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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)




12/17/2015

Article about Gerry Dawes and The Spanish Artisan Wine & Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections in La Voz de Galicia Dec. 17, 2015 (in Spanish).

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La edición americana del «Huffington Post» dedica un reportaje 
a uno de los grandes valedores de Ribeira Sacra en ese mercado

Gerry Dawes, en una viña de la ribera de Belesar, durante un reciente viaje a la Ribeira Sacra.
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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. 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

12/16/2015

The Original Drinker: Spanish Wine Master Loves a $15.99 Rosados, Hates Wood and Always Avoids Wine Bars



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Gerry Dawes enjoying Rosado at Rincon de España in Burgos, Spain. (Photo by Jaana Rinne)

Gerry Dawes, Photo by Janna Rinne.

"Gerry Dawes loves Spain, and he loves Spanish wines. And the man knows whereof he speaks. The country bestowed upon him its prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomia (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003, and here’s what James A. Michener said about him in Iberia: SpanishTravels and Reflections: “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 … ”

I first reached out to Dawes when I was planning a culinary journey to Barcelona, Rioja, and the Basque region of Spain, in 2011. I found his website and began reading, and have been learning from him ever since. Then, when I was preparing to stage at Arzak, in 2012, Dawes offered me some sound advice: learn Basque. He is opinionated – “You must decide whether you love wine or carpentry. If you want wood in your wine, suck on a toothpick as you drink your vino.” – he lives life with passion, and he respects wine and the men and woman who make it. Here’s to Gerry!"  

To read the whole article click here.
______________________________________________________________________________________________  
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. 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/22/2015

Taste of Northern Spain Tour October-November 2015 with Gerry Dawes and John Sconzo - Day One Hit The Ground a' Runnin' in Galicia (Vigo - Pontevedra - Cambados) Thursday, October 29


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Taste of Northern Spain Tour 2015
October 29 – November 8
With Gerry Dawes & John Sconzo 
(Docsconz: Musings on Food and Life)

 
Fish market, Mercado Municipal de Pontevedra, October 29, 2015, 
Gerry Dawes-John Sconzo Taste of Northern Spain Tour.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2015 / gerrydawes@aol.com YouTube / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest.  Olympus OM-D E-M1 / Olympus M. Zuiko 14-54 mm (28-108mm equivalent) f/2.8-3.5 ED lens with Olympus MMF-3 4/3 adapter.

Over the decades since I have come to know Spain, I must have taken more than 20 groups and individuals on specialized gastronomy and wine tours of Spain:  The American Club in Andalucía, Senator James Abourezk (D-SD), Chefs Thomas Keller and Ali Barker, Chef Mark Miller (six times) and his Coyote Café restaurant managers, Chef Mark Kiffin of Santa Fe, The Wine Society of The Club Managers of America, Chef Terrance Brennan (twice), The Commonwealth Club of California (twice), The Club Chefs of NY & CT, Chef Michael Chiarello and Chef Ryan McIlwraith (twice) of San Francisco (Coqueta and Bellota), the Zoomies (a group of Air Force Academy graduates/pilots, twice) plus there have been other shorter forays in Barcelona, Madrid or San Sebastián with such luminaries Noman Van Aken, Drew Nieporent, Charlie Trotter, Tetsuya Wakuda, Ruth Reichl, Rick Moonen, Christopher Gross, Michael Whiteman, John Sconzo (four times), and others.

Many of those trips went very well, but inevitably problems sometimes surface:  A bus strike in the middle of one trip, a sick chef on another trip, food poisoning from a restaurant on an off night that was not on the itinerary and a traveler from Hell on another.   Most trips, considering that 2-25 people are being moved across Spain, eating and drinking for ten days, have their built-in sets of the normal challenges that any traveler faces.

The recently completed trip that I just led with John Sconzo for seven fellow travelers across Northern Spain was remarkable because of its relative lack of problems, the conviviality of the group, the chance encounters we had with friends of mine and the sheer luck of some of our serendipitous adventures on this trip.  

Pre-arrival, I was a bit worried that we might be off on a not-so-great adventure when I was turned down by Hertz for the rental car I had reserved (I had suspended partial payment of my last rental due to an attempted 400 Euro rip-off due to some scratches on the bumper).  I was supposed to drive to Galicia to meet up with the group in Vigo, but once I was told I was on the Hertz black list, I found that no other car company had any cars for less than 400 Euros on such short notice, so I booked another night in my hotel in Madrid, called the bus company and arranged to ride up with the driver the next afternoon.

