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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)




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



* * * * *


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.
 * * * * *
“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


* * * * *
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. 

No automatic alt text available.
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.
 

Sherry Primer with Gerry Dawes - Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Part One Manzanilla


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Sherry Primer with Gerry Dawes - Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Part One Manzanilla
from Gerry Dawes on Vimeo.

With Robert Balun

___________________________________________________  

 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.
 

Gerry Dawes on the Aging Potential of at Palacio de Fefiñanes, Cambados (Pontevedra), Galicia

* * * * * 




___________________________________________________  

 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.
 

10/30/2017

Spending Time with Juan Gil, Marqués de Figueroa, at Palacio de Fefiñanes, Cambados (Pontevedra), Galicia and Ranting on Oak in Wines and Other Heresies.


* * * * *

 
Video courtesy of Devour.tv
Sorry for the poor light in much of this video.  Think of this as an audio podcast with hints of video.  Something went awry with the camera (not mine), but the audio captured my philosophy about wine. 
___________________________________________________  

 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.
 

How To Carve A Joselito Jamón Ibérico


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(Courtesy of Joselito, Guijuelo, Salamanca)
______________________________________________________  

 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.
 

10/16/2017

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


* * * * *
The Magic of Málaga, Picasso’s Hometown: 
Part Four of Four


Text & Photographs by Gerry Dawes©2017
 

Pablo Picasso refrigerator magnets, sold on the streets of Málaga.

Frequently during my peregrinations in the old quarter, I saw signs pointing to the Picasso Museum and to his natal home, announcements with photographs of Picasso on them, drawings and photographs in restaurants (like the ones at Casa de Guardia and El Chinitas), Picasso reproductions in souvenir shops and even refrigerator magnets of Picasso as a mature artist painting.  There is also a bronze statue in the Plaza de la Merced of middle-aged Picasso seated on a bench with a pencil and a drawing pad.  

The statue in the Plaza de la Merced depicting a scene of a middle-aged Picasso on a bench in Málaga poised to make a drawing, something that could not have occurred here during his adult life, as depicted.  (Photo courtesy of Lovely World.)

But, though Pablo Ruíz Picasso was born in Málaga in 1881, he lived there for just the first ten years of his life.  His father was an artist and art instructor and Picasso, then just Pablo Ruíz (Spaniards take both their father´s and mother´s names, but are usually known by the father´s name).   Legend, abetted by Picasso himself, has a very precocious young Pablo beginning to draw before he could talk and when he did began speaking, it is claimed that his first word was "'piz," a shortened version of lápiz, Spanish for pencil. 

Picasso hated school and as a young boy he had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the old quarter of Málaga to school, where he ignored his teachers and spent most of his day drawing at his desk. 

Because of the family´s fragile economic circumstances, his father took another job teaching art  and his family moved to A Coruna in Galicia for a few years, then to Barcelona, where Picasso began hanging out (and drawing inspiration) at the artists-owned Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) Café in 1900.  During vacations, the Ruíz Picasso (his father was José Ruíz, his mother Maria Picasso) family had visited relatives in Málaga.  But, Picasso returned to Málaga for the last time after Christmas in 1900 with his ill-fated, suicidal Catalan friend Carles Casagemas.  He moved permanently to France in 1905 and returned to Spain only for vacations in and around Barcelona.  

During the Spanish Civil War and WWII, Picasso, a fervent anti-Fascist, remained in France.  Commissioned in 1937 during the Civil War by the Spanish Republic,  Picasso painted Guernica, the famous anti-Fascist painting inspired the Nazi-led bombing of the Basque village of Gernika on market day during the Spanish Civil War.   After the war, Picasso kept the vow he made to never return as long as Civil War victor, the Fascist Dictator Francisco Franco, was alive.  

 Guernica (Gernika in Basque) by Pablo Picasso, Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid.

Sadly, Franco outlived Picasso, who died in 1973, by two and a half years, so the great artist never returned to Spain after the Civil War, and apparently, except for those few family visits and the post-Christmas jaunt when he was 19, never returned to Málaga.  Though the city has every right to promote itself as Picasso’s birthplace and to promote the excellent Picasso Museum, there is little of substance to Picasso’s early home and the statue in the Plaza de la Merced depicting a scene of a middle-aged Picasso on a bench in Málaga poised to make a drawing, something that could not have occurred here as depicted.  

