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11/26/2013

La Queimada in Galicia with Paco Dovalo & the Group of Bodegueros Artesanos


* * * * *

The Rite of the Queimada:


La Quiemada is as old as Galician civilization. Mentions of it can be found in Celtic (on stone tablets, one presumes), Roman, Visigothic and Arabic literature.

 
La Queimada at Bodega Cabaleiro Do Val 
Meaño, Val de Salnés, Rías Baixas, Galicia

 With Paco Dovalo of Cabaliero Do Val, Emilio Cores (La Cámara de Comercio de Vilagarcía de Arousa) 
& Members of the Asociación de Bodegueros Artesanos of Meaño. 



Queimada with the Bodegueros Artesanos at Bodegas Rozas
(Slide Show)

The Incantation:

"Demons, goblins and devils, spirits of the misty valleys.
Farts from the asses of doom, Shrieks of cats in heat. . ."
And whole long list of other curses to banished follows. . .then. . .

"When this drink goes down our gullets, we will be free of evil in our souls 
and of spells cast by the evil spirits and witches."

In Galicia, the Gallegos still claim to believe in meigas (witches), evil spirits and the like.

To protect guests they have something called La Queimada, a custom believed to have originated with the ancient Celtic race to whom Galicia was their sacred home.


Here at Paco Dovalo's bodega, Cabaliero do Val, in Meaño, a member of the region's Asociación Association of Artisan Winemakers hollows out a giant calabaza squash or a pumpkin if they have one, then fills it with aguardiente or as the Gallegos call it, oruxo (literally, "burning water or firewater"; Galician grappa or moonshine).


He ritualistically sets the booze alight then tosses in coffee beans and orange peel - - then the juice of oranges and lemons - - and dumps in a whole mess of sugar. . . then a few cups of coffee and more aguardiente!

This concoction is brewed for as much as half an hour. It flames a magical incandescent blue, cooking the coffee beans, coffee, orange peel, lemon, sugar and even steams the squash.

When he thinks the Quiemada is ready, our Gallego friend, Emilio Cores, scoops out a cup of the flaming punch . . . along with pieces of the squash.

The result is a thick liquor that is less alcoholic than the original brandy but it can still be a head banger.

We made a lot of that quiemada vanish and, in the process, banished a few evil spirits of our own. . . .at least until the next morning.

Another Queimada with the Bodegueros Artesanos
Photographs by Gerry Dawes

  * * * * *
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, and James Campbell Caruso.

 * * * * *
“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.


* * * * *

"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

 * * * * *
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________  
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. 
 
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.

11/19/2013

Gerry's Dishes: Espinacas con garbanzos, garbanzo stew with spinach, cumin, saffrón, pimentón (Spanish paprika), garlic, bread, Spanish EVOO and Sherry vinegar (after a José Andrés recipe).


* * * * *
 

Gerry's Dishes:  Espinacas con garbanzos, garbanzo stew with spinach, cumin, saffrón, pimentón (Spanish paprika), garlic, bread, Spanish EVOO and Sherry vinegar (after a José Andrés recipe). This dish is very commonly encountered in the tapas bars of Sevilla.  I am serving it as one of our side dishes this Thanksgiving.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30.

 * * * * *
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 have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities. For custom-designed tours of Spain, organized and lead by me, and custom-planned itineraries, send inquiries to gerrydawes@aol.com.  

 * * * * *
“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. Chef Chiarello toured northern Spain with me in October 2011 and was just in Barcelona again in January 2013.  He is preparing to open his new Spanish inspired restaurant, Coqueta, at San Francisco's Pier 5 in April.

* * * * *
"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
 * * * * *

11/18/2013

Chef Dani García's New Taberna Ibérica, La Huevería del Ganso, (The Hen House of the Gander!) on Calle Echegaray in the Literary Quarter of Madrid.


* * * * *

  Chef Dani García's new Taberna Ibérica, La Huevería del Ganso, (the goose-hen house of the gander!), which specializes in goose eggs and dishes made with them, C/ Echegaray, 26, Madrid.
All photos by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  
Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 24 105mm f/4L IS USM.

La Huevería del Ganso, Madrid.


Goose eggs at Chef Dani García's new  Taberna Ibérica, La Huevería del Ganso, (The Hen House of the Gander!), which specializes in goose eggs and dishes made with free-range goose and goose eggs (presumably from female geese).


