When we travel, food is on the top of our agenda, and we’re not the only ones.
“High quality dining experiences are really putting the Gold Coast on the map as a foodie destination, and food tourism is one of our fastest growing markets,” says Karen Inglis-Turner, the owner/operator of Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours, which operates tours of a number of geographic areas.
Food and wine tours and cooking classes are a great way to get quick ‘catchups’ on the food scene from the perspective of a local.
We embark on a tour of Broadbeach with Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours. Karen greets tour participants, gives introductions, and tells us a little about the history of the area that we’ll be touring today – not too much, just the interesting bits, and then we’re off on our short walking tour…
Food. It’s the interest that we all have in common. Everyone needs to eat, but it’s also a communal activity where people talk and get to know each other. The walking tour is not a progressive dinner; nevertheless, we consume a fair amount of food and wine on our learning journey and gain lots of information about food production, cocktail making and coffee!
Our first stop is at a restaurant that has only been open two days. It’s part of the newly developed area under the Oasis Shopping Centre, a hub of nightlife with open air live music, fountains and a pedestrian mall.
Despite our proximity to Asia, there are few Indonesian restaurants on the coast. We dine on a feast of satays, beef rendang and other tasty Indonesian treats.
“We have local artisans serving up incredible fare every day,” says Karen. “I look for their specialties – the things that make them really stand out.”
Our second stop is a stand out gelato shop. Davide, the owner, is a graduate of the Gelato University in Bologna, which means that he’s a veritable professor of gelato! How special is that!
Everyone loves ice cream, but our group admits that we know very little about it, such as the difference between sorbet, gelato and ice cream. We visit the back of the shop where Davide’s signature dish is being made. Coming out of the machine this gelato doesn’t look particularly appealing, however looks can lie. It’s all about the taste. No preservative, artificial colouring or flavouring, just top quality Lindt cocoa. No wonder it tastes so scrumptious! The ‘OMG’ is a flavour explosion of Nutella and salted caramel. You could win a heart by buying someone you love this gelato, believe me!
Davide also has a new product that is taking social media by storm: the Gelato Panini. Although found in gelato bars in Italy, this is a first for Queensland! Tasting like a gelato-filed doughnut, it’s a must try!
On the way to our third stop, we check out two hidden bars that diners may like to come back to. It’s all about where to find great places, learning the tips from a local’s point of view, that makes a food tour so special.
Our third restaurant is a local favourite with a split menu – Aussie favourites and local fare. We enjoy a small plate of seafood and two taster glasses of wine. There’s more walking yet to come!
“I like learning the background – knowing where the food comes from,” Robyn says.
Our next stop is a great example of that. We’re here to learn how to make real pizza (the best of the best) accredited by Neapolitan standards that date back to the beginnings of this 1,000-year-old dish. Ninety seconds in the oven and the pizza is baked.
We sit down to enjoy it with a glass of Sangiovese. This is how friends are made – over a great pizza washed down with wine.
It’s then that I realise we’re having lunch and dinner in one food tour! By now, however, even those with larger appetites are slowing down!
As well as enjoying a signature dessert, we’re blown away by the cocktails at the last stop, concocted by Alex the mixologist to a family recipe. Some take photos, others write notes…but we all eat, drink, listen, talk, make new friends and generally have fun! That’s the point, right?
“What I love about this tour is that you can check out a whole bunch of places for a really good price and pretty much know they’re going to be good before you go there,” one of the participants, says.
Even for those who live on the Gold Coast there’s so much to discover in our own backyard. Our guided tour uncovers hidden dining gems, teaches us about food production, as well as introduces us to new friends. It’s not only great fun but also terrific value. With a variety of tours (including private tour guiding), it’s easy to pick the perfect present for the foodie in your life. You’ll find more information on the Gold Coast Food and Wine Tours’ website or Ph: 0432 456 102
NOTE: Some photos by @lightcapturer_com Ph: 0416 778 781