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10/18/2010

Iberia Airlines Adds New U.S. - Spain Routes


* * * * *

Madrid's Terminal IV
 
Press release from Iberia Airlines:

The United States will be the principal focus of Iberia's long-haul growth strategy in 2011, as it launches two new routes, one between Los Angeles and Madrid, and another between Miami and Barcelona. 

Starting in March 28th, the Spanish company will operate three non-stop flights weekly from Los Angeles–on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays–with an additional Thursday flight in July-September. 

 Iberia expects to carry some 68,000 passengers on the Los Angeles route in the first year of operation. The flights will depart Los Angeles at 17:55 h. and arrive in Madrid at 14:15 h. the following day. In Madrid passengers can continue to another 36 destinations in Spain, 38 in Europe, 10 in Africa and one in the Middle East (Tel Aviv). The return flight will depart the Spanish capital at 12:35 h. and arrive in Los Angeles at 16:15 h.

 The new Miami-Barcelona service begins next March 29th, with flights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, departing Miami at 18:45 h. and arriving in Barcelona at 10:35 h. the following day. The return flight will leave at 13:30 h. to reach Miami at 17:10 h. From Barcelona, passengers from Miami can continue to another 16 destinations in Spain and 27 in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, all operated by Vueling, in which Iberia holds a 45% share. 

These flights to Barcelona are in addition to Iberia's daily Miami-Madrid flights, and brings the total to 10 weekly flights connecting Miami with Spain and, thanks to the numerous connections available in Madrid and Barcelona, with many destinations in the rest of Spain, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. In the first year of operation, Iberia expects to transport some 64,000 passengers between Miami and Barcelona.


Barcelona airport (BCN)

The aircraft used on the routes will be 254-seat Airbus A-340/300s, with a 36-seat Business Plus section, recently redesigned, with 2.20 meters of space for each passenger and seats that unfold into flat beds. 

With these two new routes, the United States is consolidated as Iberia's most important long-haul market. In 2011 Iberia will offer a total of 1,164,000 seats between the United States and Spain, representing a 13% increase from 2010. 

There will be seat offer increases in Chicago and Boston: larger aircraft (Airbus A-340/600s with 342 seats) will be used in the Chicago-Madrid route and more frequencies will be added to the Boston-Madrid route – six from May to October next year.   Iberia will also operate three more weekly flights from New York to Madrid in July and August 2011, up to 17 flights a week during the summer time.  

These new routes and the increase of seat offer in New York, Chicago and Boston are part of the "joint business agreement" launched on October 1st between Iberia, American Airlines, and British Airways for routes over the North Atlantic, which increase the travel options available to clients of all three airlines, with more frequencies and more destinations, as well as better connections across all three networks. Thanks to this agreement, Iberia has added its code to an increased number of American Airlines flights from Iberia gateways in U.S. to other U.S. cities.

10/16/2010

Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food by Colman Andrews, a book review

* * * * *
Ferran Adrià  and Tim Zagat at the book launch 
at the International Culinary Center in NYC on Oct. 12, 2010

Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food by Colman Andrews, a book review excerpted from my article on Ferran Adrià in the October issue of Food Arts. 

(All photographs by Gerry Dawes copyright 2010.)


Colman Andrews, author of
Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food

"Colman Andrews first began thinking about writing a book about Ferran Adrià at the historic Culinary Institute at Greystone's "Spain and the World Table," conference in November, 2006. At that conference there was a particular poignant moment that was the climax of what Andrew's calls "a hugely ambitious, highly successful . . . program," when The French Laundry's Thomas Keller introduced Ferran Adríà to tumultuous applause. 

Thomas Keller at the Culinary Institute of America - Greystone
during his introduction of Ferran and the Spanish chefs during
the 2006 Worlds of Flavor Conference dedicated to Spain.

Ferran Adríà and the all-star lineup of Spanish chefs 
at the CIA Worlds of Flavor Conference 2006.

Coming after the 2003 The New York Times Sunday Magazine article, Arthur Lubow article that posed the question, "Is Spain the New France?", the French-trained, Francophile Keller's introduction was something very much like the passing of the torch to Spain and to Adrià, who for nearly a decade now has been called "the world's greatest chef" and his restaurant, elbulli, "the world's greatest restaurant." That moment at the CIA-Greystone well may have been the greatest event in Spain's long culinary history.