Poster at Chef Dani García's new Taberna Ibérica, La Huevería del Ganso, Madrid.


Menu at Chef Dani García's new Taberna Ibérica, La Huevería del Ganso, Madrid.


 Specialities at Chef Dani García's Taberna Ibérica, La Huevería del Ganso, Madrid.
 
* * * * * 
For custom-designed tours of Spain and planned itineraries, organized and lead by Gerry Dawes, 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 have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities.

 * * * * *
“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . .the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” – 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. Chef Chiarello toured northern Spain with me in October 2011 and was just in Barcelona again in January 2013.  He is preparing to open his new Spanish inspired restaurant, Coqueta, at San Francisco's Pier 5 in April.

* * * * *
"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

 * * * * *
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________  
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.
 
Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Customized Culinary, Wine & Cultural Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain  

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com.

Madrid Classics: Casa González, founded in 1931, is a bar-deli-gourmet food and wine shop with a wonderful old-fashioned air in Madrid's Literary Quarter.

 * * * * *
Casa González, Barrio de las Letras, Madrid.
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2013. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

Madrid Classics: Casa González, founded in 1931 and still run by Paco Carmona, a descendant of the original owners, is a type of bar-deli-wine shop known as a colmado (still very common in Barcelona).  Casa González has a wonderful old-fashioned air and is a good place to stop for a vino, some ham and cheese, tapas, pick up some excellent gourmet products or even have a Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  


 
Or you can just read your newspaper over a relaxing cup of café con leche and a pastry at Casa González or watch the world go by on Calle León, across the street from Cervantes's house in the Literary Quarter of Madrid.
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2013. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

 
O Trobo Mel do ValaDouro Mel de Flores (wildflower honey from the Valadouro in the wilds of Galicia), Purchased at Casa González.  One of the best jars of honey I have ever encountered.  It is now empty and the contents missed. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30.

Casa González
Calle León, 12
28014 Madrid
Tel: 91 429 56 18
Email: casagonzalezmadrid@gmail.com

* * * * * 

“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . .the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” – 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. Chef Chiarello toured northern Spain with me in October 2011 and was just in Barcelona again in January 2013.  He is preparing to open his new Spanish inspired restaurant, Coqueta, at San Francisco's Pier 5 in April.

* * * * *

"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

 * * * * *
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________  
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.
 
Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Customized Culinary, Wine & Cultural Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain  

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com.

11/15/2013

El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid. Sea Urchins, Carabineros, Fried Seafood, Tapas Oct. 10, 2013

 * * * * *

Carbineros (scarlet prawns) al la plancha with sea salt.  
El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid, Oct. 10, 2013. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

 
Erizos del mar, sea urchins, El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.


 
Fried fish:  Boquerones (fresh anchovies), calamares (squid) and gambas (shrimp) sold in paper cones at El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

 

Cleaning erizos del mar, sea urchins, El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.


 
Raciones (portions) of oysters, shrimp, prawns, octopus, percebes (goose barnacles), clams, etc. with Cava (Spanish methode champenoise sparkling wine), 
El Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid.  Oct. 13, 2013
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

* * * * * 

“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . .the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” – 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. Chef Chiarello toured northern Spain with me in October 2011 and was just in Barcelona again in January 2013.  He is preparing to open his new Spanish inspired restaurant, Coqueta, at San Francisco's Pier 5 in April.

* * * * *

"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

 * * * * *
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________  
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.
 
Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Customized Culinary, Wine & Cultural Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain  

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com.

11/14/2013

O Trobo Mel do ValaDouro Mel de Flores (wildflower honey from the Valadouro in the wilds of Galicia). One of the best jars of honey I have ever encountered.

 * * * * *
 
O Trobo Mel do ValaDouro Mel de Flores (wildflower honey from the Valadouro in the wilds of Galicia).  One of the best jars of honey I have ever encountered.  
It is now empty and the contents missed.  
Purchased at Casa González in Madrid, calle León 12.   
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS30.



_________________________________________________________________________________________________  
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.
 