Then, I began getting e-mails from some of our fellow travelers about flight delays into Spain and, from one, the news that a person with a suspected case of Ebola had just been admitted to a hospital in Spain.  In the hospital in Vigo, no less, where all of our travelers were due to arrive the next day!  However, since we did not have the hospital at Vigo on our itinerary, I figured that there was a better than even chance that some of our fellow travelers might survive, so I told them all to buy a bubble suit and come on to Vigo.  But it was not an Ebola outbreak that was worrying me, it was the advance forecasts had predicted rain for at least the first five days of the trip!  "Well," I reasoned, "I have no control over the weather."  I prayed anyway.

The bus didn’t arrive to pick me up in Madrid until 17:00 and we had a seven-hour drive facing us, with a mandatory rest stop for the driver for 45 minutes after four hours.  Because of the late pickup, which would have left both the driver and myself sleep deprived the next morning, I was not happy.  Otherwise the bus service was excellent.  I had requested a driver who had driven me on two previous trips, but he was not available.  Antonio Carrasco was the driver and he turned out to be terrific.  I always try to turn the bus drivers into my new best friends, because they invariably will go that extra mile when you really need a favor for the group along the way.  

 
 Bus driver Antonio Carrasco driving our 24-seat bus from the Esteban Rivas company in Madrid.   
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Pinterest.   Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 17-40mm f/4L USM.

On the long, rainy trip to Galicia, Antonio and I had plenty of time to talk and become friendly, plus, because of the obligatory stop bus drivers are required by law to observe, I was able to arrange for us to have a 10:00 p.m. light dinner at Bodegas Triay, one of my top artisan producers just five kilometers off the main highway, in Oimbra in the Monterrei D. O.  Antonio Triay and his wife, Puri García received my bus driver Antonio and me with an impromptu dinner of pumpkin soup, Spanish charcutería and cheeses and Galician empanada, along with their superb Triay Godello and Mencía, which The Spanish Artisan Wine and Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections proudly represents in the United States.

 
 Antonio Triay and his wife Puri García received my bus driver Antonio and me with an impromptu dinner of pumpkin soup, Spanish charcutería and cheeses and Galician empanada, along with their superb Triay Godello and Mencía, which The Spanish Artisan Wine and Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections proudly represents in the United States.  Because he was driving my driver was limited to just sniffing these wonderful wines.   It was the perfect respite, a food and wine break on the long trip north on a rainy night.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2015.4


After a long rain and fog punctuated trip, Antonio and I arrived at our Hotel Casa Rosita, my home away from home in the Rías Baixas wine district, at 2:30 a.m.  My friend at the night desk, Benito, was very accommodating, especially considering the hour.  I checked my e-mails as soon as I got into the room and found that our scheduled 9 a.m. pickup of Robin Causus and Sheldon Hochberger at Vigo airport had been delayed—by five hours!  That meant that both of us could catch some sleep before going to the airport for a noon pickup of John Sconzo, Judy Shertzer (Indiana and, now, North Carolina), Wendy Miller (Seattle) and Beth Lang (Chicago).  George and Anne Morris (New York) who were due to arrive later that afternoon from London, where they had spent a few days, and I soon learned that Robin and Sheldon (Albuquerque, NM) would be arriving around the same time.

Day One Vigo – Pontevedra - Cambados

We picked up half the group at Vigo airport and employing the hit-the-ground-a’ runnin’ philosophy of travel, we went directly to Pontevedra, where I had arranged lunch at a new restaurant that sounded very promising, but to which I had never been.  Our driver, Antonio, dropped us off at the Pontevedra market, which is one of the most important fish and shellfish markets in Spain.  We spent 20 minutes touring the market and, in a light rain, walked a few blocks through the old quarter to the Praza da Leña (named as the plaza where people went for firewood, leña), where our first gastronomic adventure awaited us at Chef Iñaki Bretal’s Restaurante Eirado da Leña, Praza da Leña, 3, 36002 Pontevedra, Galicia.  Eirado can mean a small plaza in Galego. 

