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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)




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)


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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 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 like, as depicted.  (Photo courtesy of Lovely World.)

But, Picasso lived in Málaga for just the first ten years of his life, then he and his family moved to Galicia, then to Barcelona, where he had his first exhibition at the Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) Café in 1900.   Picasso moved 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 he never returned and apparently never re-visited Málaga except for New Year’s once when he was 19.  Though the city has every right to promote itself as Picasso’s birthplace and to promote the excellent Picasso Museum, there is very little 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, we 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 Acacia, 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. 
 
video
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

10/15/2017

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


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The Magic of Málaga, Picasso’s Hometown

(Part Three of Four)

Text & Photos By Gerry Dawes©2017

At the entrance to the market a young man was selling from a cart big bunches of esparragos trigueros, thin wild green asparagus that is often served a la plancha grilled, drizzled with Spanish Extra Virgen Olive Oil (EVOO) and a sprinkling of sea salt.

On my second day in Málaga, I would be free to explore on my own until the arrival of the press contingent—I was the only American--so I set out in the morning to tour the old city.  My memories of the Mercado de Atarazanas and the authentic old wine bodega-tavern la Antigua Casa de Guardia from my cruise ship excursion a decade earlier put return visits to both high on my list. 

Mercado de Atarazanas, Málaga.
 

9/24/2017

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)



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The Magic of Málaga: Part Two of Four


Text & Photographs By Gerry Dawes©2017


Drawing of Málaga-born Pablo Picasso, Restaurante El Chinitas, Málaga



At the superb open-air photo exhibition of 44 photographs, albeit mislabeled "alta cocina" instead of cocina de vanguardia (avant-garde cuisine), with creative pictures of some of Spain's top chefs and their dishes on calle Larios in the old quarter of Málaga during the Málaga Gastronomy Festival, May 4-7, 2017.  In the foreground right is Catalan Chef Albert (Tickets, etc., Barcelona) and left Chef Andoni Aduriz (Mugaritz, near San Sebastián).   Photo of the photo exhibition, copyright 2017 by Gerry Dawes.

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When I received an invitation to attend the Málaga Gastronomy Festival in early May, I booked my flight from New York to arrive a day or two earlier than the rest of my media fellows, since group therapy on jet lag has never been my thing. I arrived at Málaga airport at mid-day and, though I was tempted to try the well-regarded airport train into the city, I opted for a taxi that took me directly to the Hotel AC (Marriott) Málaga Palacio, where I. had never stayed, was an excellent choice. The Palacio is strategically located just steps from the old quarter, the Cathedral, the Picasso Museum and a slew of very colorful restaurants, almost all of which have outdoor seating and offer a broad array of traditional Malagan dishes. And straight down the Alameda---or just several colorful blocks winding your way through the old quarter--is Málaga’s wonderful 19th-century wrought-iron structured Mercado de Ataranzas with its 14th-century Moorish entrance portal.

9/23/2017

The Magic of Málaga: A 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.

Read the rest of the Magic of Málaga, Click Here



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9/20/2017

Jewish Spain: The Incredible Remnants of Jewish Culture in the Old Jewish Quarters of Spain: Segovia, Toledo, Cordoba, Sevilla, Ribadavia (Galicia), Tudela (Navarra), Girona (Catalunya), Hervás (Cáceres)


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  Bronze symbol in the shape of a map of Spain with Hebrew lettering embedded in a street of the old Jewish quarter of Ribadavia (Ourense), Galicia. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012; gerrydawes@aol.com 


 
Santa María la Blanca, now a Christian church, is the loveliest synagogue that I have seen in Spain.  Moorish Mudejar architecture under Jewish influence. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2008. gerrydawes@aol.com


Also named Santa María la Blanca, this church in Sevilla, began as a synagogue in 13th century and was later converted in a Christian church.
 

A Slide Show
All Photographs by Gerry Dawes©2016 
Absolutely no photographs may be used without prior written permission and credit.
______________________________________________________________________________________________  
About Gerry Dawes

Dawes is Presidente-Jefe & Chairman of the Board, 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, October 2009.
 
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