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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)




2/21/2017

Another Five Dali Melting Watch Award Restaurant: Casa Bigote, Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Andalucía)


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Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí) Five-Watch Rating

 Casa Bigote
Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Andalucía)

 (From my article Spain's Best Undiscovered Restaurants, Departures, May 2011)

 

The town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the southern region of Andalucía, is famous for its sherry, in particular the Manzanilla produced by La Gitana, whose owner, Javier Hidalgo, once said, “If you ever have Manzanilla at sunset on Bajo de Guía beach, you will never drink it again without seeing the Sanlúcar sunset in the glass.” 

(See Andalucian Journal: April in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Home of Manzanilla Sherry: Adventures with Javier Hidalgo, Producer of La Gitana Manzanilla, in Las Marismas, Lunch in a Very Secret Place)


Javier Hidalgo drinking his Bodegas Hidalgo Napoleon Amontillado  

as an aperitif before our riacheros lunch. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010 / gerrydawes@aol.com

The best place for drinking sherry on Bajo de Guía beach is Casa Bigote, where the tapas and Manzanilla are legendary. Authentic, raffish and utterly captivating, the original building is an old-time fishermen’s tavern crammed with bullfight posters and decades’ worth of oddities dragged in by local fleets’ nets (Roman amphoras, a whale’s jaw, blowfish, etc.). Chef Fernando Hermoso, who began cooking on fishing boats, serves only local fish and shellfish from the Guadalquivir River—where Columbus and Magellan began their historic voyages—and the Atlantic Ocean. His huevo marinero, a sublime monkfish-and-shrimp dish served bubbling hot with a fresh egg cracked on top, is a culinary epiphany.


Langostinos de Sanlúcar from Casa Bigote with La Gitana manzanilla, in evening light,
Bajo de Guía beach on the Guadalquívir River, Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2010 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

Across the alleyway, in the restaurant’s upstairs dining room overlooking the Guadalquivir, he serves his justly famous langostinos de Sanlúcar (prawns steamed or grilled with sea salt). Or have the rape a la marinera (monkfish with saffron sauce) or raya a la naranja agría (skate in bitter Seville orange sauce) while gazing out at the Coto Doñana, one of the world’s great bird reserves, where researchers believe they may have found the buried ruins of Atlantis. Dinner, $70. 10 Bajo de Guía, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz, Andalucía; 34-956/362-696.

Where to Stay: In Sanlúcar’s barrio alto, the Posada de Palacio (rooms, from $110; 9-11 Calle Caballeros; 34-956/365-060) is an old family home transformed into a hotel. -- Gerry Dawes
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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. 


". . .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. 


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

2/20/2017

Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017: Tapas Hopping with Colman Andrews in Madrid, Jan. 24, 2017


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Because the foreign press contingent was ensconced in an isolated hotel along Route M-40 in northwestern Madrid, some 15 kilometers from downtown Madrid, this year's tapas excursions at Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017 were somewhat curtailed compared to other years, but Colman Andrews, Managing Editor of The Daily Meal, and I managed one breakaway and I was able to  get to Marisquería Rafa on the Sunday night before Madrid Fusión 2017 began.


Colman and I managed to hit just two tapas bars, included the highly rated La Catapa and La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, which specializes in casquería (offal) and whose kitchen was closing just as we arrived at 11:00, so we had to settle for just one dish there, callos (tripe).

 
 On a tapas prowl with Colman Andrews, Editorial Director of The Daily Meal and Spanish cuisine expert at La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, Duque de Sesto, 48. Madrid. Tel. 91 451 10 00, Jan 24, 2017.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017
 
 Chef-owner Javi Estévez, La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, Duque de Sesto, 48. Madrid. Tel. 91 451 10 00, Jan 24, 2017.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017
 
 Specialist in Casquería (Offal) dishes:   Callos with picante sauce (tripe in a picante sauce), served with a Piñeiro Oloroso de Jerez at La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, Duque de Sesto # 48, Madrid. Photo by Gerry Dawes.