 Eirado da Leña, Praza da Leña, Pontevedra, October 29, 2015. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2015 / gerrydawes@aol.com

Although Chef Bretal was not there for lunch, his team took great care of us and our first meal on the trip, of the Chef’s stylized, modernized traditional, product-centered, locavore food turned out to be superb, plus I had arranged with the restaurant to taste all six of The Spanish Artisan Wine and Spirits Group – Gerry Dawes Selections Albariños from the Asociación de Bodegas Artesanas producers whom we would be visiting the next day.  While we were waiting for our Albariños to chill, I chose a Godello from Valdeorras from the wine list.

As Taste of Northern Spain Tour 2015 member Beth Lang looks on, Gerry Dawes peruses the wine list at Eirado da Leña, Praza da Leña, 3, 36002 Pontevedra, Galicia, first day of the trip, October 29, 2015.  Photo by John Sconzo.
 
The Albariños had just been opened and we were beginning to taste them as we were waiting for the food, when I looked up and was amazed to see an old friend walk through the door.  It was tall, handsome Agustín Santolaya, the General Manager of Bodegas Roda in Haro, La Rioja.  He was in town with his distributor promoting his wines.  I introduced him to our group, then coaxed him and his representative to taste all six Albariños and promised to send him a check for showing up to make me look good!

Agustín Santolaya, the General Manager of Bodegas Roda in Haro, La Rioja, tasting the  Albariños of the Asociación de Bodegas Artesanas at Eirado  da Leña, Praza da Leña, Pontevedra.  Photo by John Sconzo, Docsconz.

The meal featured stylized versions of a Galician potato dish with pureed potatoes, Spanish paprika, an egg yolk and migas, crisply fried bread; navajas (razor clams), a wonderful fabas bean dish, lubina (sea bass) with a creamy, restrained pumpkin sauce, and a ‘gintonic’ dessert.  The lineup of artisan Albariños were great companions to this excellent opening meal. 

 Navajas (razor clams) at Eirado  da Leña.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.


Fabes de Lourenzá con langosta (fat white beans from the Lourenzá valley in the province of Lugo, Galicia with a slice of local spiny lobster meat) at Eirado da Leña, Praza da Leña, 3, 36002 Pontevedra, Galicia.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes.

After lunch, we walked back to the market, where Antonio, who had joined us for lunch, was waiting with our bus.  We drove to Cambados and checked into the Casa Rosita, then Antonio drove back to Vigo airport to pick up George and Anne Morris, Robin Causus and Sheldon Hochberger.

Given the fact that the group had just arrived that day from international flights, with plane changes in Madrid and delayed flights, I decided that it would be prudent to scratch the planned dinner out in the Cambados area, so I arranged dinner in the Hotel Casa Rosita, which has an excellent reputation as a shellfish and fish restaurant in its own right.   It turned out to be a fine relaxing choice for the first night, especially since the trip from their hotel rooms to the dining room table was just an elevator ride and few paces across the dining room.

I had spoken to the kitchen early in the afternoon, found out they had percebes (goose barnacles), the legendary, prized and quite expensive Galician specialty that tastes of the essence of the sea, and asked them to save a few hundred grams for our group.  It is always fun introducing initiates to the rites of percebes eating, which requires twisting off the coarse, leathery outer casing from the multi-toed foot and basically biting off the somewhat gelatinous, ocean-flavored flesh beneath.  This operation invariably causes shots of sea juices to fly across the table until each new initiate gets the hang of wrapping a hand around the percebe to keep the sea spray down. 

 
 Percebes (goose barnacles) Casa Rosita, Cambados, Galicia, Oct. 29, 2015.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

The percebes were followed by pass-around shared plates of salpicon de mariscos (Spanish seafood salad; a signature dish at Casa Rosita), pulpo a la galega, octopus with olive oil, Spanish pimentón (paprika) and sea salt, with potatoes; small, one-bite, pink-orange camarones, small Galician shrimp from local waters; exceptional Galician almejas (clams) with fabes (beans), with filloas (Galician crêpes) and tarta de Santiago (almond cake) for dessert, following by a brief introduction to Galician orujo-aguardiente (marc-firewater) and an early turn-in.  

Pulpo a la galega (octopus Galician style with olive oil, sea salt and Spanish pimentón, paprika), Casa Rosita, Cambados, Galicia, Oct. 29, 2015.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

 
Camarones, small Galician shrimp from local waters, Casa Rosita, Cambados, Galicia, Oct. 29, 2015.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes.

