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Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)




12/11/2017

The Magic of Málaga: An Ancient Quintessentially Andalucian Port City With An International Outlook Is Rapidly Becoming a Not-to-be Missed Attraction on Any Discerning Traveler’s Tour of Southern Spain (Part One of Four)



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The Magic of Málaga

 Part One of Four
Photos and Text 
by Gerry Dawes©2017

 Painting of breakfast churros being made in times past at La Malagueña, one of the great breakfast stops for tejeringos, a type of churro made famous in Málaga. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017.

Churros cook Pablo at La Malagueña, one of the old quarter's great breakfast stops, making tejeringos, a type of locally famous in MálagaPhoto by Gerry Dawes©2017.

Until a trip in early May to attend the Málaga Gastronomy Festival, I was truly ignorant about Málaga and its unique culinary traditions.  For more than forty years I have wandered Spain, incessantly crisscrossing the country from top to bottom.  I have left few stones unturned. Except for places in the Catalan and Aragonese Pyrenees in northeastern Spain, Cartagena and much of Murcia province, a few outposts along the Portuguese border such as Cuidad Rodrigo, the city of Huelva in Andalucía and the farthest reaches of the northern coast of Galicia, I have pretty much covered the country and have visited many areas dozens of times.  It would seem that I would have delved as deeply into the major Andalucian city of Málaga--birthplace of Pablo Picasso and hometown of Antonio Banderas, who lives there now no less--as I have the other jewel cities of the South:  Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada and Cádiz. As I was to discover on this trip, I would regret that I had not made more time for Málaga, something I plan to remedy as soon as possible. 
I even lived for nearly three years in the province of Málaga 35 kilometers west of the city. My late former wife Diana and I ran The Dawes Gallery for Contemporary Art in Mijas, a picturesque tranquilo ex-patriate artist’s village perched high above the Costa del Sol.  But we seldom visited the provincial capital of Málaga itself, except on infrequent missions to deal with filing documents with the exasperating Spanish bureaucracy.  Even back then in the mid 1970s, traffic seemed to be a problem, so we generally avoided Málaga city.  
 
In retrospect, when we were living in Andalucía, the several pleasure outings we made to Málaga were memorable, including a few luncheons at the legendary seafood restaurant Antonio Martín (now revived as El Merendero de Antonio Martín), where my wife Diana and I had magical times dining at open-air tables right along the seawall.  We had a lovely lunch, invited by a sadly long-forgotten benefactor, at the rooftop restaurant of the Hotel Málaga Palacios overlooking the harbor and we spent a night at the Parador de Málaga Gibralfaro on its spectacular perch high above the city.    

Málaga harbor from the rooftop terrace restaurant of the Hotel AC Málaga Palacios. 
 Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017.

A couple of times, we ventured just east of Málaga’s harbor for lunch at one of the famous chiringuitos (way casual beach restaurants) on the Pedregalejo fishermen’s beach.  There were chanquetes (tiny whitebait crisply fried) and sardinas al espeto, half a dozen sardines stuck on cane spike espetos (spits) and grilled over wood fires right on the beach (now the government has decreed that these grill fires cannot be on the beach, instead they are done in sand-and-pebble filled fishermen’s dinghies in front of each restaurant).  And there were particularly memorable non-Spanish dinners at Le Pic Nic, a restaurant run by a very eccentric middle-aged French couple, she at the stoves in her slip cooking marvelous old-fashioned French country food such as rabbit in a cream sauce while her husband waited the tables and dispensed the vino. 

 Sardinas and whole fish cooking al espeto, on cane spits, over live wood coals at Las Acacias chiringuito on the Pedregalejo Beach in Málaga.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017.

Ironically, another memorable night took place on an American aircraft carrier anchored in Málaga harbor.  We had somehow met a U. S. Navy Captain pilot, with whom I had hit it off, since I had flown off aircraft carriers on Navy aircraft chasing the Soviet fleet around the Mediterranean as a Russian linguist enlisted man.  I invited the Captain to our house in Mijas for paella and he asked if he could bring a friend, an Iranian pilot training with American forces (Iran and the U. S. were still friendly then).  We passed an enjoyable afternoon with the two fliers and the Iranian pilot remarked that our paella reminded him of some Persian rice dishes in Iran.  The Navy Captain invited us to have dinner with him in the Admiral’s stateroom on board the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy in Málaga harbor.  

