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12/31/2016

Experience Gerry Dawes's Spain: Customized, Specialized Food, Wine Cultural & Photographic Tours of Spain & Tour Advice


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Drinking Godello at Estado Puro in Madrid.
Photo by Harold Heckle, Associated Press, Madrid.

In October 2013, I led 28 people, including baseball great Keith Hernandez, on The  Commonwealth Club of California Taste of Spain Tour with Gerry Dawes 2013 to Madrid, Córdoba, Sevilla, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Ronda, Granada, Almagro, Toledo and Chinchón, highlighting gastronomy, culture and wine. 

In January 2014, I organized and led the Club Chefs of Connecticut and New York on a culinary educational tour through Barcelona, San Sadurni d'Anoia (Cava country), Valencia, Alicante and Madrid. 

The following week, I organized and led John Sconzo (Docsconz:  Musings on Food and Life http://docsconz.com/2014/02/a-master-cortador-makes-his-mark-in-avila/) and his son L. J. on a week-long trip through Segovia, Ávila, Segovia, Cáceres, Mérida, Jabugo, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the Sierra Morenas north of Córdoba, Chinchón and Toledo.  With more posts to come on his blog, John Sconzo wrote this in one of his first entries about the trip:

"Nights like this are ones that just need to be appreciated for the something special that they are. It is no exaggeration that Gerry Dawes, my friend, traveling companion and guide “knows and appreciates Spain more than all but a few Spaniards” let alone people from other countries. That statement came from our host for the evening, Benjamin Rodriguez Rodriguez, the proprietor of the humble appearing, but fully sensational El Rincon de Jabugo situated in the equally humble, but comfortable Gran Hostal San Segundo located just outside the historic walls of Avila near the  San Vicente gate."

“I have said this before and I’ll say it again, nobody knows Spain like Gerry Dawes. I sincerely doubt that there is another American, and very few, if any, Spaniards can approach, let alone surpass his knowledge of the people, food, wine and culture of Spain. He has been frequenting the depths, breadths and heights of the country as a second home for nearly fifty years, leaving no stone, and especially no wine, unturned during that time.” -- Wining and Dining Around Spain with Gerry Dawes: Part 1 (of a 6-part series) by John Sconzo, Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life, March 10, 2015 (From a second trip Sconzo took with me, this one this year.)

“Gerry Dawes is a true gastronomad, walking the culinary and cultural by-ways of the Spanish soul and then sharing every bit of his passion and knowledge (both considerable) with the reader.  I once overheard someone say that James Michener said Gerry was the only one qualified to write the sequel to Iberia.  I have learned so much from his experiences -- he is the "go-to" guy for anything authentically Spanish and is unparalleled in his experience with Spanish wines.  Gerry has introduced the world to Spanish chefs (including Ferran Adria), Spanish food products, wines, history (I especially love his respect for Spain's Jewish culture -- and he's not Jewish), and travel.”  - - Rozanne Gold, Four-time James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and author.  


video
  Video on gastronomy and wine travel in Spain with Gerry Dawes.
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For customized trips, contact Gerry Dawes (based in New York) with desired dates, areas of interest in Spain (gastronomy, wine, art, history, culture, photography, etc.), specific sights you might like to see, number of possible travelers, and an estimated budget for your group. 


Phone: 914-414-6982 
Teléfono movíl (during stays in España): (011 34) 670 67 39 34


4/24/2016

Feria de Sevilla 2016 La Casetita de Los Nietos de Don Manuel - Photos de Familia



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Finally, I got back to Sevilla for Feria this year, and got to spend a lot of time with my Spanish family, the Manolo Esquivias & Mari Carmen Onrubia clans, who have one of the most wonderful casetas in la Feria de Sevilla, La Castita de Don Manuel. 

