Gourmet Safaris November Newsletter


Wednesday, 1 November 2023

November Newsletter

Dear Friends

I wrote this newsletter from the bus driving through Portugal to visit many locations off the grid…20 guests on board on our second big adventure through Spain and Portugal.

After planning and checking and re-checking, it’s such a joy to see it all come together and know that it’s even better than we’d planned.

I’ve been on the road now since late August, leading our Safari through the Greek Islands and now in this gorgeous part of the world.

Across the aisle is my dear friend of many years Fatima who has been fundamental in making this trip absolutely shine – including a visit to her home for a big cooking day with her family helped by many in the village.  There were 2 wood-fired ovens cooking that day – one for traditional chourico bread and loaves; the other for a marinated lamb which her cousin George conducted his own cooking class with printed recipes.


We picked kale from a neighbour’s garden, enjoyed a detailed wine tasting of regional wines with a relative Isabell; loved the demonstrations of clams cooking in the shiny copper cataplana; learned how to slice kale and make the delicious dish migas, and heard how cousin Ze cooks like an angel with her light-as-air cakes using 10 eggs each.

This would be incredible food television…but we didn’t have a camera there – the best I can do is offer some pics for our newsletter and direct you to my Instagram  and Facebook – posts which cover every day in delicious detail.

Tomorrow we cross the border into Spain and meet the wonderful Frank Camorra who guides us for a week through Andalusia…and like Fatima, he is passionate about showing the real country – through the secret door into special locations, passing on recipes and tips, taking us through produce markets and at two different farmhouses, demonstrating recipes. Of course there’s always wine and tapas bars and history and visits to producers as well.

There is just so much packed into the schedule – and we received the loveliest feedback from Helen from Group 1:

“Portugal and Spain with Maeve, Fatima and Frank alongside Suzy preparing our seamless progression through all stages. What fun! Everything I hoped for and more. Another day, another adventure, another surprise. This is a great way to travel with like-minded people in a comfortable bus and interesting first class accommodation at every stop. When you think this day cannot be topped there is always another ahead where there are glorious food and wine, markets, history and the generosity of people warmly welcoming us into their homes, businesses and restaurants. An ongoing tribute to our leaders. A well balanced unforgettable trip. Thank you all.” (Helen)

And Jill from Group 2:

“Hi Maeve and Suzy, Wow what a trip – exceeded all expectations. The luxury accommodation was exceptional. The food and wine amazing. Loved the size of the group and the mix of people. Given the cost covered luxury accommodation, an abundance of delicious food and wine, cooking classes and so many “money can’t buy” experiences, with hosts Maeve, Fatima and Frank, this trip is excellent value. The passion that Fatima and Frank have elevates the experience. Frank was like a kid in a Lolly shop – the excitement at the jamon factory and the markets is very special to experience. Thank you so much 🥰🥰” Jill


Makes it all worthwhile to be appreciated.

Spanish Guides

Just a note for those of you travelling in Spain – we use the services of two wonderful guides who each has her own special side hustles – Aurora is a sherry expert who works in the bodegas. Fiona is a journalist who writes for major travel publications. They open doors for us and if you’re travelling independently, would be great to book for at least a day. They know the cool non-touristy places, where to eat/shop/loll in a bar. Here are their details.

Aurora Munoz in Jerez: aurora.munoz.cachon@gmail.com

Fiona Watson in Seville: fionacwatson@yahoo.co.uk


2024 travels

On travel, we have many of our 2024 trips full – there are just a few places on each of our Sardinia and Corsica trips (27 May – 7 June and 13 -24 June 2024)

And on our

Victorian High Country Safari 

The Victorian High Country adventure is early March and if you haven’t already joined us on this safari, do consider it. Some of our travellers on my current Portugal and Spain safari have done it and were talking the other night here in Portugal and saying it was the best safari they’d ever done. Wow! High praise.

It is a safari with a bit of everything and offers adventures each day with families and top restaurants, producers and winemakers, fun things like mushroom foraging and bocce playing. It’s truly charming and packed with many of my favourite people. Click here for more information and a sample itinerary


You’ll see Italian feasts are the standouts of a big delicious week – starting with our Sardinian host Pietro Porcu and finishing with an alfresco wood-fired feast from the Dal Zotto family in the King Valley. Plus cooking class and lunch with the Pizzini family; alfresco antipasto and lunch in the home of celebrated Umbrian queen Patrizia Simone; mushroom collecting and a cook at the home of my dear friend Franca; plus some of the best food experiences from celebrated hatted chef Michael Ryan at The Provenance; Jan Waddington, queen of the Kiewa Valley; artist Charles Sluga and photographer Nancy Sluga with an art morning in pretty Yackandandah; producers Snowline apples; Pepo farms, it’s a feast!

Uncle Frank

Some of you who follow me on social media may have already seen my wonderful Uncle Frank who lives in France (in the area north of Paris where the impressionists all painted and in the French Basque Country) and who kindly reads over every newsletter before we send (my late mother who was a journalist used to do this for me for endless magazine stories and book proofs and it’s great to have a family member remind me that my punctuation is all over the place etc etc.)

Frank is a former Franciscan friar who has written a book about his journey from Catholicism to atheism and writes a brilliant blog Blind Faith Blind Folly. https://blindfaithblindfolly.wordpress.com

Do have a read and leave a thought online – he adores comments. I stayed with him in the French Basque Country earlier this year and saw him delight in opening his computer in the mornings to see who had written comments overnight and where they were in the world. I’ll be seeing my dear uncle and my cousins at the end of this Portugal and Spain safari – along with my daughters Kitty and Carli. So good to reunite in France.

Thank you Frank for your brilliant mind and corrections.

2024 Gourmet Safaris dates for Sydney and Melbourne

Suzy has been working hard to get these dates organised for all our safaris. Click herefor the Sydney page on our site. More dates to come, so if you don’t see the tour you are looking for, please check in a few days.

We are delighted to announce we will again host a lunch at Ploos right on Sydney Harbour at The Rocks on Saturday 24th February.

This is late summer celebration of produce with chef Peter Conistis’ masterful Eastern Mediterranean dishes. Wines matched by Gapsted Estate.

We also have places on the following upcoming tours:

Middle East Safari – this Saturday 4 November 

Turkish Walking Safari – Saturday 25 November

All the best to you from what was a very uncomfortable front seat of the bus – but WOW the scenery was good as we journeyed through these beautiful countries.


Happy Spring time,

Maeve and Suzy 

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