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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)




10/09/2016

Experience Gerry Dawes's Spain: Customized, Specialized Food, Wine Cultural & Photographic Tours of Spain & Tour Advice


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Drinking Godello at Estado Puro in Madrid.
Photo by Harold Heckle, Associated Press, Madrid.


In October, 2015, John Sconzo (Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life) and I led a group on an exclusive tour of Northern Spain, visiting Galicia, Asturias, the Basque Country, Navarra, La Rioja and Madrid. 

 In January 2014, I organized and led the Club Chefs of Connecticut and New York on a culinary educational tour through Barcelona, San Sadurni d'Anoia (Cava country), Valencia, Alicante and Madrid. 

In October 2013, I led 28 people, including baseball great Keith Hernandez, on The  Commonwealth Club of California Taste of Spain Tour with Gerry Dawes 2013 to Madrid, Córdoba, Sevilla, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Ronda, Granada, Almagro, Toledo and Chinchón, highlighting gastronomy, culture and wine.  



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

The following week, I organized and led John Sconzo (Docsconz:  Musings on Food and Life http://docsconz.com/2014/02/a-master-cortador-makes-his-mark-in-avila/) and his son L. J. on a week-long trip through Segovia, Ávila, Segovia, Cáceres, Mérida, Jabugo, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the Sierra Morenas north of Córdoba, Chinchón and Toledo.  With more posts to come on his blog, John Sconzo wrote this in one of his first entries about the trip:

"Nights like this are ones that just need to be appreciated for the something special that they are. It is no exaggeration that Gerry Dawes, my friend, traveling companion and guide “knows and appreciates Spain more than all but a few Spaniards” let alone people from other countries. That statement came from our host for the evening, Benjamin Rodriguez Rodriguez, the proprietor of the humble appearing, but fully sensational El Rincon de Jabugo situated in the equally humble, but comfortable Gran Hostal San Segundo located just outside the historic walls of Avila near the  San Vicente gate."

“I have said this before and I’ll say it again, nobody knows Spain like Gerry Dawes. I sincerely doubt that there is another American, and very few, if any, Spaniards can approach, let alone surpass his knowledge of the people, food, wine and culture of Spain. He has been frequenting the depths, breadths and heights of the country as a second home for nearly fifty years, leaving no stone, and especially no wine, unturned during that time.” -- Wining and Dining Around Spain with Gerry Dawes: Part 1 (of a 6-part series) by John Sconzo, Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life, March 10, 2015 (From a second trip Sconzo took with me, this one this year.)

“Gerry Dawes is a true gastronomad, walking the culinary and cultural by-ways of the Spanish soul and then sharing every bit of his passion and knowledge (both considerable) with the reader.  I once overheard someone say that James Michener said Gerry was the only one qualified to write the sequel to Iberia.  I have learned so much from his experiences -- he is the "go-to" guy for anything authentically Spanish and is unparalleled in his experience with Spanish wines.  Gerry has introduced the world to Spanish chefs (including Ferran Adria), Spanish food products, wines, history (I especially love his respect for Spain's Jewish culture -- and he's not Jewish), and travel.”  - - Rozanne Gold, Four-time James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and author.  


video
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
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For customized trips, contact Gerry Dawes (based in New York) with desired dates, areas of interest in Spain (gastronomy, wine, art, history, culture, photography, etc.), specific sights you might like to see, number of possible travelers, and an estimated budget for your group. 


Phone: 914-414-6982 
Teléfono movíl (during stays in España): (011 34) 670 67 39 34


10/05/2016

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


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


Nacho Molina, COASA, in Peñamellera Alta.

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






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

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



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






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


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



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





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



 


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

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


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

About Gerry Dawes

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


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

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

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




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

Asturian Journal: March 19, A Visit to Monje, Producer of an Exceptional Cabrales-like Blue Cheese in Panes, Peñamellera Baja (Another excerpt from my article in the summer issue of culture: the word on cheese.)

* * * * *
Monje “Blue,” Manuel Monje Torre, Panes, Peñamellera Baja (pasteurized cows’milk) 

 Monje "Blue," a first-rate Cabrales-type cheese from Peñamellera Baja.

On March 19, a very eventful day, after our visit to Peñamellera Alta (La Cueva Llonín and La Aula de la Miel), in the afternoon Nacho Molina took me to visit Manuel Monje Torre's quesería in Panes in Peñamellera Baja. 

Manuel Monje explains aspects of his cheese-making operations to Nacho Molino of COASA.

When the Denomination of Origin control board for Cabrales drew the demarcation lines, the village of Panes was left out.  Manuel Monje, who has made his pasteurized naturally bluing Monje cheese for more than sixty years, told me “Our cheeses are in the style of Cabrales, but each producer has his own style and methods of producing cheese, so our comes out somewhat different.  Some Cabrales cheeses come out too dark, some too white.  We strive for consistency of color and flavor.  We go for less weight volume–which he says is based on humidity–which means higher quality.  We used to age our cheeses in caves that had prehistoric paintings, about which I kept quiet.  When we moved our cheese curing operations to Panes, the Asturian government took over the caves.”  

Manuel Monje with his Monje "Blue," Queso Artesanal.

Monje is creamy, easy to eat and does not have as sharp a favor as some aged Cabrales.  When young, it does not appear to be as blue, but with air the color darkens.


Monje, a natural blue cheese.

After our visit to Monje, Nacho Molina and I had lunch (and a very revealing personal conversation--great guys' talk) at the Hotel-Restaurant Covadonga in the town of Panes.  After lunch Manuel Monje re-joined us for coffee at the bar, where I took these photographs of domino players and habitues of the bar. 

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 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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