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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.
 ______________________________________________________________________________________________  
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. 
video
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. 
video
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!


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

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


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

11/06/2015

61st Tactical Fighter Squadron Third Zoomie Tour of Spain A Taste of Northern Spain Tour April 19 - 30, 2017


* * * * *
Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, Ribadavia, Monforte de Lemos, Cacabelos, León, Oviedo, Cangas de Onís, Santillana del Mar, Bilbao, Getaria, San Sebastián

Wednesday, April 19 – Sunday, April 30, 2017

Organized and led by Gerry Dawes* (gerrydawes@aol.com) & Kay Balun

*Premio Nacional de Gastronomia 2003
(Spanish National Gastronomy Prize)

 Gerry Dawes and baseball great Keith Hernandez at the Alhambra in Granada.

*Estimated cost per person without airfare:  $3,995 (single room supplement $800) with all designated meals, ground transportation, guides and tips.
*Subject to Euro Exchange & Minimum of 16 Travelers

Itinerary

Included meals noted as follows: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, T=Tapas, D=Dinner

Day 00 Wednesday, April 19 USA to Madrid – Vigo (Galicia)

Fly from the US gateway cities to Madrid.

Day 01 Thursday, April 20 Madrid – Vigo (Galicia) – Cambados (L, D)

Arrive Madrid, transfer to plane to Vigo. 

Bus picks up the group at Vigo airport, transfer to Cambados.  (52 kms., 45 min.)
Several hours in the hotel to freshen up, then a late seafood lunch near Cambados.

After lunch, relaxation, walking in picturesque areas of Cambados.

Evening, Dinner with Albariño winemakers, great white wine and seafood in casual surroundings.


   
Rías de Vigo with shellfish rafts beyond the boats.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes.

  After arriving at Vigo, Galicia via New York and Madrid, my first tapas of the trip, deviled eggs and empanada de atun, Estrella de Galicia cerveza.  A Centoleira, Playa de Beluso, Bueu (Pontevedra), Galicia.  Photo by Gerry Dawes© / gerrydawes@aol.com.

   
Paco Dovalo, President of the Asociación de Bodegas Artesanas, and Gerry Dawes at the Encontro de Viño de Autor in Meaño.


 Day 02 Friday, April 21 Cambados (B, L, T)



Morning boat ride on the fabulous, beautiful rías (fjords), where we will see shellfish farming and sample mussels and shellfish pulled directly from these Atlantic waters.  



We will visit the summer resort island of La Toja, with it’s church covered entirely in scallop shells, then have lunch in nearby O Grove at one of the best seafood restaurants in the world.



After lunch, we will visit the exceptionally picturesque and unique fishing village of Combarro, then return to Cambados with the rest of the afternoon free for exploring Cambados, including the old fishermen´s quarter, with Gerry Dawes.



For those still game, there will be the option of sampling some tapas, going to several easily walkable spots in Cambados.

Lodging:  Cambados
 

Mussels from the bateas (anchored rafts for farming Galicia’s famous shellfish)
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

Employee on the boat Pelegrin feeds a mussel taken from one of the bateas, shellfish farm rafts, to a sea gull, O Grove (Pontevedra).  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

Fishermen delivering the daily catch at 8:30 p.m.  to Restaurante D' Berto.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.From Michael Chiarello Spain Trip October 2011



Day 03 Saturday, April 22 Cambados – Santiago de Compostela – Ribadavia -Monforte de Lemos (70kms, 45 min., each way) (B, L)

In the morning, we will travel 45 minutes by bus to the great city of Santiago de Compostela, a monumental city that is destination for travelers on the famous Camino de Santiago.  We tour the city and the magnificent cathedral and cathedral square, visit the colorful food market, then visit Santiago’s wonderful municipal market and have a tapas lunch at one of most innovative and best restaurants in town located right in the market. 

 
 Iago Pazos with empanadas at Abastos 2.0 market bar in the market of Santiago de Compostela.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2014 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

After lunch, we will travel to Ribadavia (1 hr.+), a colorful Galician town with a superb Medieval and Jewish quarter.  In Ribadavia, we will tour the old quarter, then drive to a nearby village to visit one of the best white wine wineries in the Ribeiro wine district.

 Sign denoting that this was the Barrio Judio from the 12th to the 16th century, in the old Jewish quarter of Ribadavia (Ourense), Galicia. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012; gerrydawes@aol.com

Adegas Manuel Formigo makes primarily white wines of character and quality,  reflecting the greatness of his family’s  vineyards and the arduous and meticulous work that the Formigo family performs the whole year in their small winery and in their five vineyards scattered around Beade.   Formigo means ant in Gallego and some of their wines display an the silhouette of an ant on the labels, symbolic of the family name and their propensity for hard work.
   