A Navy launch picked us up on the docks and took us to the carrier and we were given a tour of the flight deck on the carrier, where a mechanic working on an airplane with his boombox blaring American country music was a very surrealistic counterpoint to the backdrop of the illuminated Gibralfaro parador, the ancient Moorish Alcazaba fortress and Málaga harbor.  The dinner with half a dozen officers and the Admiral of the Sixth Fleet, a man who would not have surprised me if he opened his jacket and there was nothing but a robot underneath, was equally surreal: “Could you please pass the salt shaker, Fleet Commander, Sir?”

Ten years ago, one of the shore stops for a cruise ship on which I was lecturing about Spanish gastronomy, cheeses and wine docked in Málaga.  I went ashore like a tourist and photographed the wonderful Atarazanas Market, which is in a 19th-century iron-frame building fronted by a large 14th-century Moorish gate that once opened on to the harbor--but now due to centuries of development and landfill is a few blocks inside the city.  

 The wonderful Atarazanas Market, which is in a 19th-century iron-frame building fronted by a large 14th-century Moorish gate.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

  
Atarazanas Market, which is in a 19th century iron-frame building fronted by a large 14th-century Moorish gate.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.


 Olive seller, Mercado de Atarazanas, Málaga.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

On my shore prowl, for the first time, I visited the evocative Moorish fortress, the Alcazaba, which begins at the edge of the old quarter near the restored ruins of the Roman theater.   And I visited a few bars and restaurants, the most memorable of which were the venerable 19th' Century Málaga wine-dispensing bodega Antigua Casa de Guardia and the emblematic flamenco-and-bullfighter-centric restaurant in the old quarter near Málaga’s Cathedral, El Chinitas, which took its name from the 19th-centrury Málaga café cantante-teatro Chinitas (located nearby) made famous by Federico García Lorca and said to be the oldest flamenco café in Spain.  

El Chinitas, Málaga.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

 Painting of sailors on shore leave at La Antigua Casa de Guardia, Málaga.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.


 La Antigua Casa de Guardia, Málaga.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

All I saw in my short cruise ship shore excursion was promising.  I put Málaga on my list for a re-visit, but my some fifty wine-and-gastronomy travels and personal visits to Spain over the past decade were mostly in northern Spain, along the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Alicante or in the western part of Andalucia.  Except for a return visit to Mijas to visit old friends, Málaga did not tempt me enough to make time in my schedule for a follow-up visit.  

 Málaga Gastronomy Festival 2017 poster. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017.

I will not try to claim that Málaga’s culinary scene rivals Barcelona, San Sebastián or Madrid, but I found that not only were there some good authentic regional restaurants (augmented by the classic chiringuitos, those legendary beach-front joints specializing in wood-fire grilled sardines and whole fish);  funky, wonderful old-time tapas bars;  churros and chocolate emporiums; and the great Atarazanas market and its market bars, there were several promising modern cuisine restaurants.  And there are more than enough tourist attractions and ambience to warrant a serious visit and even an extended stay to this ancient, yet simultaneously modern, international and vibrant quintessential Mediterranean city.  

 Human statue of El Cenachero on Calle Larios, one of the most famous streets in Málaga.  Cenacheros were men who used to sell boquerones and sardines that they brought up in cenachos (baskets) from the fishing boats in the port, and sell them in the streets (and in villages, sometimes miles away from the sea).    Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

First off, it helps to separate Málaga city from the storied and somewhat notorious Costa del Sol, famous for its beaches, booze and high-rise vacation package tour hotels and apartments blocking views of the Mediterranean for miles. Much of the Costa del Sol caters to mass tourism, is attractive as a retirees’ haven and is home to Marbella, where I also once lived before it became the full-bore, high-rent magnet for well-heeled, but not well-behaved, nuevo Euro-ricos, Spanish celebrities, aristocrats, wealthy yacht owners, corrupt politicians (a redundancy these days) and those attracted to that scene which might be likened to a mini-Las Vegas, but by the sea and without the surfeit of casinos.  

Most people who fly into Málaga airport, located between Málaga and Torremolinos, upon landing take an immediate right turn and head west for Torremolinos, Fuengirola, Marbella, Estepona and on down to Sotogrande, the famous golf resort in neighboring Cádiz province.  And, though some of them may make a perfunctory day trip to Málaga for a visit to the Picasso Museum (Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881 and lived there for the first ten years of his life), but most visitors to the Costa del Sol remain scattered throughout the beaches town along the coast.   