Ferran Adríà and Arthur Lubow at the book launch 
at International Culinary Center in New York.

Andrews-with the help of elBulli (the official name of the restaurant) alumni, Ferran Adrià confidant and chef-restaurateur José Andrés "kept after" Ferran for nearly a year. At one point, Andrés told Andrews, "If he thinks this is my idea or your idea, he will maybe not be so eager to say yes. He has to think it is his idea." They both persisted until Ferran told Andrews, "the next time you are Barcelona, we'll talk." Andrews quickly booked a flight to Barcelona, where he long felt at home since he spent a lot of time there two decades ago writing his seminal book on the food of Catalunya, Catalan Cuisine: Europe's Last Great Culinary Secret (Atheneum, 1988).



Ferran Adríà at Inopia.


Andrews managed to pin Ferran down over dinner at Inopia, Ferran's brother Albert's happening tapas bar (he just sold it; see accompanying article). At the end of a meal that featured traditional Spanish tapas-white asparagus , five kinds of olives, jamón Ibérico from Salamanca, esquiexada (Catalan shredded raw salt cod salad), fried artichokes, fried boquerones (anchovies), pa amb tomaquet (Catalan grilled bred rubbed with tomato and garlic) and small grilled shrimp, washed down with a crisp Catalan white wine, Andrews asks himself about whether he had the green light to do this book, "Was this (Ferran's) capitulation?"



Boquerones en vinagre with olives and raf tomatoes, Inopia.

All those who needed a book on Ferran-I am one of them, even though I have known him for nearly fifteen years-that tells you everything you need to know, but were always afraid to ask, about the man, his restaurant, his dimension-bursting food, his partner Juli Soler and the truth and mythology that surrounds elBulli, this fine, eminently readable treatment is a blessing. Colman Andrews has done a brilliant job with this nearly 300-page book, despite what the misguided review in The New York Times claimed.




Readers will come away from Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and the Man Who Reinvented Food with an infinitely greater understanding of the "world's greatest chef," who indeed reinvented (and continues to reinvent) food in the 21st Century. The only negative in the American edition is that there are no photographs; the European edition apparently has them." 




10/15/2010

Insider’s Taste of Northern Spain Gastronomic Tour of Bilbao - San Sebastián - Navarra - Barcelona Nov. 27 - Dec. 5, 2010


*  *  *  *  *


Tour Organized and Led by
Writer-Photographer & Spain Expert

Gerry Dawes
 
Premio Nacional de Gastronómía 2003
  
Food Arts Silver Spoon Award
(Award profile written by José Andrés - Dec. 2009


Gerry Dawes has been traveling the Food and Wine Roads of Spain for more than 40 years and is personally acquainted with hundreds of restaurateurs, chefs, winemakers and food-and-wine personalities.  We will eat great food, meet a slew of great Basque and Catalan chefs and food personalities, taste wines with a winemaker or two, take lots of great photographs and develop a camaraderie on this trip that will ripen in recounting into vintage nostalgia.




Ferran Adrià and Gerry Dawes at Bar Basque,  NYC, Oct. 13, 2010. 
Photograph by John Sconzo©2010.

Tour accompanied by Dr. John Sconzo,
food aficionado & photographer extraordinarío.


Author & photographer of
Doc Sconz - The Blog: Musing on Food and Life
 (All photographs copyright by Gerry Dawes 2010.)

 Prices quoted are without airfare from the U.S. to Bilbao and return from Barcelona and include five and four star hotels, all designated restaurant meals with wines selected by Gerry Dawes and bus transportation within Spain.  Pricing depends on how many travelers will be joining the tour.

2 travelers:  $7,000.00
4 travelers:  $5,000.00
6-8 travelers:   $4,500.00
10-16 travelers:  $4,000.00


Itinerary: 


Day 00 USA-Madrid-Bilbao Evening Flight
 
Evening departure from the U.S. with each guest arranging own their flights.
Day 01 Saturday, Nov 27 Arrive Madrid, transfer to flight to Bilbao

Gerry Dawes will meet guests at the Bilbao airport.  We will take a short trip into Bilbao and see the Guggenheim Museum from the outside and have some tapas in the old quarter.