During our stay, our crew of journalists spent one day outside of Málaga, visiting the good La Torre olive oil producing facility and orchards, then to Cortijo de la Fuente, a Sierras de Málaga winery making unremarkable wines, and on to the Stone Age dolmens in Antequera, one of Málaga province’s oldest and most interesting towns.  

 Víctor Pérez, Director, Finca la Torre Olive Oil producer (owned by a Swiss company) near Boabadilla (Málaga).   Shown with a bottle of Finca la Torre Hojiblanca variety Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The high point of the excursion was a marvelous restaurant in Antequera, Arte de Cozina, which is ensconced in the charm-ing, take-me-back-three-centuries patio of a 17th-century building that houses the restaurant and charming small hotel.  

Patio dining room at Arte de Cozina.

Chef-owner Charo Carmona and her son, Francisco, are cook-ing exceptional modernized versions of area classics, some with recipes dating from the 16th Century, but it is highly doubtful that they ever tasted as good then as they do now from Charo’s kitchen.  Her food exemplifies the best of this style of retro-Spanish cooking.   She gives out cards with descriptions, citations from 16th-18th- century cookbooks that inspired the dish, and the recipes.  

 Chef-owner Charo Carmona and her son, Francisco,
Restaurante Arte de Cozina, Antequera


At Arte de Cozian, Carmona offers classic porra antequerana (similar to the thick gazpacho-like Cordoban salmorejo), served in three different versions in a three-portion china rectangle. . .

Carmona offers classic porra antequerana (similar to the thick gazpacho-like Cordoban salmorejo), served in three different versions in a three-portion china rectangle and accompanied by thin strips of toasted bread:   Porra de tomate, a thick gazpacho-esque locally sourced ecological tomato-based soup-sauce-dip; porra blanca, a white garlicky version; and local oranges-based porra de naranja.  

Carmona’s menu is brilliant and enticing, yet homey and comforting.  She offers five kinds of gazpacho, including the traditional tomato-based classic, one made with organic green asparagus, ajo blanco (white garlic gazpacho, one with almonds and another with dried fabas) and a Sephardic-inspired one with yogurt, cucumber, parsley, walnut and onion. 

Carmona’s croquetas, the indispensable croquettes of Spain, come filled with stew meat, salt cod, shrimp, spinach and pine nuts or goat cheese.  Perdíz en caldo gazpacho is a traditional  dish of partridge in a Antequerana gazpacho sauce. There are three different cuts of Ibérico pork (the pigs from which the famous hams come), local suckling goat sweetbreads with garlic, and traditional or Russian-style caviar from nearby Río Frío (Granada). 


Perdíz en caldo gazpacho is a traditional  dish of partridge in a Antequerana gazpacho sauce.  

That same evening, the lunch that we had at Arte de Cozina was in stark juxtaposition to the Spanish chef-driven modern cuisine experience we had at dinner.  We were bused to Benalmadena (26 kms. west of Málaga) to the Michelin one-star cocina de vanguardia restaurant, Sollo, in the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa, the domain of budding Brasilian rock-star  chef Diego Gallegos. 

 Michelin one-star cocina de vanguardia restaurant, Sollo, in the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa, the domain of budding Brasilian rock-star  chef Diego Gallegos. 


Gallegos learned a lot about river fish, particularly trout and sturgeon, when he worked in Río Frío (Granada), a mountain river fish farming town where he sources his trout, sturgeon and sturgeon caviar (he is known locally as the “caviar chef”).   

 Granada Riofrio caviar Restaurante Sollo, Benalmadena.

 Fish in the pisifactoria at Restaurante Sollo.

Diego Gallegos also raises many of the fish he uses in his dishes in tanks at this fish farm- (river and sea) to-table restaurant, which ironically overlooks the Mediterranean.  With the chef, we visited his pisifactoria, where fish were being raised in large tanks to become part of such dishes on the 18-course menu as Yogurt Protein with Piranha Slice Sumac (sic) and Black Olive Powder (I wondered whose job it is to tell a piranha it’s next?), Grilled Fish mixed with Sturgeon Blood Sauce and Ramen Soup of Catfish Whiskers and Skin.  If these dishes don’t sound particularly appetizing, perhaps on snack served on a dried, chopped off sturgeon head won’t either. 

 Snack served on a dried, chopped off sturgeon head at Restaurante Sollo, Benalmadena.

Fortunately, for the traditional Spanish cuisine lover in me, most of my experiences were centered the traditional aspects of Màlagan cuisine.  The remainder of the visit would be concentrated on what makes Màlaga such a discovery for culinary explorers.  