Mari Carmen Onrubia de Esquivias dressed in another one of her fabulous flamenco dresses with a superb hand-embroidered vintage mantón de Manila shawl (made in Spain, but named for Manila), held in place by a lovely butterfuly pin, Caseta Los Nietos de Don Manuel, Feria de Sevilla, April 14, 2016. Mari Carmen has a different dress and differnet shawl for every day of the Feria. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2016, Canon M3 

My Sevillano brother and my oldest friend in Spain, Manuel Esquivias Fedriani, outside his Casetita de los Nietos de Don Manuel with his great friend, the legendary Casa Anselma (Triana) flamenco club owner, Anselma Jimenez, La Real de la Feria de Abril de Sevilla, April 14, 2016. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2016, Canon M3 




Slide Show
Feria de Sevilla 2016 La Casetita de Los Nietos de Don Manuel Photos de Familia
Photos by Gerry Dawes©2016

(Many more photos to come.  This is just from one afternoon.)

________________________________________________________________________________________________  
About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is President, Founder & Jefe of The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections

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.
 
video
Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television series
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

4/18/2016

A Tafona da Herminia, A Pastry Shop in the Barrio Judio (Old Jewish Quarter) of Ribadavia, Ourense, Galicia, Specialinzing in Shephardic Recipe-Inspired Pastries


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Herminia Rodríguez and her selection of pastries that she has been making since 1990 from Sephardic recipes from the 15th & 16th centuries, A Tafona da Herminia, Barrio Judio, Ribadavia (Ourense province), Galicia, Spain.  Photo by Gerry Dawes, Canon M3.
  
 
A Tafona da Herminia, Barrio Judio, Ribadavia (Ourense province), Galicia, Spain.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes, Canon M3.

 Types of Jewish pastries A Tafona da Herminia, Barrio Judio, Ribadavia (Ourense province), Galicia, Spain. 

_______________________________________________________________
About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is President, Founder & Jefe of The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections

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.
 
video
Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television series
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

3/10/2016

Looking Back: My Last Lunch at elBulli: A Memorable Day on Cala Montjoi, Dec. 4, 2010



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Because of minor road mishap on the road from Madrid via Zaragoza to Girona province--19 liters of gasoline pumped into Esmeralda Capel's Mercedes station-wagon, a diesel fuel car, which cost us a two-hour delay to get the car pumped out and re-filled--Kay, Esmeralda, her husband  Juan Suárez and I arrived in Port Lligat too late to catch the evening light.  Port Lligat is just a couple of kilometers north of the picturesque fishing village-artists' and expatriates' hangout of Cadaqués and was the home of Salvador Dalí, who, over several decades pieced together a string of fisherman's cottages to build one of the most evocative, charming, idyllic and inspiring homes on the planet.   

Dalí's Port Lligat, where he spent some of the happiest and most productive years of his life, is still relatively unspoiled.  I had stayed the Hotel Port Lligat back in the 1970s when it was a very basic hotel with minimal comfort and again in 1998s before my second trip to El Bulli when I found the place to be upgraded only slightly over my first visit, but the setting, right next door to Dalí's compound and looking out over the fisherman's cove was and still is unbeatable.  I had warned Esmeralda and Juan about the creature comforts (or lack of), but had raved about the location.  They agreed we should try the Port Lligat, so I booked two "especial" double rooms, special because the rooms look out over Dalí's cove, for €100 (about $135.00) per room.

We arrived around 8 p.m. because of our road delay with a brisk cold wind blowing--I feared we might catch the fierce tramuntana wind that is so notorious in the Empordá-Costa Brava.  The legendary tramuntana is blamed for the fact that  residents of the area are known for their strange quirks, since the wind is said to drive people mad during what sometimes amounts to an incessant week-long blow, which blows so strong that it has been known to topple a freight train.   It takes no stretch of the imagination, seeing some of Salvador Dalí's paintings with odd landscapes swept totally clean and pristine by the tramuntana, to believe that the great artist owed some of his peculiar genius to the winds of the Empordá-Costa Brava.

That's why it drives me a little tramuntana crazy myself when I read claims that Ferran Adriá, the dimension-bursting genius chef of elBulli, which is located just a few kilometers southeast of Salvador Dalí's Cadaqués and Port Lligat by boat, is the Picasso of Spanish cuisine.  