Although there are plenty of foreign visitors, many of them off cruise ships for the day, Málaga has managed to maintain its very singular Andalucian character.  This ancient city that the Phoenicians knew as Malaka now deserves to break into the ranks of the not-to-be missed Andalucian classics--Sevilla, Granada and Córdoba--and become the fourth must-see city on the Andalucian circuit.  And, like, those other three cities, the restaurants, tapas bars and shopping in Málaga are intertwined with central city sites of real tourist merit such as the restored Roman theater, the 8th-century Alcazaba fortress, the 14th-century Moorish doorway to the wonderful Ataranzanas market, the 16th-18th century Italian Renaissance-style Cathedral (called La Manquita, the one-armed lady, because the builders ran out of money to finish the second bell tower meant to complement the existing one) and the life-size bronze statue of the great Danish fairy tale author, Hans Christian Andersen. 

Málaga harbor, lighthouse and Moorish Alcazaba fortress (middleground).   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.


Commissioned in 2004 for the 200th anniversary of the author's birth by the Danish Royal Family, the Statue of Hans Christian Andersen is a work in bronze by sculptor José María Córdoba and is located in the Plaza de la Marina de Málaga.  Andersen visited Málaga in October of 1862 and loved the city.   You can sit beside him on the bench and peek into his bag, which contains The Ugly Duckling.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

Augmenting the city’s historical treasures, Málaga, in just a little more than a decade has become a serious art museum attraction with the Picasso Museum (opened in 2003), the Casa Natal de Picasso (the artist’s restored home of his youth), Museo Carmen Thyssen (a collection of more than 200 paintings from the collection of the Spanish baroness who owns many of the paintings at the  Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid), el Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Centre Pompidou Málaga (the only branch outside of France), the Colección del Museo Ruso (believe it or not, an outpost of the State Russian Museum collection in St. Petersburg),  and a burgeoning artsy neighborhood called SOHO next to the port contribute to the city’s now considerable cultural attractions. 

 Sign on a bus stop in Málaga, advertising the then relatively new Picasso Museum, which opened 2003 and has been a major draw for tourists ever since.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

Spaniards have a saying, mejor tarde que nunca, better late than never.  Late my re-discovery of Málaga may be, but I plan to make up for lost time and put this magical city high on my agenda for future visits.

 Spanish draft cerveza and habitas con jamón (baby faba beans with serrano ham) at Restaurante El Chinitas in Málaga.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2006.

End of Part One

The Magic of Málaga (Part Two of Four: A Quintessentially Andalucian Port City With An International Outlook Is Rapidly Becoming a Not-to-be Missed Attraction


The Magic of Málaga, Picasso’s Hometown: The Unique Traditional Andalusian Ambience and Cuisine of a Trending Modern City (Part Three of Four)



The Magic of Málaga, Picasso’s Hometown: Unique Traditional Andalusian Ambience and Cuisine of a Trending Modern City (Part Four of Four)

Help Support Gerry Dawes's Spain & Its Content

If you enjoy these blog posts, please consider a contribution to help me continue the work of gathering all this great information and these photographs for Gerry Dawes's Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel. Contributions of $5 and up will be greatly appreciated. Contributions of $100 or more will be acknowledged on the blog. Please click on this secure link to Paypal to make your contribution.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 


". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 

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Pilot Trailer for a Proposed Television Reality Series
(Click on the arrow to play.)
All Rights Reserved, EO Agency, Copyright
 

11/26/2017

New Michelin Three Rosette Restaurants in Spain: ABaC Barcelona & Chef Jordi Cruz and Chef Angel León A Poniente in El Puerto de Santa María


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ABaC and Three-star Chef Jordi Cruz from Gerry Dawes on Vimeo.

Congratulations to my great friend Chef Jordi Cruz Mas for receiving his third Michelin rosette at Restaurante Hotel ABaC in Barcelona and to Chef Angel León, a genius with seafood dishes at A Poniente in El Puerto de Santa María, who also was awarded a third rosette. 

 Chef Jordi Cruz Mas in his kitchen at Restaurante Hotel ABaC in Barcelona.  
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2017.



Chef Angel León, a genius with his embutidos del mar, seafood charcuterie, at A Poniente in El Puerto de Santa María.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2017.