11/07/2013

El Real Alcázar de Sevilla, Commonwealth Club Taste of Spain Tour 2013



* * * * *

 
Patio de las Doncellas (Maidens), El Real Alcázar de Sevilla. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

El Real Alcázar de Sevilla, originally a Moorish fortress, is now a royal palace in Sevilla. It is the oldest royal palace still being used (by the Spanish royal family on visits to Sevilla) in Europe, and it was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. 


 
Antonio Doblas, our officially licensed guide to Sevilla, points out details to the Commonwealth Club Taste of Spain 2013 Tour group at El Real Alcázar de Sevilla.  
All photos by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com. Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.


 
Slide Show of El Real Alcázar de Sevilla 
(Double click on image to enlarge. Click on text box in lower left corner for captions.)  
  
* * * * * 

“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . .the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” – 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. Chef Chiarello toured northern Spain with me in October 2011 and was just in Barcelona again in January 2013.  He is preparing to open his new Spanish inspired restaurant, Coqueta, at San Francisco's Pier 5 in April.

* * * * *

"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

 * * * * *
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________  
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.
 

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com.

11/05/2013

A Remembrance of Charlie Trotter: Tapas Hopping in Madrid



* * * * *
The world received the sad news today that the great Chef Charlie Trotter, just 54 years old, died today in Chicago.  Since Charlie was one of this country's most important chefs and a fine dining pioneer, a lot will be written about him in the day's to come.  I won't even try to claim that I knew Charlie well or had a real relationship with him.  The few times I did communicate with him, it was through our mutual friend, Chef Norman Van Aken, who was a great buddy of Charlie's.

 
Charlie Trotter & Norman Van Aken at Casa Rafa, Madrid. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes / gerrydawes@aol.com.

I had my close encounter with Charlie one night during Madrid Fusión 2006 and it was a memorable one.  Somehow I rounded up a posse to go on an impromptu tapas hopping excursion one night in Madrid.  The group included Charlie and his then fiancee (later wife) Rochelle Smith, Norman and Janet Van Aken, Tetsuya Wakuda, Spanish journalist Juanma Bellver and Chef Don Alfonso Iacarrino (Don Alfonso 1890, Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi, Naples) and his wife Livia.  We were expected a new place that Catalan Chef Sergi Arola had just opened, but I suggested that we stop first at one of my favorite tapas route places in Madrid, Marisquería Rafa, in the Ibiza neighborhood on the far side of Retiro Park. 


Madrid, Marisquería Rafa. Photo by Gerry Dawes / gerrydawes@aol.com.

We all gathered in the bar at Rafa and ran through quite a bit of good seafood tapas and vino and I snapped a number of photographs (and let Alfonso Iaccarino take one of the group with me in it, a shot I have always treasured, even more so after hearing the sad news about Charlie's death).  


 
The group at Marisquería Rafa: (l to r), Gerry Dawes, Tetsuya Wakuda, Rochelle Smith, Livia Iacarrino, Janet Van Aken, Charlie Trotter, Norman Van Aken and Don Alfonso Iacarrino, who took this photo.

After about an hour, we decided it was time to move on.  I was instructed to ask for the bill.  Charlie declared that he was going to pay the bill.   We all offered to chip in but Charlie wouldn't hear it.  But, when he pulled out an AMEX Platinum card to pay, he was met with a challenge by Tetsuya Wakuda, who declared that he was going to pay and pushed his way towards the check.    Charlie began to jockey with Tetsuya for the bill and pulled out a second AMEX Platinum card, laying both on the counter.  Tetsuya slapped down an AMEX Black card, trumping Charlie's two Platinum cards, and he paid the bill, then we all went off to Sergi Arola's place.


 
We finally got to Sergi Arola's newly opened restaurant (now closed): Alfonso Iacarrino, Norman Van Aken, Charlie Trotter, Sergi Arola, a manager at Sergi's place and Tetsuya Wakuda.  Photo by Gerry Dawes / gerrydawes@aol.com. 

Que descanses en paz, Charlie.
  
* * * * * 

“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . .the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” – 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. Chef Chiarello toured northern Spain with me in October 2011 and was just in Barcelona again in January 2013.  He is preparing to open his new Spanish inspired restaurant, Coqueta, at San Francisco's Pier 5 in April.

* * * * *

"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

 * * * * *
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________  
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.
 

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com.