See the slideshow below for visuals of this memorable luncheon at elBulli.  I lament to say that my dear, great friend Juli Soler, the driving front-of-the-house force behind elBulli, died last year.  Every January, for the past few years, I would see him for lunch in Barcelona.  There will be a huge void at the end of this month, January 2016, when I go to Barcelona and will encounter only the indelible trail of memories he left in the wake of his passing through this life.


(Double click to see large view of slideshow.)
For more information on the photographs, contact gerrydawes@aol.com.


____________________________________________________________ 

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 prize in 2009 and received the Association of Food Journalists 2009 Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his retrospective piece in Food Arts magazine about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.


video
Trailer for a proposed reality television
series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.


Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): mailto:gerrydawes@hotmail.com

2/26/2016

Looking Back: Club Chefs of Connecticut & New York Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes, Days 1 & 2, Jan. 13 & 14, A Gastronomic Adventure in Barcelona


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(Edited by Gerry Dawes with input from Chef Brian Limitone, Meadow Ridge Senior Living, Redding, CT)


 
Club Chefs of Connecticut (and New York) Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes: Outside the trendy wine bar Monvinic in Barcelona about to tour the wine cellar, meet the owner, Sergi Ferrer Salat, and have lunch. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 28mm f2.8 rented from http://lensrental.com for this trip. 


During the week of January 12-19, the Club Chefs of Connecticut, along with several Club Chefs from New York, took a gastronomic journey through Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Madrid. This prestigious group of ten executive chefs from Connecticut experienced a crash course in the tastes of Spain under the guidance of Gerry Dawes our organizer, guide and Spanish food and wine expert.

Gerry Dawes is widely recognized as one of the very top American experts on the gastronomy, wines and culture of Spain.  Recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Spanish National Gastronomy Prize (2003) and Food Arts magazine’s Silver Spoon Award (2009), Gerry has long been educating American Chefs about the gastronomy, wines and culture of Spain.

Participating on this tour were Chefs Brian Limitone, Meadow Ridge Senior Living, Redding, CT;  Gerard Resnick, Century Country Club, Purchase, NY; Robert Rainone, Larchmont Yacht Club, Larchmont, NY; Carey Favreau, Glen Arbor Club, Bedford Hills NY; Wayne Kregling, Brownson Country Club, Huntington, CT; Wayne Klingman, Garden City Country Club, Garden City, NY; Victor Honrath, Wykagyl Country Club, New Rochelle, NY;  Dan Neuroth, Bronxville Field Club, Bronxville, NY;  Austin Simard , Brownson Country Club, Huntington, CT; and James Rosenbauer, Country Club of Farmington, Farmington, CT.


Flying out of JFK and arriving in Barcelona early Monday morning we gathered at the Hotel Cram, carrer Aribau 54 the tony Eixample district and proceeded to a classic Catalan breakfast restaurant, Bar Gelida. This small bar-restaurant was bustling with patrons so we were ushered through the tiny kitchen to a table set up in the storeroom. Sitting among boxes and cases of product we enjoyed a multi-course morning feast featuring the grilled sepia (squid), Spanish tortilla (egg and potato omelette), and mongetes amb botifarra (white beans with Catalan sausage).    


Club Chefs of Connecticut Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes: Sitting at the kitchen storeroom 'family' table, just a couple of hours after an all-night flight from New York, at Bar Gelida, Barcelona.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30 43-86mm f3.3 – f6.4.

Along with strong Spanish espresso coffee to accompany our desayuno, Gerry introduced us to drinking Cava (sparkling wine) from a glass wine vessel called a porrón (a needle-spout glass carafe, from which wine is drunk bota-like, from a long thin stream that must be expertly guided into one’s mouth). 

 
Club Chefs of Connecticut Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes: Sitting at the kitchen storeroom 'family' table, just a couple of hours after an all-night flight from New York, at Bar Gelida, Barcelona, having an old-time Catalan breakfast: Victor Honrath, Wykagyl Country Club, New Rochelle, NY, drinking Catalan Cava (methode champenoise sparkling wine) at Bar Gelida as Wayne Klingman decides to go the safe route and pour himself a glass of Cava.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30 43-86mm f3.3 – f6.4. 