I am no fan of Michelin, for a lot of good reasons, not the least of which is that they have been screwing their gastro-tourism rival Spain for many years by not awarding Spanish restaurants the rosettes so many of them so richly deserve. 

However, I know what this means to both Jordi Cruz and Angel León and I know how hard they both worked to reach this goal and how well deserved this award is in both cases. 

I have been following Jordi Cruz Mas since he was at Restaurante L'Angle in Manresa, where he was doing brilliant and delicious (always) food.

___________________________________________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/24/2017

Quoted on Torta del Casar Cheese by Chef-Author James Campbell Caruso in his Book España: Exploring The Flavors of Spain


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Chef James Campbell Caruso at his restaurant La Boca in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017

Torta del Casar—My friend and Spanish food and wine guru Gerry Dawes lovingly describes one of the best cheeses in the world:

“A raw sheep’s milk cheese from villages near the provincial capital of Cáceres in the Extremadura region of west central Spain. Rustic, delicious, creamy, buttery, hints of dill and thyme, with an assertive, but pleasant finish. Very rich, fairly intense and flavorful cheese that is delightfully creamy and spreadable in the springtime versions. Very similar in style to the French vacherin Mont d’Or, except that it is not made with cows’ milk. Torta del Casar and its cousin cheese, Torta de la Serena, use only wild milk thistle rennet (not animal rennet) to coagulate the milk, which is an ancient Moorish and Jewish dietary custom.”



Torta del Casar.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017
_________________________________________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/15/2017

Video: The great cortador de jamones (ham cutting artist), Florencio Sanchidrián, cutting hams at his Rincón de Jabugo restaurant in his Gran Hostal San Segundo in Ávila, Spain.


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The great cortador de jamones (ham cutting artist), Florencio Sanchidrián, with a panettone from Spain’s pastry maestro, Paco Torreblanca, at Florencio’s Rincón de Jabugo restaurant in his Gran Hostal San Segundo in Ávila, Spain. Jan. 21, 2014.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 /gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest.  Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.   

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 The great cortador de jamones (ham cutting artist), Florencio Sanchidrián, cutting hams at his Rincón de Jabugo restaurant in his Gran Hostal San Segundo in Ávila, Spain.  Jan. 21, 2014

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Click on link for:

Bio, Awards, Quotes from Famous Chefs and Culinarians, etc.  & Custom Tours of Spain

Contact:  gerrydawes@aol.com 

Trailer for a reality television series with Gerry Dawes 
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/14/2017

Chinchón III: Upgraded to Four Stars! Back a La Balconada, One of My Favorite Castilian Cuisine Restaurants. Chef-owner Manuela Nieto Recio and her Husband Isidro Olivar. This time with John (Docsconz) and L. J. Sconzo



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Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí) Four-Watch Rating.

A return to La Balconada for the second time in three months, this time it was Kay and I with my good friend John Sconzo (Docsconz: Musings on Food and Life and his son and equally good friend, L. J. (Ele Jota).  

 
 Alcachofas con jamón, La Balconada on La Plaza Mayor of Chinchón. Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com. 
 
 
Our steak, pieces of which were cooked over a super-hot piece of stone center table, La Balconada, Chinchón. Jan. 25, 2014. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon 5D Mark III / Tokina 17-35mm f/4. 

 
After-dinner Anís Chinchón Dulce (and Anís Chinchón seco) with Manuela’s arroz con leche and leche frita, two classic Spanish desserts at La Balconada, Chinchón. Jan. 25, 2014. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon 5D Mark III / Tokina 17-35mm f/4. 

 
Manuela Nieto, chef-owner of La Balconada, Chinchón is one of the best cooks in Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha. Jan. 25, 2014.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon 5D Mark III / Tokina 17-35mm f/4. 

Kay Balun, Chef-owner Manuela Nieto, her husband and director de la sala, Isidro Olivar, John Sconzo (Docsconz: Musings on Food and LIfe) and L. J. Sconzo at La Balconada, Chinchón. Jan. 25, 2014. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon 5D Mark III / Tokina 17-35mm f/4. 


 
Slide Show of Our Dinner at La Balconada, Jan. 25, 2014


 
Mural in the stairway to the entrance to La Balconada.
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

Manuela Nieto is one of the best cooks in Castile. Her alcachofas con jamón, artichokes cooked with Ibèrico ham; her huevos rotos con patatas, broken eggs over fried potatoes with a touch of vinegar; gazpacho; alubias con almejas, beans with clams; grilled asparagus and many other dishes are second to none. This is a serious, elegant, classical restaurant in a very charming, but touristy town. 