11/03/2013

Calçotada: Cooking Calçots for a Festival in a Plaza in the Barrio of Sarría in Barcelona / Dishes with Romesco.


* * * * *
One late February 2009, I was staying at George and Lucy Semler's apartment in the Barrio of Sarría in Barcelona.  Just outside his apartment in a plaza, a group of volunteers was cooking a slew of calçots to benefit a charity (for Palestinians, I believe).    


Calçots for a festival in a plaza in the barrio of Sarría in Barcelona.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Canon 50D Mark III / Sigma 17-70 mm f/2.8.

Calçots are green onions that are about twice the size of scallions and milder, without the toughness of leeks.  They are grown, like leeks and white asparagus, but covering much of the plant with earth so that the edible portions will remain white.  The season for calçots usually runs from November through March.  


 
Calçots for a festival in a plaza in the barrio of Sarría in Barcelona.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Canon 50D Mark III / Sigma 17-70 mm f/2.8.

Typically, hundreds of calçots are placed over an open flame, ideally grape vine cuttings, and grilled, dirt and all, until the outsides are charred and the calçots cooked through.  


  
Cooking calçots for a festival in a plaza in the barrio of Sarría in Barcelona.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Canon 50D Mark III / Sigma 17-70 mm f/2.8.

The calçots are wrapped, usually a dozen at a time, in newspapers, which allows to keep steaming.  They are often served at the table in an inverted terra cotta roofing tile, which doubles as a serving dish and keep them warm.


 
Wrapping cooked calçots in newspapers at a festival in a plaza in the barrio of Sarría in Barcelona.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2009 / gerrydawes@aol.com.  Canon 50D Mark III / Sigma 17-70 mm f/2.8.


Each diner, armed with a roll of paper towels and a bib, strips off the charred outer layers, dips the calçot in a bowl of thick salbitxada sauce, then throw his or her head back and lowers it into the mouth, biting off pieces until the calçot is gone.  Thats where the bib comes in.  Usually the juices and drops of sauce fall onto the diner's chest. 

Salbitxada is essentially romesco sauce, which is composed of ñora peppers (anchos can be used), tomatoes, lots of garlic, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, ground almonds and/or hazelnuts and salt).  Romesco / salbitxada sauce is addicting.  

 
Variation on the calçots-romesco theme.   
Gerry's dishes:  Seared, sliced sea scallops served on a bed of sauteed leeks with romesco sauce (Inspired by a dish at Bravas restaurant in Healdsburg, California.  See below.)  Nov. 2, 2013

Sea scallops with romesco and leeks from the fire pit, accompanied by three white wines from The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group--Manuel Formigo Finca Teira Ribeiro, D. Berna Godello Valdeorras and O Barreiro A Silveira Godello Valdeorras-- at Bravas Bar de Tapas, a really good new Spanish cuisine restaurant in Healdsburg, California, Sept. 16, 2013.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com. Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

This dish is a specialty of Valls in Tarragona province and bus loads of Catalans make pilgrimages to restaurants in this area specializing in La Calçotada.  Nearly twenty years ago, I went to one of this places near Valls with a group of American journalists, many of whom eagerly devoured a dozen or two of calçots with romesco / salbitxada sauce, washed down with red wine from porrones (a porrón is a typical needle-nosed spout Catalan communal drinking vessel that typically large enough to hold a bottle of wine). 


 
American chef Michael Chiarello drinking wine from a  porrón at a Mas Gourmets de L'Embotit stand at la Boqueria market in Barcelona.  Oct. 11, 2011.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010 /  gerrydawes@aol.com.

 
Gerry drinking from a way-too-small porrón at Can Majó provided by his long-time friend, Enrique Suárez, owner of Can Majó and the man responsible for selecting the highest quality ingredients for his restaurant
Photo by Lisbeth Suyehira.
  
* * * * *
For custom-designed tours of Spain, organized and lead by Gerry Dawes, and custom-planned 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 have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities. 
  
* * * * * 

“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . .the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” – 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. Chef Chiarello toured northern Spain with me in October 2011 and was just in Barcelona again in January 2013.  He is preparing to open his new Spanish inspired restaurant, Coqueta, at San Francisco's Pier 5 in April.

* * * * *

"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

 * * * * *
 _________________________________________________________________________________________________  
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.
 

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com.
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