After our Breakfast of Champions, Gerry led us on an orientation walk around Barcelona’s fashionable Eixample and showed us architect Antoni Gaudi’s famous landmark buildings on the Passeig de Gracia, Casa Mila and Casa Batlló, then before heading back to the Hotel Cram for a nap before lunch, we made an impromptu stop at Reserva Ibérica (the ham shop), which specializes in aged, salt-and-air cured Ibérico hams and charcutería, which we sampled.    

Club Chefs of Connecticut & New York Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes. Chefs James Rosenbauer (r), Country Club of Farmington, Farmington, CT and Victor Honrath, Wykagyl Country Club, New Rochelle, NY observing a ham cutter at Reserva Ibérica (The Ham Shop), Carrer Aragó, 242 Barcelona (http://www.reservaiberica.com), Jan. 13, 2014. 
 Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

For Gerry, this encounter turned out to be the first stop for him on what would be a two-and-a-half week long ham run through Spain. 

After a shower, a brief nap and a change of clothes, we walked a few blocks from our hotel to fashionable Monvinic, one of Spain’s top wine bar restaurants, where we met the owner, Sergi Ferrer, and toured to wine cellar with wine director César Canovas, Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy’s Best Sommelier 2011 and had a lunch of modern cuisine-inspired Catalan specialties.  

 
Cellar Master / Sommelier César Canovas, Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy Best Sommelier 2011 of Monvinic Wine Center, Wine Bar & Restaurant in Barcelona.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest.  Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 24mm f/2.8 (from http://lensrental.com).
 
The afternoon was free to rest before dinner at the classic Barcelona institution Restaurante Set Portes, where we dined on Catalan regional specialites including exquiexada (a ‘salad made with bacalao) and escalivada (grilled vegetables), plus we were introduced to the first of what would be many rice dishes on this trip through Mediterranean Spain: arròs caldoso (a soupy seafood rice dish), arròs negre (black paella with squid ink) and fideuà (pasta, instead of rice, cooked in a paella recipe).   

Club Chefs of Connecticut (and New York) Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes: Fideuà (pasta, instead of rice, cooked in a paella recipe), dinner at the classic Set Portes Restaurant, Barcelona. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30 43-86mm f3.3 – f6.4.

We drank Catalan wines, cava, rosat and negre and, for dessert, we got our first exposure to crema catalana or Catalan crème brûlée.  After dinner, we migrated to Javier de la Muela’s famous cocktail bar, Dry Martini, located a few blocks from the HotelCram, for a couple of adult libations. 

 
Club Chefs of Connecticut (and New York) Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes: Javier de la Muelas' Dry Martini Bar, Barcelona. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30 43-86mm f3.3 – f6.4. 
 
The second morning in Barcelona, we visited Jorge Mas’s Mas Gourmet specialty shop in the upscale shopping mall, L’Illa del Diagonal for a sensational second breakfast.  Mas’s shop manager and hamcutter Jordi Ausro gave us a seminar and a dazzling tasting of several kinds of jamón Ibérico and charcutería, pa amb tomaquet (Catalan tomato bread), morcilla (black pudding), smoked salmon, and foie gras tapas accompanied Cava Rimarts Rosat Ahumado sparkling wine, a slightly smoky method champenoise rosé made to accompany smoked salmon.

 
 
 Jordi Ausro, manager and hamcutter at Mas Gourmets, L'Illa Diagonal shop, Barcelona, explaining their gourmet products to the Club Chefs of Connecticut (and New York) Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 24mm f/2.8 (from http://lensrentals.com).


 
Slide show, Mas Gourmets de L'Embotits, L'Illa Diagonal shop, Barcelona.
(Double click for larger view of photographs.) 