 
Chef-owner Manuela Nieto Recio and her husband Isidro Olivar of La Balconada.
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.
 

Alubias con almejas, beans with clams with a glass of Madrid D.O. vino tinto 
at La Balconada La Plaza Mayor of Chinchón.
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.


La Balconda Slide Show.
(Double click on images to enlarge and click on slide show and F11 for full-frame in Picasa.)



_________________________________________________________________________________________________

About Gerry Dawes


Writing, Photography, & Specialized Tours of Spain & Tour Advice
For custom-designed tours of Spain, organized and lead by Gerry Dawes, and custom-planned Spanish wine, food, cultural and photographic itineraries, send inquiries to gerrydawes@aol.com.  


I have planned and led tours for such culinary stars as Chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello and such personalities as baseball great Keith Hernandez and led on shorter excursions and have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities such as Drew Nieporent, Norman Van Aken, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, Christopher Gross, Rick Moonen, James Campbell Caruso and many others.
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“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . . the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” Michael Paterniti, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and The World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

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"Gerry Dawes, I can't thank you enough for opening up Spain to me." -- Michael Chiarello on Twitter. 

"Chiarello embarked on a crash course by traveling to Spain for 10 days in 2011 with Food Arts
contributing authority Gerry Dawes, a noted expert on Spanish food and wine.  Coqueta's (Chiarello's new restaurant at Pier Five, San Francisco) chef de cuisine, Ryan McIlwraith, later joined Dawes for his own two week excursion, as well. Sampling both old and new, they visited wineries and marketplaces, as well as some of Spain's most revered dining establishments, including the Michelin three-star Arzak, Etxebarri, the temple to live fire-grilling; Tickets, the playful Barcelona tapas bar run by Ferran Adrià and his brother, Albert; and ABaC, where Catalan cooking goes avant-garde." - - Carolyn Jung, Food Arts, May 2013.


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"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections
 * * * * *
Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.



In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés.



". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 



Pilot for a reality television series with Gerry Dawes  
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

11/13/2017

A Jamón Ibérico Cutting Primer Video with Cortador de Jamón Juanma Aguilar at Emilio and Alejandro García’s Casa Montaña in Valencia


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Video Primer on Spanish Hamcutting, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota with Expert Cortador de Jamones (Hamcutter) Juanma Aguilar from Gerry Dawes on Vimeo.

Cortador de Jamón Juanma Aguilar
Pernilaria Mucho Más Que Jamón
Puzol (Valencia) 
xarcuteriadejuanma@gmail.com

Demonstrating His Expertise in Cutting 
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota

at Emilio and Alejandro García’s Casa Montaña,
Calle de José Benlliure, 69 46011 Valencia
Tel: +34 963 672 314

Video, Translations & Commentary
by Gerry Dawes©2017


___________________________________________________  
 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/03/2017

Jewish Spain: Toledo Santa Maria La Blanca 12th-Century Ibn Shushan Synagogue


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Toledo Santa Maria La Blanca  
12th-Century Ibn Shushan Synagogue

Now maintained by the Catholic Church as la Iglesia de Santa Maria la Blanca, this unique 12th-Century Ibn Shushan synagogue, thought to be the oldest synagogue in Europe, is of Mudéjar construction and was contracted by Jews in Toledo and built by Moorish craftsmen in a style desired by their Jewish patrons, when all three religions were living in relative "convivencia." There are few greater examples in the world of the influences of three great religions under one roof. Although this marvelous structure with its horseshoe arches could easily be mistaken for a mosque and an exceptionally beautiful one at that, it was a synagogue. 

During the period when this synagogue was flourishing in the late 12th to early 15th centuries, Toledo became a city of exceptional historical importance to the Western World, because of the Toledo School of Translators, many of the best of them Jewish. Here the great philosophical, scientific and religious works of the Greeks and Arabs were translated, at first into Latin, later into what was nascent Castilian Spanish. This was being done at a time in Spain when the rest of Europe was living in the Early Middle Ages and considered many of the works being translated in Toledo to be heretical. 