Guggenheim, Bilbao.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010.

Leaving Bilbao, we will make another short trip to have lunch at Extebarri, where chef-owner Victor Arguinzoniz has taken the  art of  grilling to a new level.  Some experts consider Etxeberri to be among the top restaurants in Spain.

After lunch, we will drive an hour to San Sebastián, where we will check into the magnificent turn-of-the-19th century Hotel Maria Cristina by 5 p.m.

Siesta time until dinner at 9:30 p.m. at either Restaurante Arzak, Juan Mari Arzak and daughter Elena’s three-star temple of gastronomy, or Martín Berasategui’s superb three-star Restaurante Martín Berasategui in nearby Lasarte.  All three chefs are long-time personal friends of our tour organizer. 

Day 02  Sunday, Nov 28 San Sebastián

Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastián

Sunday morning will be free to explore the old quarter and walk the magnificent la Concha beach and esplanade.

Lunch will be a short ride outside San Sebastián at Mugaritz, where Chef Andoni Aduriz is considered one of the most innovative young chefs in the Spanish cocina de vanguardia movement.

Pintxos of mushrooms with ham and txangurro (crab) in a pastry shell 
with a rosado from Navarra at Bar-Restaurante Gandarias.

We will return to San Sebastián after lunch and the afternoon will be free until evening when we will go on a optional tapas-hopping tour of San Sebastián’s best pintxos bars and restaurants, with optional gin-tonics, etc. at one of the city’s greatest bars. 



Joaquín Fernández, owner and champion barman of Dickens 
in San Sebastián, making his classic Gin Tonic.

Day 03  Monday, Nov 29 San Sebastián

Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastian

In the morning, we will visit the colorful La Bretxa, Basque caserío farmers' market and San Martín market, then have some tapas in the bars surrounding the markets, some of which may have as many as 50 pintxos lined up along the bar.

For lunch, we will take a drive west along the Cantabrian Sea coast of the Bay of Biscay to the wonderful Basque fishing village of Getaria, hometown of Elkano, the first man to circumnavigate the globe; Balenciaga, the famous fashion designer; and Placido Domingo’s mother.  


First we will have several exceptional seafood appetizers at Elkano, one of the greatest fish and seafood restaurants in the world, then walk down the hill to Kaia (in the same family as Elkano), which has spectacular views of the fishing port from its perch on the hill and offers whole turbot grilled outdoors over a wood fire, accompanied by wines from one of the most enticing wine cellars in nothern Spain.  Gerry Dawes has had multiple experiences in both restaurants and we will get special insights into Basque seafood cooking.

  Turbot grilling at Kaia.

After some post-prandial patxaran (Basque liquor), we will explore a little more of the coast, then return to San Sebastián where guests will be have free time until dinner.




Dinner will be at Rekondo, a game specialist and one of the few restaurants open on  Mondays.  First, we drive past Rekondo up Monte Igeldo for spectacular Ipanema-like night views of San Sebastián.   Txomín Rekondo is a friend of Gerry’s and will show us his phenomenal wine cellar, which is one of the best in Europe.
    
Day 04  Tues, Nov 30  San Sebastián - Navarra - Barcelona
       
Hotel Duquesa de Cardona, Barcelona

In the morning, we will drive south about an hour and a half to visit the wonderful storybook castle-village of Olite in Navarra.
 

A short drive from Olite, we will stop for an early (for Spain) lunch with a Navarra winemaker near Tudela at a restaurant in southern Navarra specializing in the famous vegetables of the Ribera de Navarra region.

Wine lunch in southern Navarra.

After lunch, we will head for Barcelona, arriving in the early evening, and check into our hotel, La Duquesa de Cardona, which is conveniently located between the Port Vell (the yacht basin) and the beach and the lively Las Ramblas area, which we will visit often during our time in Barcelona.

We will check into our hotel and have time to relax before we head for dinner at a restaurant facing the Port Vell, El Suquet de L'Almirall, where chef Quím Marquéz turns out some exceptional interpretations of modern dishes based on traditional Catalan recipes.  Marquéz worked at El Bulli and is a very good friend of José Andrés.