Our next stop was  a visit to the bakery and  workshop of super star pastry artist and culinary events maestro Christian Escribà at Escribà, where Christian Escribà’s (he was in Portugal) Projects Director Xavier Marcos, showed us a video of some of the dazzling projects in the works at this incredible world-class pastry shop.

 
 Pastry, Desserts & Events Maestro Christian Escribà. 
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

The chocolatero-pastelero-special events maestro Christian Escribà and wife-creative partner Patricia Schmidt with Gerry Dawes at San Sebastián Gastronomika. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

 
New York contingent posing with Christian Escribà's sensational pastry-and-chocolate creation of New York, New York at San Sebastián Gastronomika 2010. Daniel Boulud, Drew Nieporent, Wylie Dufresne, Colman Andrews, David Chang, Thomas Keller & Tony Bourdain. 
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

 
At Escribà, where Christian Escribà’s (he was in Portugal) Projects Director Xavier Marcos, showed us a video of some of the dazzling projects in the works at this incredible world-class Barcelona pastry shop. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.


We followed the Escribà pastries visit with a tour of Mercat de la Boquería, one of the world’s greatest markets, where you can buy the freshest of seafood (we were introduced to the shellfish purveyor at her Palmira i Neus - Gemma stand, the lovely Gemma Bosch Roca, always stylishly dressed, like many women in La Boquería, wearing an elegantly embroidered bodice and looking gorgeous, all the while bagging mariscos (exquisite crustaceans and mollusks), cutting up fish, wrapping slices and filets, passing them to customers and taking payment. 

 
 The lovely Gemma Bosch Roca at her Palmira i Neus - Gemma seafood stand.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.
 
In la Boquería, you can also find the freshest produce, mushrooms, meats, chickens, hams and charcutería, spices, candies, nuts, etc.    Our tour guides were Gerry, the market stand owners’ association President Salvador Capdevila, La Boquería President Oscar Uribe and Jorge Mas, owner of Mas Gourmets, which has seven outposts in La Boquería.  

 
 L’Associació de Comerciants de la Boqueria (La Boquería market stand owners’ association) President Salvador Capdevila, at his Avinova stand, which specializes in game, poultry, foie gras, etc.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.
 
We also met another of Gerry’s friends, Llorenç Petras, the now-retired Maestro of Mushrooms, who just happened to be at his Petras stand that day (the stand is now run by his sons) and he showed us a tray with a pile of large prime of trufas negras (black truffles) and a large basket of colmenillas (morels mushrooms). 

The legendary mushroom-and-truffle guru, Llorenç Petràs, now-retired, but who just happened to be at his Bolets Petràs Fruits del Bosc stand in Barcelona’s Mercat de La Boquería that day (the stand is now run by his sons Isaac and Xavier) and showed the chefs a pile of prime black truffles. Club Chefs of Connecticut & New York Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

 
 The legendary mushroom-and-truffle guru, Llorenç Petràs, now-retired, but who just happened to be at his Bolets Petràs Fruits del Bosc stand in Barcelona’s Mercat de La Boquería that day (the stand is now run by his sons) and showed the chefs a pile of prime black truffles. (l to r) Carey Favreau, Glen Arbor Club, Bedford Hills NY; Llorenç Petràs; James Rosenbauer, Country Club of Farmington, Farmington, CT; Austin Simard , Brownson Country Club, Huntington, CT; and Victor Honrath, Wykagyl Country Club, New Rochelle, NY. Club Chefs of Connecticut & New York Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

 
A basket of colmenillas (morels; múrgola, rabassola o morilla in Catalan; colmenilla or morilla in Spanish) mushrooms at the Petràs stand in Barcelona’s Mercat de La Boquería. The legendary mushroom-and-truffle guru, Llorenç Petràs, now-retired, but who just happened to be at his Bolets Petràs Fruits del Bosc stand a that day (the stand is now run by his sons), and showed the Club Chefs of Connecticut & New York Taste of Spain Tour group a pile of prime black truffles. Jan. 14, 2014. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

Before ending our tour of la Boquería, we stopped to have a couple of  tapas--thinly sliced fried alcachofas (artichokes) and some patatas bravas with picante bravas sauce and ailoli with some more rosat Cava--at Quim de la Boquería, one of the best market bars in Spain, where we were greeted by chef-owner Quim Marquez and his son Yuri. This year, Quim de la Boqueria is celebrating their 25th Anniversary.