Fabes con almejas (beans with clams), Casa Rosita, Cambados, Galicia, Oct. 29, 2015.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

We needed the early night to be ready for our first  incredible day of adventures of the following day: A visit to Santo Tomé, the old fishermen’s and fisherwomen’s port, an area of Cambados with exceptional touristic merit, where we would watch the morning procession of mostly women shellfish harvesters head out at low tide;  a trip out into the ría de Arousa (fjord) to visit the bateas (shellfish farming rafts), eat freshly harvested, steamed on board the boat mussels, then feed the leftovers to seagulls who hover and pluck the mussels from the shell; a spectacular luncheon and encounter with a visiting Barcelona dining fraternity at D’Berto, one of the world’s greatest seafood restaurants; a visit and tasting at the iconic Palacio de Fefiñanes in the center of Cambados; a brief siesta respite at Casa Rosita, then a short ride to the town of Meaño to Bodega Cabaliero do Val, in a granite building dating to 1837, where we would have a sit-down house made tapas dinner, accompanied by artisan Albariños from six producers (who were in attendance) and participate in the ancient Galician ritual of the quiemada, the flaming pumpkin, and an impromptu songfest, more about which I will report in the next episode.

End of Day One!


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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. 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

A Taste of Northern Spain – Part 1: Galicia by Docsconz


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A Taste of Northern Spain – Part 1: Galicia


Our wines for lunch
 Wendy Miller and Beth Lang inspect our luncheon lineup of Albariños from the Asociación de Bodegas Artesanas.  Photo by Docsconz.

"Flying to Spain overnight is too short to get a good night’s sleep, but that was not enough to keep myself and everyone else on our tour of northern Spain from hitting the ground running. This was my first trip as a tour leader and I was excited to meet up with those trusting my choices. Perhaps not unexpected, but gratifying, the majority of our travelers[i] were personal friends known to me either actually or virtually for years. I was excited to be able to show them a wonderful part of a country that has come to be my favorite travel destination over the years. My co-leader of the trip and the man who could make it all happen like no other was my good friend, Gerry Dawes, aka “Mr. Spain,” who has spent decades learning the nuances of this beautiful and delicious country. Gerry is a writer, photographer and Spanish wine importer with vast experience taking people to visit his second home country. It was during our personal trip across Spain last winter that we felt the need to spend a bit more time in certain places and that it would be fun to share it with a small group. I have come, throughout my lifetime so far, to learn more about Spain and its cuisine than probably all but a few Americans. For Gerry, that statement can be extended to all but a few Spaniards. . . 

Winemakers at the table at Adega Cabaleiro Do Val
Winemakers at the table at Adega Cabaleiro Do Val, (l to r) Paco Dovalo, Cabaliero do Val; Eulogio Gondar, Lagar de Candes; Fernando Meis Otero, O'Forrollo; Manolo Dovalo, Rozas; Rubén Dovalo, Cabaliero do Val; Antonio Gondar, Avó Roxo.  Not in this photo, but present, Xosé Pintos, Lagar de Broullón.  Photo by Docsconz.

 . . . Like we would have throughout much of the trip, these dishes were washed down with wines from the Spanish Artisan Wine and Spirits Group - Gerry Dawes Selections, who import the wines into the United States. It was no coincidence that the founder and head of that company as well as the  selector of the wines for import was the same person who chose them throughout our trip and who also happened to be my co-leader and principal organizer, none other than Gerry Dawes. I had previously tasted and enjoyed all of the wines in the portfolio, but it was now fun to start seeing others get turned on to “Gerry’s wines,” the hallmark of which is distinctive flavor profiles, natural yeasts, low alcohol and little to no (preferably for Gerry) wood. The first ones on our docket, would be some that we would continue to get to know well over the next few days – fabulous albariños from the area, which in wine circles is known as Rias Baixas. These wines were made naturally with minimal intervention by grape farmers, leaving the wine making details, especially the wild yeasts, largely to mother nature. To a one, they are all distinctive and delicious!"

Read the rest of the Docsconz article here:  A Taste of Northern Spain – Part 1: Galicia

______________________________________________________________________________________________  
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.  


". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

10/12/2015

Goats Who Stare at Men, Men Who Stare at Rabbits and Rabbits Who Won't Be Staring Back (Slide Show: Asturias, Canary Islands, Andalucía)


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____________________________________________________________________________

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.