On the last day, we ran a gamut of traditional cuisine experiences that makes Málaga so unique.  On an ambulatory prowl around the old quarter, we stopped for our “first” breakfast at La Malagueña, where we were served piles of crisp, freshly fried churros, called tejeringos in Málaga that has its base in a naughty double entendre having to do with an “injector,” a syringe or jeringo in Spanish (you can fill in the rest).  Loops of hot tejeringos, stacked several inches high on a plate, come with cups of thick rich hot chocolate Spanish style or coffee. 

 Waiter with tejeringos at La Malagueña. 



Loops of hot tejeringos, stacked several inches high on a plate, come with cups of thick rich hot chocolate Spanish style or coffee. 

 Pablo, the tejeringos cooker at La Malagueña.


Gastronomic research is Hell, so we moved on for what would be a peripatetic, unique multi-course desayuno-tapas-almuerzo meandering across the old city.  The next stop was in a funky antique-curio-gift shop-restaurant (open for breakfast and lunch only) called La Recova (egg and poultry shop) with a few tables and a small kitchen surrounded by furniture, ceramics, baskets, bric a brac, etc.   

 
We sat at a few tables pushed together in the center of the room and ate rebanadas, thin slices of toasted bread, served with little dishes filled with jam, sobresada (Mallorcan paté-like soft chorizo) and zurrapa (the Spanish equivalent of rillettes) and sides of sliced tomatoes, Spanish cured sausages and olives. 

 
Our merienda—meal between breakfast and lunch—drink at La Recova was the lightly sweet house vermut rojo (red-brown vermouth) on the rocks with slices of lemon and orange.


We toured the Ataranzas market (Click on link for report on market), then stopped at nearby Antigua Casa de Guardia, where we sampled copitas of Málaga wine with clams on the half shell, steamed langostinos (prawns), mejillones (mussels) and skewers with anchovies, pearl onions, pickles and olives.  

Chef-owner Willie Orellana, Uvedoble Taberna.

Many of the group went on another museum tour, but I opted for meeting up later at Uve Doble, the eponymous “W” for chef-owner Willie Orellana, whose very good food features tasteful modern twists on classics such as a Spanish tortilla de patatas trufada al momento (classic potato Spanish omelette with truffles) and fideos negros tostados with calamarcitos de Málaga (a smallish macaroni-like pasta, toasted, “blackened” with squid ink and cooked with baby Bay of Málaga squid).  

Orellana intersperses his menu with internationally inspired dishes such as swordfish ceviche with avocado grown in the nearby Axarquia region and deboned suckling pig with cous cous.   Wine offerings on the blackboard at Uve Doble are some of the most inspired in the city. 

 Spanish tortilla de patatas trufada al momento (classic potato Spanish omelette with truffles).


Fideos negros tostados with calamarcitos de Málaga (a smallish macaroni-like pasta, toasted, “blackened” with squid ink and cooked with baby Bay of Málaga squid).  

Following an hour sampling food at the Málaga Gastronomy Festival, which was held down by the port, I organized an escape with four other journalists by taxi to Pedregalejo, where I returned to those fabled chiringuitos, beach front restaurants specializing in sardinas al espeto, sardines impaled on a cane spit and grilled over wood coals.   

 Sardinas al espeto, sardines impaled on a cane spit and grilled over wood coals at chiringuito Las Acacias, Pedregalejo (Málaga)

There were a dozen chiringuitos on the beach, all with sand-filled fisherman’s dinghies permanently beached in front of each restaurant, all glowing with hot coals cooking sardines and fish on spits.  We settled on the outdoor terrace of Las Acacias and I ordered two dozen sardines, communal plates of salad and bottles of cold Spanish Rosado and we ate and drank just a few feet from the Mediterranean with the smell of the sardines and the sea, the embers of the fish cooking coals glowing in the night and beyond, the lights of Málaga, just three miles down the coast to the west. 


On Pedregalejo beach, I had closed a circle and gained a new appreciation of Málaga, one that I regret not taking more advantage of in my youth.  Spaniards have a saying, mejor tarde que nunca, better late than never.  As late as my re-discovery of Málaga may have been, I plan to make up for lost time and put this magical city high on my agenda. 
 
Painting on tiles at Las Acacias of el Cenachero, the fishmonger with baskets of sardinas and boquerones, the great folk symbol of Málaga.

See also:


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

 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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