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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.

 

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

10/05/2015

Asturian Journal: Incredible Spring Afternoon on March 19, Dia de San José, in Las Asturias with Jésus Gutierrez & Josepha Schiano-Lomoriello of La Chivita, a Top Producer of Goats' Milk Cheese (Excerpt from my article in the summer issue of culture: the word on cheese.)

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La Chivita, Buelles, Peñamellera Baja (raw goats’ milk)

One of the most fascinating and rewarding visits of my five-day trip to Asturias, was to La Chivita, yet another single-producer cheese, this one made by the husband-and-wife team of Jesús Gútierrez and Josepha Schiano-Lomoriello, a Renaissance pair of subsistence farmers who battle to stay in touch with nature, their herd of 200 goats (soon to be supplemented by a hundred or so captivating new-born kids that I saw while I was there) and the vagaries of the new world economy. They deserve to succeed, because they are great people and so is their compelling farmhouse goat cheese, which Jesús says “was inspired by and is similar to Muenster.” The cheese, as they eat it at home, often has a naturally runny exterior (which they wipe off before sending to market), a somewhat crumbly white interior and a creamy, haunting, mushroomy flavor.


Jésus Gútierrez and Josepha Schiano-Lomoriello of La Chivita.

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

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


Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià.

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés.

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



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