After Ribadavia, we will travel less than an hour via the picturesque confluence of the Sil and Miño rivers to Monforte de Lemos, where we will check into the Parador of Monforte, which is in an old, renovated convent overlooking the city. 
We will relax at the Parador Nacional de Turismo with an optional stroll through the old quarter, then visit the Ribeira Sacra wine center and have tapas and Ribeira Sacra wines at the adjoining bar.  We will take a short stroll to visit the nearby Roman bridge over the river, then return to the Parador for an early evening.  (There will also be the option of having dinner in the parador’s fine restaurant.)  


Roman bridge, Monforte de Lemos.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

Lodging: Monforte de Lemos


Day 04 Sunday, April 23 Monforte de Lemos – Lugo – Chantada - Miño River – Monforte de Lemos (B, L, D)

We leave Monforte de Lemos in the morning and ride 45 minutes north to visit the provincial capital of Lugo, whose old quarter is completely surrounded by walls that were built by the Roman occupiers 2000 years ago.  For those so inclined we will stroll the 2 kms. on the pathway on top the wall around the city.  There are plenty of stairs to get down early and spend time with a coffee, tea, vino or beer for those who do not want to make the whole walk.  

After visiting Lugo, we will ride for less than an hour through scenic Galician countryside to the spectacular Ribeira Sacra wine growing area of Chantada on the stunningly beautiful banks of the Miño River.  We will have lunch with several local winemakers in the picturesque hamlet of Belesar in a restaurant on the river, then take a boat ride on this beautiful river.  



   
Gerry Dawes and winemaker Roberto Regal with several top wines from small artisan producers from the vineyards that line the Miño river around the town of Chantada.  At Belesar in Lugo province.


After the boat ride, we will travel for half an hour back to  Monforte de Lemos, then travel another 25 south, where  we will visit the spectacular Ribeira Sacra wine growing area of the Sil River canyons (for any who might have vertigo, we will leave you to have a glass of wine at a winery without such awesome view opportunities), then we will return in early evening to Monforte to relax at the Parador until time for our dinner of local specialties with wines from Sil River regions of La Ribeira Sacra, with the winemakers, at an excellent Galician restaurant just down the hill from the Parador.
 
 
Chef Michael Chiarello, Bottega, Napa Valley with José Manuel Rodríguez, President of the D.O. Ribeira Sacra and producer of The Spanish Artisan Wine Group wine, Décima, in José Manuel's precipitously steep Ribeira Sacra vineyards on the Sil River. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.
 

Day 05 Monday, April 24 Monforte de Lemos – O Barco de Valdeorras - Villafranca de Bierzo – Cacabelos (B, L, D)

In the morning, after breakfast at the sumptious buffet at the Parador de Monforte, we will move on to O Barco de Valdeorras, where we will visit two
wineries and have some tapas.  (50 kms. 45 minutes of meandering on picturesque roads).   These wineries make wonderful white wines from one of the greatest white wine grapes in the world, Godello, and superb red wines from the native Galician grape, Mencía.

Near O Barco de Valdeorras a superb winery and sample their wines, then move on ten minutes away to a bar-restaurant run by two brothers, who have some of the best wines in the region.  Their mother Ana cooks Galician specialites such as steamed octopus with olive oil, sea salt and Spanish paprika and empanadas filled with tuna, shellfish or meat, which we will sample along with the brothers' exceptional Godello and Mencía wines.




 
 Catch the optical illusion at the rim of the glass (look the rim for a few seconds and it will change perspective).  Kay Balun at Adegas D'Berna with a glass of D'Berna Godello, Córgomo, Valdeorras, Galicia.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012; gerrydawes@aol.com

After O Barco, we will drive 40 kms. (half an hour) to Villafranca del Bierzo and have lunch with wines from Bierzo in a picturesque hotel-restaurant situated on the Camino de Santiago.  

We will stay in a quaint hotel complex in nearby Cacabelos (10 kms., 10 min.), another major wine town on the Camino de Santiago. 

The afternoon will be free to explore this charming village with Gerry Dawes.
Dinner will be at the hotel’s fine country restaurant.

Lodging: Cacabelos 


Day 06 Tuesday, April 25 Cacabelos – León - Cangas de Onís (Asturias) (B, L, D) - Oviedo

In the morning, we will leave Cacabelos and travel 125 kms., 1hr., 15 min. to the city of León, where we will visit the old quarter and one of Spain’s most magnificent cathedrals, famous for its incredible surfeit of stained glass windows that makes it the true jewel in the crown of Spanish churches.

We will stop for refreshments, coffee and tapas, then head on north 180 kms., 2hrs. into the majestic Pico de Europa mountains of the Asturias, stopping for lunch at a wonderful restaurant in Cangas de Onís with great riffs on classic Austurian dishes such as fabada Asturiana and sample local excellent cider and exceptional farmhouse cheeses (Asturias is known as the Parque Nacional de Quesos, the National Park of Cheeses). 