Day 05 Weds, Dec 01 Barcelona

La Boquería

Hotel Duquesa de Cardona, Barcelona
 

We will have breakfast/lunch at the fabulous Mercat de San Josep, La Boquería, where we will sample the cooking of two of the legendary market bars, Pinotxo and Quím de la Boquería, and explore the market, where Gerry will introduce us to several of the key players that make this market one of the greatest in the world. 

Quím de la Boquería

For dinner, we will sample Ramón Freixa's  superb food at El Raco d'en Freixa, Barcelona's top-rated restaurant.  Afterwards, we will either go to the OMM hotel, one of the sexiest restaurant-watering holes in Barcelona, then our guests will have the option of  drinks in the muy movida bar or visiting one of Barcelona's legendary night clubs. 

 Day 06  Thurs, Dec 02 Barcelona - Manresa - Barcelona

 Hotel Duquesa de Cardona, Barcelona

We will try to get our group into Ferran Adrià’s elBulli Taller workshop, but we can’t promise that yet.  However, Ferran and his brother Albert are opening an upscale tapas restaurant in Barcelona in November and the bar should be open by the time of our visit, so we stop there for a drink at some point during our stay in Barcelona.


Albert Adrià, José Andrés and friend at Inopia, the tapas bar in Barcelona that Albert recently sold. All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2010.


By 11 a.m., we will head from Manresa to visit the Alicia Foundation, which Ferran helped to found.  This institution that explores the connection between Alimentacion (food) y Sciencia (science) is more about exploring the science and healthful aspects of food.  It is not a laboratory for creating the innovative new dishes that Ferran and the other vanguardia chefs are famous for, but it is a fascinating place that is not to be missed.


Chef Jordi Cruz, Angle Restaurant, and 
Toni Massenes, head of the Alicia Foundation.

Right next to the Alicia Foundation is the Angle Restaurant, where one of the best young chefs in Catalunya (and all of Spain) cooks.  Gerry had an exceptional lunch there in March. 

After lunch, we will return to Barcelona, where the rest of the afternoon will be free to visit this amazing city.

In the evening, we go on a tapas tour of Barcelona.  Later, we will have the option of having drinks at El Velodromo, a Barcelona classic that was renovated and revived last year, after many years of being closed, by Carlos Abellan, one of Ferran Adrià’s best known disciples.

Day 07  Fri, Dec 03 Barcelona

Hotel Duquesa de Cardona, Barcelona

The morning and afternoon will be free to tour Barcelona.

In the evening, in la Barceloneta, at Can Majo, we will have our farewell dinner on such wonderful dishes as first-rate traditionally prepared mariscos (shellfish), paella and arros negre (black rice) cooked with squid and colored with squid ink, along with some local Catalan wines.

Portions of arros negre, black rice with squid, and 
paella de mariscos, shellfish paella, at Can Majó in La Barceloneta.

Day 08, Sat, Dec 04 Barcelona - USA


Late morning flight to the U. S.  Option to spend more days in Barcelona.

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

10/05/2010

Asturian Journal: March 19: A Visit with Nacho Molina to the Producer of la Cueva Llonín & Guayau Cows' Milk Cheeses and to the Fascinating La Aula de la Miel, both in Alles, Peñamellera Alta, eastern Asturias. (From he Summer issue of culture: the word on cheese.)


 * * * * *
On March 19, 2010 in the Asturias, I had the pleasure of traveling with Ignacio "Nacho" Molina, a partner of Marino González, President of COASA-Comercializadora Asturiana de Alimentos (Asturian artisanal products company), through parts of Peñamellera Alta and Peñamellera Baja.  In the early days of building their Asturian cheese and artisan products business, González and Nacho Molina  would drive out in small vans in different directions, collecting and delivering cheeses, until after a few years they were successful enough to launch COASA.  Now they bill nearly $6,000,000 of artisanal Asturian food products, primarily cheeses, and have built a large new facility near Siero outside Oviedo, that can keep the cheeses in different chambers acclimated to the cheese type.  


Nacho Molina, COASA, in Peñamellera Alta.

