliners on lazy Sunday afternoons or long, summery evenings.
Q: What’s your favourite cultural experience in the region?
In Ireland, it would have to be Lismore Castle. It’s a private property owned by the English Duke of Devonshire, and his own private butler, Denis takes special care of clients. It’s in an idyllic setting and the picturesque village nearby is the perfect backdrop for any photo, the food is sublime, and clients stay once and return again and again.
One of my best experiences this year was staying at Alladale Wilderness Reserve in Scotland. Located in the Scottish Highlands, the reserve incorporates 100-square kilometers of rugged mountains, forests, rivers, and lochs. The food is organic and the owner is committed to providing a sustainable ecosystem on the estate, and you can experience private tours of whiskey distilleries like Balblair and Dornoch, which offer the finest quality Vintage malt whiskey. Foodies can taste the finest foods made from the freshest ingredients in the Highlands including stoneground flours and meals at Golspie Mill, artisan cheeses and ice creams by Black Isle Dairy, and artisan confections by Highland Patissier.
Q: What’s a unique food or culture experience that most travellers miss out on?
Foraging for food is an eye-opener. What can be used to make delicious dishes is unbelievable, and children in particular love discovering that you can eat some weeds. One of our more unique experiences is a local producer who will forage with clients along the seashore and then produce a three-course meal incorporating seaweed and kelp in every dish, including chocolate and ice-cream.
One of the most affordable things to do in Ireland and England is enjoying decent pub food, especially when accompanied with traditional local music in Ireland. People often think of pub lunches but lots serve dinner too with fresh seafood platters, chowders and hearty Guinness beef and lamb stews soaked up with freshly baked brown soda bread smothered in melting Irish butter.
Q: What food and culture options do Adams & Butler offer that travellers can’t find anywhere else?
We particularly like working with small producers and local guides, we meet the families behind the brands, and we always pride ourselves on arranging experiences where the clients not only see, but do, feel and engage. One of our most popular private visits is an afternoon tea with the Guinness family in their castle, or a glass of Jameson whiskey poured by the 9th generation Jameson whiskey family in their ancestral home. These are exclusive to Adams & Butler.
Something else we suggest is a Secret Ireland day escape along the Shannon Lakelands by private yacht or classic car. Immersed in Irish culture, history, art, architecture and crafts, meet the locals, and experience a true escape at a private 16th Century Medieval castle nestled on its very own island with entertainment, food and drink tastings of the era. Think open peat fires with local artisan cheese and homemade chutney tastings paired with an organic apple syrup. Indulge in your very own private Shibeen (illegal Pub from times gone by) lit only by candlelight with a trio of premium Irish Whiskeys or award winning Irish craft gins. Choose from more than 70 elements to create your very own tapestry of experiences showcasing a true taste of Ireland like never before.