 Quim Màrquez, Quim de la Boquería, La Boquería Market, Barcelona.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

 
 Club Chefs of Connecticut (and New York) Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes:  Joan Mora González pouring rosat Cava (Catalan rosé sparkling wine), Quím de la Boquería, a Boquería market, Barcelona,  Jan. 14, 2014.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest.  Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.
 
After we had the tapas and Cava to fortify us, we strolled down Les Rambles, Barcelona’s world-famous pedestrian thoroughfare that leads to the port, stopping for photographs with the Karen, an attractive woman from Argentina who performs as Winged Victory, one of the few human statues left on this street that was once filled with dozens of these performance artists.We continued on to our lunch destination in the Port Vell, Suquet de l’Alimirall, where chef Quim Marquès (no relation to Quim from la Boqueria; his last name ends in ‘s,’, not ‘z,’ cooked a typical Catalan lunch for us in his own personalized style. 

Club Chefs of Connecticut & New York Taste of Spain Tour 2014 with Gerry Dawes.  Victor Honrath, Executive Chef of Wykagyl Country Club, New Rochelle, NY, schmoozes with Caren, Winged Victory, one of the few human statues left on Les Rambles in Barcelona, Jan. 14, 2014.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

Quim, who went to culinary school with José Andrés, has developed his own unique twists on many Catalan classics. Chef Quim opened with plates of jamón Ibérico de bellota, followed by anxoas con poma (cured anchovies encircling an apple compote with olive oil and balsamic vinegar), then pa coca con sardinas ahumados, cebolla caramelizada, tomate cherry, jamón Ibérico & queso Brie (Catalan pizza-like crust with smoked sardines, caramelized onions, a cherry tomato, a slice of cured Ibérico ham and a piece of Brie cheese), buñuelos de espinacas y buñuelos de bacalao con ailoli con miel (spinach fritters and bacalao fritters with honey ailoli), sardinas a la brasa rellenas (stuffed, grilled sardines topped with a slice of Ibérico ham), pa amb tomaquet (Catalan tomato bread), sepia a la plancha con su tinta (grilled sepia with its ink) and alcachofa y huevo (fried artichokes served with a fried egg).  
 
 Club Chefs of Connecticut & New York Taste of Spain Tour 2014, Luncheon at Suquet de L'Almirall,, La Barceloneta, Barcelona. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

 Then Quim Marquès himself came out with two paellas catalanas con mariscos, mar y muntanya (Catalan "sea and mountain" paellas), with cigalas (Dublin Bay prawns), mejillones (mussels), pollo (chicken) and ciruelas pasas (prunes) and plated each portion for our group. 
 
 
Chef-owner Quim Marquès shows his paella Catalana con mariscos, mar y muntanya (Catalan "sea and mountain" paella) with cigalas (Dublin Bay prawns), mejillones (mussels), pollo (chicken) and ciruelas pasas (prunes), Suquet de L'Almirall, La Barceloneta, Barcelona. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

After a walk on La Barceloneta beach, we caught a municipal bus whose route took us from the port to the front door of the Hotel Cram.   We had the rest of the afternoon free until dinner to explore Barcelona.

For our second dinner in Barcelona, Gerry set up a reservation at the Michelin 2-star restaurant, ABaC, where the star chef is Jordi Cruz, the youngest chef ever to receive a Michelin star in Spain and probably headed soon for Barcelona’s first three-star restaurant rating. 