 Callos (tripe), some of the best tripe (which I do not particularly like) that I have ever had, at La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, Duque de Sesto, 48. Madrid. Tel. 91 451 10 00, on a tapas prowl during Madrid Fusión 2017 with Colman Andrews, Editorial Director of The Daily Meal and Spanish cuisine expert, Jan 24, 2017.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017.

 
 The menu at La Tasquería de Javi Estévez (in English)

Some of the dishes Colman and I missed out on:

 Beef Cheek, SweetBreads, Liver, Tripe, Shank and Snout; Lamb Sweetbreads, Brains, Neck, Lung & Liver; Pork Baby Pig Tail, Cheek, PigTrotters and Ear; plus Tuna Heart, Cod Tripe, Tongue, Kidneys and Cockscomb. 




Cabeza de cochinillo confitada (roast suckling pig head) with salad at La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, Duque de Sesto, 48. Madrid. Tel. 91 451 10 00.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2016.




Or aceitunas de Málaga (olives), lengua de cerdo Ibérico (Ibérico pig tongue), bread, aceite de oliva variedad Sikitita (peppery full flavored Isbylla extra virgen oiive oil made from the Sikitita olive variety, from Sevilla)  and a glass of Leirana Albariño 2013 from Forjas de Salnés at La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, Duque de Sesto # 48, Madrid. Photo by Gerry Dawes.



Or riñones de conejo Meuniere (rabbit kidneys Meuniere with butter, lemon and hazelnuts) at La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, Duque de Sesto # 48, Madrid. Photo by Gerry Dawes.



La Tasquería de Javi Estévez, Duque de Sesto # 48, Madrid. Photo by Gerry Dawes.

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 Bar La Catapa, Calle Menorca, 14, Madrid (Zona Retiro).  Phone: 686 14 38 23.

"Today we have tripe with garbanzos" on the blackboard and "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" - - Benjamin Franklin, inscribed on a post at Bar La Catapa, Calle Menorca, 14, Madrid (Zona Retiro).  Phone: 686 14 38 23.  La Catapa is rated as one of the top gastrobars in Madrid.   Luckily, we passed on the tripe at la Catapa, especially since that was the only dish offered to us at La Tasquería de Javi Estévez.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017

 Erizos del mar (sea urchins) on a tapas prowl with Colman Andrews, Editorial Director of The Daily Meal and Spanish cuisine expert at Bar La Catapa, Calle Menorca, 14, Madrid (Zona Retiro).  Phone: 686 14 38 23.  La Catapa is rated as one of the top gastrobars in Madrid, Jan 24, 2017.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017
 
 Exceptional alcachofas (artichokes), which we suspect may have been "poached" in olive oil, on a tapas prowl with Colman Andrews, Editorial Director of The Daily Meal and Spanish cuisine expert at Bar La Catapa, Calle Menorca, 14, Madrid (Zona Retiro).  Phone: 686 14 38 23.  La Catapa is rated as one of the top gastrobars in Madrid, Jan 24, 2017.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017


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

Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017: More Photos of the 15th Anniversary Edition, January 23-25, 2017


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Myriam López, GrupoGourmets-Salón de Gourmets, with legendary chef Juan Mari Arzak (Arzak) at Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017 #amf17

 Long-time friend Fernando Gurucharri, President of the Union de Catadores Españoles (Union of Spanish Winetasters), at the tasting of 11 historic vintages going back more than 30 years of D. O. Ribera del Duero wines at Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017 on Jan. 24, 2017.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017.


Galician Chef Pepe Solla of Casa Solla, Poio (Pontevedra), Galicia demonstrated lampreia eel cooking at a demonstration at Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017, Jan 25, 2017.  There is a cult-like devotion among some groups, mostly men, who make piligrimages to spot on the Miño River, the border between Spain and Portugal, when the eel are available around this time of year.

