What do you do if you have a severe case of wanderlust, graced with a gourmet’s eye for a melting morsel or a devious drop? There’s one answer as clever as ever seen - keep them all together of course, start a business that pursues these ends and pursue the success of the business.
Which is exactly what Gabriela and Graeme Clarke have done and are happily still doing through their company, Walkabout Gourmet Adventures. They have devised tours for wandering gourmets which take in the better parts of southern Australia, including the coasts of Victoria and Tasmania and the mountains of those states and New South Wales.
They roam other parts of the countryside too, with tantalising tours covering the terrain of Victoria’s National Parks. Walkabout have tours through Crete or the provinces of France, or combining the best of country France and Spain, or a triangle through France, Germany and Switzerland, even a walk through the romantic paths of Bavaria, Austria and the Dolomites.
When you contemplate their backgrounds, the focus Walkabout has on good food and keeping it in country areas is quickly unravelled.
Graeme Clarke was born and bred in country Victoria and has always had a passion for the outdoors, with a special interest in flora and fauna.
Little wonder then, that tours take in the beauty of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, staying at a dairy farm, or, for an experience in the Grampians, use a sheep property nearby for accommodation.
Getting to know country people and enjoying their justly reputed hospitality is a key focus of the operation.
So too is the tucker and here’s where Gabriela shows her colours. Originally from Europe, she is a Cordon Bleu chef and has created a wonderful range and style of fare you’d never expect to be greeted with in the wilderness.
The freshest ingredients of the season are always used, so on a coastal tour you might expect to find seafood, in the mountains it might something a little heartier, while wandering the country you might be lunching at a winery.
Or on Walkabout’s King Island tour you might try the island’s fabled crayfish or beef or their dairy products - like the bries that compare with the best that France has to offer.
Of course, if it’s French brie you want, Gabriela can arrange that too, while your walking your way through France and it’s provinces. In Europe the emphasis is on good food and accommodation using hotels and guest houses which enhance the country atmosphere and offer the best in regional cuisine.
A new development of Walkabout’s could see the best in regional cuisine offered closer to home this winter - they are building their own Seasons Retreat lodge at Dinner Plain in the Victorian Alps with something in all seasons - for skiers when there’s snow on the ground and for fishermen when there isn’t, not to mention activities such as walking, cycling, rafting, fishing, rock climbing or abseiling.