"Under Alfonso's leadership--GD note: 13th century, Alfonso X de Castilla, el Sabio, the Wise, ruled from 1252-1284, at a time when this synagogue was flourishing--Sephardic Jewish scientists and translators acquired a prominent role in the School. They were highly valued by the King because of their intellectual skills and mastery of the two languages most used in the translations: Arabic and Castilian.The King kept some of the Jewish scholars as his personal physicians, and recognized their services with splendid favors and praises. Alfonso's nephew Juan Manuel wrote that the King was so impressed with the intellectual level of the Jewish scholars that he commissioned the translation of the Talmud, the law of the Jews. . . ." -- Wikipedia (Google Toledo School of Translators)

So, this lovely synagogue in Toledo is a great symbol of what people from various religions can achieve when they work together towards goals that are beneficial to all, not just to their own narrow interests, as some minds of the Middle Ages mentality are trying do in this country today, striving towards bigotry rather than enlightment. L'Shana Tovah.

Photographs by Gerry Dawes copyright 2017.

___________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

Rant on European Hotel Facilities - Spanish Division


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If the men who designed those half-assed glass water shields in European (and some American) showers had to clean up the mess on the floor, they would be gone in no time. But, they know that FEMALE maids clean the rooms, so they do not give a shit. 

Do not get me started on the nutsy design and booby traps built into European bathrooms. Sometimes I photograph them. One of the most ridiculous was in Oviedo, Spain, a bedroom with a computer desk facing a picture window that looked into the bathroom with a prime view of the toilet! I guess you are supposed to get work done on the computer while your mate relieves him or herself! 

And black sinks that show every bit of soap, toothpaste and shaving cream, which makes even the fastidious traveler feel like a pig!

     Design esthetics are trumped by the esthetics of reality.  Dark colored sinks like this one in a hotel in Barcelona look great when you first walk into the bathroom, but in reality they show in high relief toothpaste, shaving cream and any other residue making the bathroom a perpetual mess.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest.  Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30 43-86mm f3.3 – f6.4.

The other great stunt that has become a plague in the past decade or so is removing bidets and replacing them with high sinks--you get the picture. 

Then there are the "modern" shower fixtures that it takes three days in a hotel to learn how to operate. And usually, the more expensive hotel, the worse the bathrooms are configured. At one high end joint, there was a magnificent deep stone-and-tile bathtub with a rain shower. Catch: To turn on the shower, you had to get in the tub and reach under the shower head to turn it on, which guaranteed a cold water dousing as your wake up call. 

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Photo: Hotel room horror shows: Madrid, booby-trap shower. Note rain-head shower, which you will not figure out how to turn on without help from the front desk, so first you get your body zapped by four horizontal shower jets that shoot cold water on your body (in my case, shooting a jet of ice water onto my cojones!). Then, when you figure out how to shut that off, you can't figure out the rain shower, which is fortunate because you would be doused with cold water from above. The first day, I ended up showering with the 'telephone' shower head. By the second day, with some careful experimentation, I managed to figure out which of three handles and a changer device how to turn on the rain shower with just a shot of cold water on my arm! The personnel at this Madrid hotel, who otherwise has many commendable qualities, know about this crazy design and to their credit, admit that they know it. Makes you wonder if some hotel executive's relative designs or sells bathroom fixtures. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30 43-86mm f3.3 – f6.4.

And lest I forget, the goddamned nórdico or duvet, an hermetically sealed pressure cooker bed covering guaranteed to ruin a night's sleep. Every time I check into a hotel and forget to tell them that I need it changed to sheets and a blanket, then return to the hotel after midnight, I consign myself to a bad night (body too warm, arms too cold, a war with my internal thermostat!). 


Hotel room booby traps: Madrid, the dreaded evil nórdico or duvet, which has become a plague in Spain in recent years.  It is basically a quilt encased in a sheet, which traps most of one's body heat under the cover, resulting in a pressure cooker effect.  It is like trying to sleep in in a stewpot, except that any parts of you outside the 'nordico' are at a sharply lower temperature, which for me makes sleep impossible.   Last night was horrible, got it changed today to sheets and blankets and got a decent night's sleep (for Spain, six hours).  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest.  Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30 43-86mm f3.3 – f6.4.

And this (fortunately not in a hotel):

 Hygienic toilet in Ronda, Spain.

 ___________________________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 


". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 


11/01/2017

Sherry Primer with Gerry Dawes - Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Part Two Amontillados Olorosos Creams


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 Now retired Javier Hidalgo pouring old Oloroso from barrels at Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
___________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

 Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 
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