 
Jordi Cruz in his open kitchen at ABaC Restaurante, Hotel ABaC, Barcelona. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

Jordi is one of the most brilliant cocina de vanguardia, avant-garde cuisine, chefs in the world. The value of the reservation was underscored when, as Gerry was lining up to take a photograph of our chefs group in front of ABaC before dinner, a taxi arrived and he was standing face to face with a friend of his, Roser Torras (Directora of grup gsr - produccions de gastronomia, one of most brilliant culinary event producers in the world), who was arriving for dinner as well. We were invited into ABaC's open kitchen, then we were seated at an elegantly appointed table and Jordi Cruz and his kitchen staff began to dazzle us with opening dishes such as a Nitro passion fruit “mojito,” shellfish (razor clams and cockles) bloody Mary snow and Mexican foie gras (foie with mole ice cream, corn powder and Vera Cruz salt), followed by creations such as sea urchin curry with Kafir, an anguila (sea eel) “sandwich,” Parmesan gnocchi with raw mushrooms, nuts, truffle oil and a mushroom infusion with lemongrass. A bone-dry Balma Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava from Mas Bertran was served with the appetizers and was followed by an excellent white La Conreria d'Scala Dei Priorat Les Brugueres 2010 Garnacha Blanca.  

 
 We were seated at an elegantly appointed table at ABaC and Jordi Cruz and his kitchen staff began to dazzle us with opening dishes such as a Nitro passion fruit “mojito.” Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest. Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 24mm f/2.8 (from lensrentals.com).

In all, there were sixteen dishes on Cruz’s menu, which finished with cocina de vanguardia versions of Casarecce pasta cooked in a squid broth, with sea cucumbers (espardenyes), Comté cheese and lemon basil with white truffles; red mullet with tomato bread, “concentrated” onions and lemongrass alioli; and hare royale with fermented “potato” (bread fermented with shallots, shaped to resemble a potato,) foie gras and Japanese mustard, accompanied by a red from the indigenous Catalan grape Trepat, Succés Vinícola del Viver El Mentider Trepat 2011. 

In just two days in Barcelona, our group of chefs managed to meet a slew of Gerry Dawes's culinary star friends, including Barcelona chefs Carles Abellàn (Comerç 24, Tapas 24 and several other restaurants), ABaC’s Jordi Cruz, Juanito Bayen (owner of the legendary market bar Pinotxo), Quím Marquéz (Quím de la Boquería), Quím Marqués (Suquet de L’Almirall), Roser Torras, Mas Gourmets owner Jorge Mas, market stand owners’ association President Salvador Capdevila, La Boquería President Oscar Uribe, Llorenç Petras, the Maestro of Mushrooms and Sergi Ferrer, the owner of Monvinic Wine Bar and Ferrer Bobet winery in Priorat.
 
Looking out on the intersection of Carrer Aragó and Carrer Aribau from my room in Hotel Cram (with New York locked in the ravages of a Polar vortex winter), where I stayed with our group of chefs.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest.  Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30 43-86mm f3.3 – f6.4.

Next up:  Day Three, Jan. 15, San Sadurni D'Anoia (cava country) and authentic paella in Valencia.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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

* * * * *

"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.
 
Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television series
on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com

2/20/2016

In Memoriam, Seven-star Chef Santi Santamaría, Pinotxo's Albert Asín & La Boquería President Manel Ripoll, All of Whom Died Five Years Ago



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Santi Santamaria, que decanses en paz.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2012 / gerrydawes@aol.com /
http://thespanishartisanwinegroup.com / http://gerrydawesspain.com

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Sadly, three-star Catalan chef Santi Santamaría and two other Catalan friends of mine, Pinotxo's Albert Asín and Boquería Owner’s Association President Manel Ripol all died around this time in 2011. I still miss all of them very much.   Hard to believe that they have been gone for five years.

The late Manel Ripoll, then President of 
La Boquería market in Barcelona.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2012 / gerrydawes@aol.com


The late Albert Asín Bayen, who, with his brother Jordi,
manned the stoves at Pinotxo in La Boquería, Barcelona.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2012 / gerrydawes@aol.com

This is from my article in Food Arts about Santi Santamaría sudden death on Feb. 16, 2011.
(Short slide show at the end of the article.)