Molina and I re-visited the historic, lively, colorful market town (and tourist destination) of Cangas de Onís, where the breadth of Asturian products (cheeses, sausages, beans, vegetables, cider and more) is spread across several blocks and augmented by the specialty food shops lining the main streets of this great market town--some offering more than two dozen, well-kept local cheeses.  (Molina and González have a couple of shops there that sell everything from souvenirs to cider to cheeses and other artisan products.)






Both of these photographs were taken at the legendary 'La Barata' shop in Cangas de Onís.

In the afternoon, we would visit two memorable cheese producers–Monje and La Chivita en Peñamellera Baja, but the morning was dedicated to driving through spectacular scenery to Peñamellera Alta, where in a light rain that fortunately did not last, we visited the mountain town of Allés. Here Mari Carmen Pérez Corral and her assistant, María del Mar Caso Noriega, make two pasteurized 100% cows’ milk cheeses, La Cueva Llonín, a softer cheese that she describes as “like Camembert,” and Guayau, which is has a more dense consistency and is meant for longing ageing crumbly (to me it resembled a Monterey Jack-like cheese).   The official name for this quesería, though privately owned, is the Sociedad Cooperativa Queso Peñamellera. 



La Cueva Llonín, imported by Michelle Buster of Forever Cheese, was white, reminiscent of a goats’ milk cheese, but it darkens a bit with age (this sample was just 8-10 days old).  The coagulation of this cheese goes on for about 30 minutes, then the curds are cut into small rice-sized pieces, the whey is removed, the curds are salted and then put into molds and kept under refrigeration.  The finished La Cueva Llonín cheese has small holes, with a few larger ones, is a little grainy, rough-grained and crumbly when young.  It has a buttery, cow’s milk nose and is fresh and creamy on the palate with good acid to balance the fat.  This cheese would be good with fruit, but I would also like to crumble it over Mexican tacos, Italian pasta or a salad. 






Guayau is made much the same way, but aged differently.  It is a cheese meant to be consumed with 1-3 months of curation.  The cheeses being prepared for sale had aged for a month at the quesería.  This cheese is cured, not under refrigeration, but at 16-18 degrees Centigrade Celsius (61-65 degrees Fahrenheit).  For the hour that we were there interviewing and photographing the cheese operation, both Mari Carmen and María were laboriously hand labeling and wrapping each cheese individually, a task, like their cheesemaking, that is a completely artisan endeavour.


La Cueva Llonín & Guayau cheeses
Sociedad Cooperativa Queso Peñamellera
Allés, 33578 Peñamellera Alta, Asturias (España)
Tel: (34) 985 415 758. 



After our visit to Mari Carmen’s quesería, Nacho Molina took me to the nearby Aula de la Miel, an excellent honey-making operation with a museum featuring live bees showing just how honey is made.  Jesús Antonio Noriega and his wife, Carolina, owners of La Aula de la Miel, Allés (village), Peñamellera Alta make some excellent honeys and other outstanding artisan products.  Downstairs, there is a shop where several types of honey, a honey liqueur (Hydromiel), corn meal flower and other artisan products are sold. 





The upstairs is a fascinating museum of apiculture featuring mannequins dressed in bee-keeping gear, an old honey-gathering receptacle made from tree bark, exceptional macro photographs of bees and a glassed-in beehive, where bees lured from the surrounding countryside (superb scenery) make honey as visitors watch.



 


The Aula de la Miel is also set up to prepare meals (at 21 Euros per person) of typical Asturian fare–with honey-based desserts and the local cheeses–for groups.

La Aula de la Miel
Barrio El Pedrosu
Allés, 33578 Peñamellera Alta, Asturias (España)
Tel: 985 41 59 87
Email: info@auladelamiel.com


Check out the Summer issue of culture: the word on cheese, where I had an eight-page article with photographs on the Asturias, Beyond Cabrales, with profiles of Cabrales and six other wonderful Asturian cheeses, plus hotel and restaurant recommendations.   Only the title page and a few photos are excerpted here, but you can find out how to get a copy on the culture - the word on cheese website and read the rest of the article, plus articles by Max McCalman, Susan Herman Loomis, Janet Fletcher and an interview with Steve Jenkins.
___________________________________________________

About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel


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

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