Pouring cider at El Campanu, Cangas de Onís, Asturias.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2012; gerrydawes@aol.com

This picturesque cheese capital of Cangas de Onís is full of charming shops, bars and restaurants.  After lunch, we will spend some time strolling Cangas, then travel 70 kms., 1 hour, with awesome mountain views on the southern side, to the major Asturian city of Oviedo.  

We will check into a lovely hotel in the center of Oviedo, relax a bit, then in early evening, talk a short walking tour of the charming old quarter around Oviedo’s Cathedral, then have dinner at a cider house restaurant on Oviedo’s Bulevar de Sidra, Cider Boulevard.

Lodging: Oviedo
 
Day 07 Wednesday, April 26 Oviedo – Santillana del Mar - Bilbao  (B, L, D)

In the morning, we will take a daylight stroll through the markets of the old quarter of Oviedo, then head east with stunning views of the Picos de Europa mountains on our way to the medieval village of Santillana del Mar (115 kms., 1 hr., 15 minutes), which we will visit for about an hour, then head 100 kms., 1 hr. east on a superhighway along the Cantabrian-Basque coasts to Bilbao, where we will check into our centrally located hotel and have lunch at a nearby restaurant with Basque specialties.

After lunch, we will visit the Frank Gehry’s architectural gem, the Guggenheim Museum.
 

Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. 
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2014. Contact gerrydawes@aol.com.

 The rest of the afternoon and evening will be free to explore Bilbao, shop, etc.
Dinner will be in a wonderful atmospheric steak house across the river in Deusto, a barrio of Bilbao.

Lodging: Bilbao


Day 08 Thursday, April 27 Bilbao – San Sebastián (B, T, D)

In the morning, we will ride through the beautiful green mountains of the Basque Country from Bilbao to stunning seaside jewel of a city, San Sebastián (100 kms., 1 hr. on the autovia), where we will check into our hotel in the old quarter of the city. 

After check-in, we will gather for a walking tour of the old quarter of San Sebastián and have an ambulatory lunch in some of this city’s famous tapas bars.
The afternoon will be free to relax, shop, stroll the beach and old quarter, etc. 
   

San Sebastián at night, on the Paseo de la Playa de la Concha. 

Gerry Dawes and Kay Balun at Ganbara, Casco Viejo (old quarter), San Sebastián.

There is also a Cinc a Sec laundry and dry cleaners in the basement of the market, where anyone who so desires can have their clothes done within a few hours.

In the evening, we will take a short bus ride and take in inspiring views from above the city, then have dinner at a nearby restaurant, which has one of the greatest wine cellars in Europe. 

San Sebastián at night, from a spot on Monte Igeldo above the city.

Lodging:  San Sebastián



Day 09 Friday, April 28 San Sebastián (B, L)

The morning will be free to explore, visit the nearby food market, shop, relax, etc.
About 1 p.m., we will take a half an hour ride to the charming, historic fishing village of Getaria, where, just outside town we will visit a great Txakoli wine producer in the charming green countryside overlooking the vineyards, fields of grazing sheep and the sea.  

Then we will take a walking tour of Getaria, birthplace of Juan Sebastian Elkano, the first man to circumnavigate the globe (his boss Magellan died in the Phillipines along the way), home of the dress designer Balenciaga and home of Placido Domingo’s mother.  Then have lunch overlooking the port in one of the greatest fish restaurants on the planet. 


 
Getaria, near San Sebastián. Photograph by Gerry Dawes ©2014

After lunch, we will return to San Sebastián, where the rest of the afternoon and evening will be free, with optional gin-tonics at the bar that gave birth to the gin-tonics craze and optional casino gambling right at the entrance to the old quarter.   

 
Barman Juanjo making one of Dicken´s Bar´s legendary gin-tonics in San Sebastián.

Lodging:  San Sebastián

 Day 10 Saturday, April 29 San Sebastián (B, L, D)

The morning will be free to relax in San Sebastián, stroll the beach, shop, etc.
At 1 p.m., we will gather at our hotel, then take a bus ride to the fishing port of Pasajes de San Pedro, then catch a ferry (which crosses the inlet every ten minutes) to Pasajes de San Juan, an incredibly picturesque one-street town, where the writer Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) lived for a year.  We will have lunch in a charming, unique restaurant overlooking the water. 


We will return to Sebastián and have a free afternoon.  

In the evening, we will gather for dinner and take a short walk to a special place in the old quarter for dinner.

Lodging:  San Sebastián

Day 11 Sunday, April 30 Sebastián – Bilbao – Madrid – USA

Early morning bus to Bilbao airport for flights to Madrid and USA.  Option of more days in Madrid and elsewhere, to be arranged individually.


_____________________________________________________  
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
  Reality television series pilot on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain with Gerry Dawes.
 
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