The following quote by legendary Kiwi winemaker Michael Glover of Mahana Estate, is the perfect allegory of the Gourmet Journeys philosophy.
A bottle of wine is the end result of a cold winter of pruning, a hopeful spring of growth, a summer of ripening and a nervous autumn of anticipation. Fruit is harvested and turned into wine. That wine can then mature in wooden barrels before bottling. At some point the bottle is opened and poured. This is when the real story begins. A bottle of wine can tell a story of seasons, people and places. It may be conservative or it may be adventurous. It may be loud or it may be quiet. Regardless, it will resonate with some people and not with others….it will be personal.
The team at Gourmet Journeys understand that travelling as part of a tour group is not everyone’s preferred choice and is why we offer a variety of flexible options and choices to ensure that you will be completely satisfied at the end of your New Zealand sojourn - be it as small group tour or a private journey. We recognise our clients appreciate and enjoy quality food and wine experiences, premium levels of accommodation and transportation, partnered with knowledgeable and locally based professional tour directors and suppliers.
While our food and wine contacts form the core ingredients to our distinctive arrangements and ensure that every tour is unique, as integral to the Gourmet Journeys philosophy is that each and every ground arrangement is supported by quality, dependable travel operators, suppliers and hoteliers.
During the research and development of every inclusion, we personally visit every supplier before deciding if their product is a match with both the Gourmet Journeys creative menu and its philosophy. Indeed, along with developing new relationships, some of the existing contacts go back many years - and have proven time and again, we can depend on them to provide all Gourmet Journeys travellers with a truly superior experience.
Anne Stewart is both a passionate food and wine enthusiast and a well travelled travel industry professional - with over three decades in the dynamic travel and tourism industry. Early in her career, Anne was offered a fabulous opportunity to attend an agents famil trip to New Zealand and discovered her spiritual home. To this day she will tell you, for some reason known only to the universe she was born on the wrong side of the Tasman Sea.
Shortly after this trip, Anne resigned her 'real job' and returned to work as a Tour Cook with Freedom Holidays, a kiwi based large group camping tour operator. Imagine a busload of 18-35 year olds on holiday (!), luggage lockers filled with 4 gas camp cooking rings, volatile gas bottles, 2 x large chilly bins (coolers) and boxes and boxes of tinned goods, portable camp tables + chairs, enormous cooking pots etc etc + a 22 day x two island tour itinerary AND then add to this organised chaos, NZ's "every season in a day" fickle weather…
She survived (as importantly, so did her tour participants) along with a dawning realisation that the success of her menu was directly attributable to the glorious fresh, seasonal produce bought at roadside stalls and farm-gates - along with some basic cooking and organisational skills!
Crisscrossing the country, she formed many lasting relationships with these farmers, artisan producers, chefs and winemakers and it was as she heard their stories, visited their kitchens, helped out at harvests or sourced produce fresh from market gardens, that she came to realise this wasn't part of most travellers experiences - and an idea for what was to eventually become Gourmet Journeys, slowly commenced fermentation.
Three years ago, Anne founded Gourmet Journeys in response to the unprecedented growth in the demand for unique hand crafted itineraries based primarily on cultural food and wine experiences. In a world which increasingly thrives on experiential travel, it's often hard to find these authentic and lesser known local gems - particularly in New Zealand, with both operators and tourists alike distracted by the iconic scenery.
In late 2015, premium travel resource the Robb Report predicted that New Zealand would be the next food capital of the world; not too bad for a country just twice the size of NY state and with only half the population of New York city.