 

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

10/09/2015

Gerry Dawes’s Insider’s Tour of Spain Customized for the A-J Class of 1961 May 10-21, 2017 (Limited to former A-J students, spouses and friends)


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Two of my fellow travelers, John Sconzo and his son, L. J., on a hill overlooking Segovia's famous Alcázar and Cathedral 
on our pilot trip for out November Pig Tour of Spain. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014.

Including the great cities and towns of Madrid, Segovia, Ávila, Toledo, La Mancha, Córdoba, Sevilla, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz, El Puerto de Santa María, Ronda, Granada & Chinchón

Tour Adapted for Bill Blair and 
others with ambulatory restrictions*

*Those who wish to walk to experience the wonders of some of Spain’s old cities can, but for those who cannot, we will provide taxis or the bus to the next spot and we are looking into a motorized wheelchair option, if needed for some places.

$4,495* per person double room; $5,495* single room 
(Airfare not included; each traveler makes their own flight arrangements)

Minimum of 12 travelers
(For fewer people a supplement may be required due to fixed costs.)

Includes all designated meals** with wine*** in restaurants selected by Gerry Dawes, who is an expert on Spanish gastronomony and has many personal chef connections throughout Spain.

**Gerry and the restaurants where we eat are used to dealing with dietary restrictions, which you need to specify on the Tour Conditions form.

***If you do not drink wine, we offer our condolences, since Gerry
is one of the top experts on Spanish wines in the world.
 Gerry Dawes drinking Godello at Estado Puro, Madrid.
Photo by Harold Heckle, Associated Press, Madrid.
 
Gerry Dawes's Spain:  Trips & Testimonails

Day 00, Wed, May 10 USA to Madrid Flights to Madrid.

Day 01, Thurs, May 11 Madrid 

View of la Calle de Alcalá, the longest street in Madrid, from the Palacio de Cibeles restaurant, where tour participants will have drinks on the terrace before dinner.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2013 / gerrydawes@aol.com. Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

Arrive in Madrid, Spain's capital, where we will rendezvous at our hotel near the Prado Museum. We will allow everyone to rest and freshen up, then we will meet at 2 p.m. for lunch in the lobby.

After lunch, there will be free time for siestas, exploring on your own, shopping, etc.

 Cervecería Alemana, once a major bullfight aficionados bar--still frequented by many foreign aficionados.
Famous as an Ernest Hemingway hangout.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2011. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.


In the evening, we will visit a couple of very special places for drinks and tapas, then have dinner at one of the iconic restaurants in Old Madrid.

Roast Suckling Pig at Casa Botín in Madrid

Day 02, Fri, May 12 Madrid – Segovia – Avila – Madrid

 
2000-year old Roman aqueduct at Segovia.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014.

From Madrid, we will drive up into the Guadarrama Mountains to Segovia, the roast suckling pig capital of Spain and home to an amazing 2,000-year old Roman aqueduct that still crosses the city.  

For lunch, we will have exceptional roast suckling pig, so tender they cut it with the edge of a plate, in a restaurant that has been a must visit for celebrities and just plain folks for decades. 

Kay Balun, John Sconzo and L. J. Sconzo with cochinillo, roast suckling pig, at Mesón del Candido, Segovia.  Photo by GerryDawes©2014.

After lunch we will drive less than an hour to visit the amazing Medieval walled town of Ávila, then return to Madrid for the evening and have dinner in a restaurant near our hotel.

Day 03, Sat, May 13 Madrid – Toledo - Madrid

In the morning, we will take a one-hour bus ride to the historic city of Toledo. 

In Toledo, we will visit El Cigarral de Santa María, which has spectacular views over the on vineyards, olive trees and the city of Toledo below.  The owner, whom Gerry calls the Emperor of Toledo is a major chef-restaurateur.  

After the visit, we will take a walking tour of old Toledo and have a creative tapas lunch at Colección Adolfo, the Cigarral owner’s tapas restaurant near the Cathedral and we will visit his restaurant group’s magnificent wine cellar underneath what was a Jewish home in the 9th century. 

Santa María la Blanca synagogue, Toledo.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2008. gerrydawes@aol.com

We will return to Madrid after lunch and have free time before we gather for dinner at a seafood restaurant, then attend an optional flamenco performance.

Day 04 Sun, May 14 Madrid 

We will visit the Prado Museum with a professional guide and have lunch at a great classic Madrid restaurant.  


Prado Museum, Madrid.
Photo by Gerry Dawes

 There will be an optional walk through wonderful Retiro Park, Madrid’s Central Park.

