Gourmet Safaris September 2022 newsletter

Safari lunches

Since we started 24 years ago, we’ve always created wonderful lunches and to celebrate our birthday, Gourmet Safaris hosted a number of extended lunches and they were so good we have to repeat them all. Some will be scheduled early next year…and our Sri Lankan Feast at Colombo Social returns on Saturday 5th November. This was such a glorious day of cooking demonstrations inducing the street food favourite kottu roti and how to make pol sambal – the fresh coconut side dish that sings with flavour.

And best is the feeling that you’re almost in a family home as Shirani and son Shaun share stories and show how glorious the Sri Lankan kitchen can be. With matched wines from Gapsted Wines in the High Country.

Here’s a Sample menu 

Click here to book 

Walking safaris

This is such a wonderful way to immerse and experience a neighbourhood. We are delighted to make use of our long term connections to family businesses who offer behind the scenes access and many great tastes…

Our Lebanese walking Safari of Punchbowl is where it all began when I took my mother’s group to go for a traditional dinner. They loved it, said I should do more. Great advice.

We visit a range of small family businesses and taste and learn about the ingredients and techniques to easily create a feast at home. Guide Judy Saba is a great cook and teacher. Join us on Saturday 8 October or 12 November. Click here to book 


Vietnamese walking Safari of Cabramatta never fails to dazzle; with that whoosh of being somewhere else, full of new tastes and sights and sounds. I’m always saying “thank God they came” and also very thankful of our long term guide Peter Nguyen who shows us his backyard and some of the herbs and ingredients and fabulous dishes to sample. Sunday 16 October. Click here to book 

Marrickville Producers Safari is full of enterprising people making delicious things along the back streets of a light industrial area where the “Marrickville pause” punctuates conversation as planes come low overhead. Such a lot to discover and we’ve been lucky enough to have businesses agree to open just for us. Coffee roasters, world class porcelain ceramic makers, sourdough muffin makers, ethical butcher, Italian cheesemaking, gin distillery and 5 star lunch.  Wednesday 19 October, Thursday 10 NovemberClick here to book 

Bus safaris

Melbourne Gourmet Safari – this Saturday 3 September – 2 places available. Click here to book


Spice Safari – around the world in 100 Spices. We start in the Persian world with saffron and a range of ingredients that date back thousands of years…enjoy a generous tasting of a couple of classic dishes plus Persian tea, tiny figs, rose petals, white mulberries and more, then into the Turkish world with sumac and nigella seeds, pepper pastes and rose petal jams; followed by Lebanese coffee and a huge range of ingredients, then Indian lunch with cooking demonstration from our favourite chef Kumar Mahadevan. Saturday 24 September or 29 October.  Click here to book

French on Saturday – Always popular, our immersion into the French world is truly magnifique. From luscious cheeses and golden baguettes, light as the air pastries and a whole range of generous tastes and stories in an elegant providores, plus a cookware store full of goodies and gadgets and lunch within hosted by the lovely David Bitton. Saturday 8 October or 12 November.  Click here to book 


Best of Mediterranean – Ah the food of the sun-soaked Mediterranean – warm welcomes and generous tastes from right around the Mediterranean with tastes and demonstrations from all our gorgeous family businesses. Don’t miss this. Saturday 19 November. Click here to book.

Turkish Auburn

For over 20 years I’ve loved the immersion in Auburn. It’s been such a delicious playground. From the moment I turn off and see the spires of the minarets on the Auburn Gallipoli mosque sparkling in the sunshine I know I’m in for warm welcomes and exotic food. And I always find something new.

When we first came to Auburn I met the dynamic Arzu, then a journalist and running Vatan, the local Turkish newspaper. She wrote a story about our tours and what non-Turkish people loved to see when they came to Auburn. In the story (translated for me from Turkish) our groups were referred to as “tourists”. (By the way I have no idea why we are pictured with her sitting on my lap!!)

Not long after (2004) Vogue magazine came and did a 6 page story entitled East Meets West. I love that so many faces and places that appear in that story are still a part of our tours.

Like Nerman whose family create delicious breads and simit at the Menzil bakery. Our children are about the same age. And she is ageless!

I love the tiles of her beautiful shop and the golden bread and aroma of baking. I love the new za’atar simit (sesame studded bagel like roll) which combines my favourite spice with a delicious bread, dipped in pomegranate molasses and smothered in sesame.

I love the long connections with supermarket Gima which was once a small grocery shop and is now a combined fresh produce, great butchery with Efe Butchery making kebabs and marinades and kofte and son Mohammed showing “tourists” how to make a kebab. Last visit he called sujuk sausage (hung in coils at the shop) as ’Turkish pepperoni”

I love that this is Australia now – an Aussie accented young man being the bridge between the Turkish food traditions of his family and visitors keen to learn.

And back to Arzu – she and her husband chef Sedat have created such a successful business down an alleyway in Auburn. Cook and Co creates the best abundant breakfasts for us, as well as being the start and lunch spot for our Turkish Walking safaris. I love our continuing friendship and collaboration (and check out Arzu’s new business: https://www.lokmades.com.au)

The best way to learn is through a local showing you…and our guide Ulku Gani is not just a brilliant home cook with lots of recipes, she loves to share her story and her culture.

I love Auburn. Come and join us:

Turkish Walking tour on Saturday 15 October (4 places available) and 19 November  (that’s 10am to 3pm) Click here to book 

Turkish Breakfast is on Saturday 1 October and Saturday 26 November – 9.30am to 12noon. Click here to book

Travels in 2023

So many adventures ready and waiting.

We will send details next newsletter for Sardinia and Corsica, Spain and Portugal, Greek Islands, New Zealand.

Plus Australian safaris – Victorian High Country, South Australia and Tasmania.

I’m heading to Greece with a group and chef Peter Conistis. Do follow our adventures on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/maeveomeara/

Suzy has annual leave and in her place is our Greek guide Ange Alegounarias (please leave a message if phone is unattended)

Come and explore with us … such joyous days.


STOP PRESS – this Saturday 3rd September

Melbourne Multi Cuisine Bus Safari with Maeve Just a couple of spaces still available. Click here to book


Maeve and Suzy 

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