Two of Melbourne’s most inspired and ever-changing cultural elements, food and art, are brilliantly explored in this new walking tour
The city of Melbourne is filled with wonderful little surprises and hidden treasures. In fact, one of the great charms about it is that even the most loyal and long-serving resident can learn something new or discover a unique delight nearly every time they venture into town.
Two of the city’s most iconic elements are the amazing array of art and the endless list of incredible food options. While it can be fun exploring on your own, there is nothing quite like being taken through the streets and alleyways by an expert.
Melbourne Food Experiences has been operating for some 10 years, offering a wide range of cooking classes and food tours. A new addition to the stable is The Melbourne Art + Food Tour, offering a four-hour guided walking tour exploring the ever-changing art scene, with a wonderful sample of the Melbourne food scene thrown in along the way.
The tour may be new, but it’s been very well considered. The objective is to tell a story of Melbourne’s art scene, rather than just selecting a few galleries. A smattering of related food elements is then added to enrich the experience (plus to give the legs a little rest).
Starting with Indigenous art at the NGV, the itinerary moves through Melbourne’s iconic Hosier Lane for the incredible street art, before meandering through some wonderful little niche galleries, back to some street art and into a couple of the better known mid-sized galleries. In the process, you will experience traditional art, ever-changing street art, conceptual, modern … and pieces that manage to blend all elements together.
Interspersed with this – while also helping give the day its shape and structure – is a selection of related food. Beautiful high-end dumplings, decadent chocolate brownies with coffee, a traditional Vietnamese pho and a delicate duck waffle with a glass of pinot may seem like an odd combination, but when placed with its counterpart – be it an alleyway of edgy wall art or a fine gallery with contemporary pieces – it all makes perfect sense. In fact, such is the structure of the hand-selected food and art, that one enriches the other.
Despite the four-hour length, time moves pretty quickly as the variety is high and the time allocated for each stop is well-paced. Helping bring all of this together is the excellent knowledge and friendly nature of the guides. This is clearly not just a job; but rather an opportunity to share a passion – and the excitement is infectious. And this is what ultimately makes the tour so worthy of joining.
After all, a friend might introduce you a new food outlet they’ve just discovered or you could accidentally take a left turn instead of a right and stumble across a tiny independent art gallery, but you wouldn’t have the insider’s expert commentary.
Whatever knowledge you have when you come in, it is pretty much guaranteed that you will leave with something new. It might be the discovery of a new gallery or eatery. Or it might be a better understanding of the street art culture and why some works hold a presence in the alleyway for years while others can be removed overnight. Or it might even be an explanation of a restaurateur’s history and the decision-making that led to a new venture. Or so much more. And even when you finish the day with a sensory overload of new experiences and a new knowledge base to impress your friends, you know that you can come back in a month to discover a new world again.
By Jonathan Green
Melbourne Food Experiences w: www.melbournefoodexperiences.com.au t: 1800 801 838 e: firstname.lastname@example.org