In the afternoon, there will be the option of attending a bullfight at Madrid’s Las Ventas bullring.

Evening free.

Day 05 Mon, May 15 Madrid – La Mancha – Córdoba

In the morning, we will board our bus and travel through La Mancha of Don Quixote fame, stopping at a few places along the way to the great Moorish city of Córdoba.  First, we will stop to see the famous hilltop windmills and castle at Consuegra, then, after a short ride have a refreshment stop at Puerto Lapice, where there is a recreation of Don Quixote guarding his armor in the patio of a well-known restaurant.  

Windmills and castle, on a hill overlooking the town of Consuegra in La Mancha.
Photo by Gerry Dawes.

We will then continue through the famous mountain pass of Dispeñaperros and arrive in the great historic city of Córdoba in time for a tapas lunch at special place just outside the old quarter. 



At the legendary Taberna Juan Peña in Córdoba, the classic tomato-based salmorejo with Cordoban extra virgen olive oil, topped with hard-cooked egg and small bits of Spanish jamón Ibérico de bellota (from the D.O. Pedroches, Córdoba province), ham from free-range pata negra (black hoof breed) pigs fattened on acorns.  Juan's wife, Mari Carmen, makes theses salmorejos.  It was served with a sherry-like fino from Montilla-Moriles, a D.O. also from Córdoba province.  Berenjenas fritas, olive oil fried eggplant strips are often served with salmorejo as a sauce into which the eggplant strips are dipped.  Like the most exquisite French fries with the most exquisite ketchup you have ever eaten.  

After lunch, we will tour the magnificent Moorish Mezquita, the Mosque-Cathedral, see the Roman bridge and the old Jewish and Moorish quarter.

In the evening, we dine near our hotel on local specialties, including terrific grilled meats, at a superb Cordoban restaurant with lots of ambience.

Day 06 Tues, May 16 Córdoba - Sevilla
 
Sevilla and its Moorish minaret tower, which is now the bell tower 
of the Cathedral of Sevilla and is known as La Giralda.
Photo by Gerry Dawes.

In the morning, our bus will take us to Sevilla, the city of Carmen and one of the most beautiful and evocative cities in Europe. 

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.


We will check into our hotel, then have a guided tour of the Cathedral and the Moorish fortress-palace El Alcázar.   Gerry will lead us on a walk through the stunningly pretty old quarter, the Barrio de Santa Cruz (the old Jewish quarter), where he lived or parts of six years.  

The first home I shared with the late Diana Valenti Dawes (Bower) at Justino de Neve 3, in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of Sevilla.  We lived here for almost four years.  

". . . .Nothing is calculated to interest the stranger as he wanders through Seville, than a view of these courts obtained from street, through the iron-grated door.  Oft I have stopped to observe them, and as often sighed that my fate did not permit me to reside in such an Eden for the remainder of my days . . . " - - George Borrow, The Bible in Spain, 1840.  Photograph copyright by Gerry Dawes.


We will sample tapas in the Barrio in a couple of  places, then sit down in a particularly good tapas restaurant for some gazpacho, grilled shrimp, fried fish (an Andalucian specialty) and other special tapas, including, no doubt, a plate or two of Ibérico ham. 

Sevilla gazpacho after the recipe from my Spanish madre, Maria Franco, from the Pensión Santa Cruz 
(now converted in Hotel Murillo Residencias) in calle Lope de Rueda, Sevilla.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

(Click on link to read Cookbook Author Rozanne Gold's on Gerry's Gazpacho.)

The rest of the afternoon will be free for shopping, strolling and relaxing. 

In the evening, we will gather for an optional pre-dinner drink on the terrace of our hotel, which overlooks the Cathedral and La Giralda tower, then go to a nearby restaurant for dinner. 

Optional flamenco performance.

Flamenco performance in Sevilla.
Photo by Gerry Dawes

Day 07 Wed, May 17 Sevilla - Sanlúcar de Barrameda

In the morning, there will be optional strolling and shopping, then by noon, we will travel south to the superb fishing and Sherry town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where Columbus set sail on his second voyage to America.  We will prevail upon one of Gerry’s friends to open his old sherry bodega and let us taste some of his exceptional manzanilla sherries, then we will have lunch at a beachfront restaurant with more manzanilla, grilled shellfish and some of the best fried fish in the world. 

