April 2012

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workWith MeAndrea Hughes Walking, talking (and eating!) her way through Madison Imagine you have a friend in town and only one day to see the sights, eat the food, and show off all that Madison has to offer. Sounds impossible to entertain, no? Enter Andrea Hughes and her Madison Food Explorers, a local business providing walking food tours in the form of three- hour adventures that combine historic and architectural walks with stops at foodie hotspots in a tasty tromp across town. "My goal is to acquaint visitors with Satisfy Your Cravings Madison Food Explorers' tours run Tuesdays through Saturdays April 17 to Oct. 27. The cost is $43 and the tours span Madison so they feel they can go enjoy the rest of their weekend in town on their own," says Hughes, 51. But out-of-town- ers aren't the only ones taking ad- vantage of her work. "Twenty-fi ve percent of my patrons last year were locally-based," she adds. Th e idea for MFE surfaced about 1.8 miles while serving four to fi ve tastings of food. Visit for more information. ter a convention," she says. "I kept think- ing I should do this in Madison." It wasn't until Hughes took a walk- during Hughes' previous job as a corporate convention plan- ner with CUNA Mutual Group. While traveling the country for events, Hughes noticed she was regularly taking people on walking tours. "Th ey wanted something to do af- ing food tour in Chicago that her business model truly took shape. She began a "Lake to Lake" tour in 2011, entertaining partic- ipants from Lake Monona to Lake Mendota with stops at Madison favorites such as Fromagination, Chautara, Ian's Pizza and more in between. Although Hughes is launching an addi- tional tour of Monroe Street for the 2012 season, she is careful not to expand her business too quickly. "It's hard not to add more tours right away," she admits. "I've been working with the Small Business Development Center and they keep me focused on creat- ing the product that I have, and then start introducing other products." Whether you're entertaining friends, looking to try new restaurants, or wanting to experience a side of Madison you might not have seen before, a tour with Madison Food Explorers will be an afternoon deli- ciously spent. —Mollie Busby April 2012 33 Photo by Shanna Wolf

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