Seven-star Catalan Chef Santiago “Santi” Santamaría 
Dies in Singapore

by Gerry Dawes

    We all must die, but few of us will go out in such a blaze of glory as Santiago “Santi” Santamaría, one of Europe’s greatest chefs, who died in Singapore of a massive heart attack on February 16.   The night before he died, the 53-year old Santi was at an event with fellow celebrity chefs Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Tetsuya Wakuda, Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy and Justin Quek, all of whom were in Singapore to promote their restaurants in the newly opened Marina Bay Sands complex.  According to one of the multitude of journalists from around the world who were invited to cover this heavily promoted event, Cristino Álvarez, a veteran Spanish food journalist, “Later, Santi joined me two other top Spanish food writers, Carlos Maribona and Juanma Bellever, for gin-and-tonics (the de rigor drink of Spanish chefs).”
 
    The next day each of the star chefs served samples of their food to groups of the invited journalists.  Santamaría’s dishes included the traditional pan tumaca, Catalan bread spread with a combination of Spanish extra virgen olive oil and raw garlic, rubbed with fresh tomato and topped with paper-thin slice of Ibérico ham.  According to Cristino Álvarez, Santamaría was in the dining room and asked him if he would like to see the kitchen.  Santamaría whose corpulent figure was more than ample evidence of his well-documented love of eating, had just finished eating a piece of pan tumaca.  Ironically this quintessentially Catalan dish would be the last morsel of food ever savored by Santamaría–a traditionalist from inland, mountainous Montseny region of Catalunya--whose modern dishes were always designed to incorporate his insistence on Catalan roots, even though the techniques and twists he put on the dishes were often unmistakably French, influenced his the large collection of cookery books from France.

    Álvarez told this writer, “As we entered the kitchen, Santi turned to me and said, ‘I am really going downhill fast!’ and then he collapsed.  I summoned help and several of us futilely tried to revive him.”
 
    The self-taught Santamaría was an exceptionally talented, albeit exceptionally controversial chef.  His flagship establishment at the time of his death is El Racó de Can Fabes, in the village of San Celoni (near Barcelona).   Santamaría, who like his father and grandfather was born in the house that became his restaurant, then hotel.  He left his studies as an industrial engineer, opened a bar, then a Catalan bistro here, serving such dishes as pan amb tomaquet (the tomato bread, his last bite),  botifarra amb mongetes (beans with Catalan sausage), before  El Racó de Can Fabes, with Santamaría manning the kitchen, evolved into the first Catalan restaurant to earn three Michelin rosettes (in 1994; his first came in 1989).  He went on to open successful restaurants in Barcelona and Madrid through his association with Hesperia hotel group.   
 
    Santamaría’s feuds with Spain’s cocina de vanguardia chefs, especially Ferran Adriá, over their use of commercial food industry enhancements to their food made headlines in Europe and turned Santamaria into a pariah among his Spanish peers and Spain’s gastronomy writers.  

    In spite of the ostracism, he earned a total of seven Michelin rosettes (the most held by any chef from Spain), including two for his San Celoni restaurant in Madrid and he also opened restaurants in Asia at Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel and in Singapore the eponymous Santi, run by his daughter, Regina, who was with him when he died.  Santamaria also wrote 10 books on cooking and was awarded Spain's National Gastronomy Prize in 2009.
 
    After Daniel Boulud returned to New York, he told me, “Santi was in great spirits the night before he died, so his death was a great shock to all of the chefs.  The gala dinner, when all the chefs at the Marina Bay complex were supposed to cook, was the night after Santi died.  We all decided to dedicate the dinner to him, so we put our very best efforts in our dishes to pay homage to Santi.  Afterwards we got together, Mario Batali made some food and we all reminisced about him.  He was such a truly great chef.”   
 
    Fellow three-star chef, Guy Savoy said “Santi left us for too early, but to take leave of us in his kitchen was a beautiful way to go."
 
--The End--



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Gerry Dawes's Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí) Melting Watch Awards.
To all three of these sadly missed great culinary lights.

_________________________________________________________


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.


video
  Trailer for a proposed reality television series on 
wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

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