Hopefully, we will see one of Sanlucar's spectacular sunsets from the legendary Bajo de Guia fisherman's beach with a glass of manzanilla in hand (more on this later).  In the evening, we will have free time to enjoy the Plaza del Cabildo and environs, which has some of the best tapas bars and restaurants in Spain. 


 Sunset in a glass, Manzanilla sherry along the Guadalquivir River at Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Gerry Dawes©2008 / gerrydawes@aol.com

Day 08 Thurs, May 18 Sanlúcar de Barrameda - El Puerto de Sta. Maria - Cádiz – El Puerto de Sta. Maria - Sanlúcar de Barrameda 2 hours bus and ferry, round trip. 

Market breakfast in Sanlúcar market, then to El Puerto de Santa María, where we will catch the ferry to Cádiz in the morning, visit this wonderful sea-surrounded peninsular city and its unique market, have lunch in Cádiz, then back to El Puerto by ferry.  We will return to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a 20-minute ride, then have a free, relaxing afternoon, a casual dinner and a relatively early (for Spain) end to the evening. 

Day 09 Fri, May 19  Sanlúcar de Barrameda – Pueblos Blancos – Ronda – Granada

We will leave Sanlúcar in the morning and drive east through the spectacular Pueblos Blancos, the white hilltop villages of Cádiz and Málaga provinces, some of which are cheese villages, visit a great mountain cheese producer, then have lunch in the spectacular city of Ronda, which is set astride a 300-foot gorge that splits the town in two.   After lunch, we will take a brief walking tour of Ronda, then drive to the magical city of Granada, where will be check into our equally magical hotel on the hill overlooking the city and the with views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, which may still have snow on them (but no snow in Granada). 

Pueblos Blancos:  White Village of Olvera in the Mountains near Ronda

In the afternoon, we will visit the superb fortress palaces of the legendary Moorish complex, the Alhambra. 

The Alhambra Palace in Granada


We will return to our hotel to relax before dinner, then gather for optional gin-tonics on the hotel bar balcony overlooking the Campo del Principe and hopefully see a great sunset as we sip our adult libations, then we will go to dinner at a nearby restaurant across from the Alhambra.
  
 Gerry Dawes and his friend baseball great Keith Hernandez at the Alhambra in Granada.

There will be the option of seeing a Gypsy Zambra Flamenco show in the caves of Sacramonte.

Day 10, Sat, May 20 Granada – La Mancha - Chinchón 

In the morning, we will begin our return north, via another route through La Mancha, stopping at a couple of Don Quixote towns, then have lunch at one of the greatest restaurants in the region, where the Chef-owner, a friend of Gerry’s will introduce us to modernized versions of classic Manchegan recipes.  

After lunch, we will ride another hour or so to the enchanting city of Chinchón, where we will check into a charming hotel just a block from Chinchón's Plaza Mayor, one of Spain's best restored and loveliest plazas, which is like a page out of the 16th Century.  Our group will have the rest of the afternoon free to explore this magical village and shop for unique local items. 

 Alubias con almejas, beans with clams with a glass of Madrid D.O. vino tinto 
at La Balconada La Plaza Mayor of Chinchón.
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

We will have our farewell dinner at La Balconada overlooking the Plaza Mayor. At this romantic restaurant, Chef Manuela and her husband Isidro, offer superb classic Castillian dishes, including more pig (roasted) of course, but with the option of having roast lamb, wood-grilled steaks, bean dishes, fried potatoes with "broken eggs," artichokes cooked with jamón Ibérico bits, bean dishes and other specialties, accompanied by simple D.O. Madrid (province) Rosado and red wines. We can linger over snifters of the town's famous Anis Chinchón licor (dry or sweet), watch the peregrinations of the people down in the plaza and reminisce about the high points and comedic episodes of our trip around Spain. 
 
La Plaza Mayor of Chinchón.
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2010. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

Day 11, Sun. May 21 Chinchón – Barajas Airport – USA 50 kms.

Our bus will depart early enough in the morning for all our fellow travelers to catch their flights back to the USA.  Any who wish to continue the trip will have the option of continuing on into the center of Madrid on our bus. 


Madrid's ultra-modern Terminal IV. Some transatlantic flights still arrive at Terminal I, 
which is older and less spectacular, but in some ways, an easier and quicker entry point. 
 Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

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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. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series featuring Gerry Dawes
 on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 
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