 Chef Juan Cruz (Saborea España) and Matilde Asián González, Secretaria de Estado de Turismo at Saborea España, Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017, Palacio de Congresos, Madrid.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017 #amf17

 Chef Elena Arzak (Arzak) and Albert Raurich (Dos Pebrots, Barcelona) at Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017 #amf17 


Gerry Dawes and long-time friend, champion cortador de jamones (professional hand-slicer of Ibérico hams) Florencia Sanchidrián at Asisa Madrid Fusión 2017, Palacio de Congresos, Madrid.

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

2/11/2017

Continuing Our Tour of the Wine Routes of Catalunya: Oct. 18 The Cava Museum (Cava Interpretation Center), Cavas Codorniu visit and tapas lunch, an early dinner at Bolets Vins i Caves Castellers and Hotel Barcelona Golf.


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Fascinating interactive photo displays at the CIC Fassina Cava Interpretation Centre Cava Center in the Cava capital of Sant Sadurni d'Anoia illustrate cava production at our first stop on the Catalunya Wine Routes tour, 
Oct. 18, 2017. All photos by Gerry Dawes©2017.
   

Spain’s Delightful Cava, Always a Reasonably Priced Alternative
to French Champagne, Has Reached New Levels of Quality
Text & Photographs by Gerry Dawes©2017
            Over the past decade or so of sipping Cavas in some of Spain’s top restaurants, it has become increasingly apparent that a number of the country’s smaller producers are bottling some absolutely superb sparkling wines. By contrast, not too long ago, Spanish sparkling wine was little more than quaffable, mass-market bubbly widely available at bargain prices. While that still holds true for a large percentage of the staggering 20 million-plus cases of Cava exported each year (another 9 ½ million-plus cases are consumed in Spain) — hand-in-hand with quality advances on the country’s wine and gastronomy fronts — a number of Champagne-quality Cavas from a wide range of producers have emerged. Some of these exceptional wines are vintage dated, prestige brut cuvées; bone-dry, palate-cleansing brut natures (great with shellfish); and an increasingly impressive group of sparkling rosados (rosats in Catalan), some made with pinot noir, others with indigenous varieties such as trepat, monastrell and garnacha.
            Though some of these noteworthy Cavas are being produced by the larger, well-known houses, such as Codorníu and Freixenet, it is the smaller, ultra-quality-oriented firms that are making their mark. Juve y Camps, a family venture that has long been appreciated in Spain among aficionados, is perhaps the best known.


Wine Routes of Catalunya
October 18, 2016 Vilafranca del Penedès - Sant Sadurni d'Anoia -  
Castellví de la Marca -





 Phylloxera larvae figures, large enough to be carried by fiesta participants through the streets during the annual celebration of the demise of the devasting vine louse's effect on the vineyards of Catalunya (and most of the rest of Spain and France) at the Cava Museum, Sant Sadurni d'Anoia (Barcelona), Catalunya, Spain. 

 Photo of a Cava cork stopper at the CIC Fassina Cava Interpretation Centre Cava Center in Sant Saduri d'Anoia (Barcelona), Catalunya, Spain.

 A glass of Cava on old wine press in the CIC Fassina Cava Interpretation Centre (Cava Center), Sant Sadurni d'Anoia (Barcelona), Catalunya, Spain on our Catalunya Wine Routes Tour.

 A guide at the CIC Fassina Cava Interpretation Centre Cava Center in the Cava production capital of Sant Sadurni d'Anoia explains cava production at our first stop on the Catalunya Wine Routes tour, Oct. 18, 2017
More to come for October 18, 2017

  Codorníu: Where Cava Began

Codorníu, makers of some 3.5 million cases per year, laid the foundation for quality Cava production. The founding Codorníu and Raventós families, who trace their winemaking history to 1551, when Jaume de Codorníu,  a vinegrower, began making wine, are said to be the first to have produced méthode champenoise sparkling wines outside of Champagne in 1872, when Josep Raventós Fatjó  began  making  a Champagne-style wine to sell in France, whose vineyards had been wiped out by the phylloxera louse (reference above, the Cava Museum).

When Anna de Codorníu, heiress to substantial vineyards of the Can Codorníu estate, married Miquel Raventós, a viticulturist, the union gave birth to a dynasty that has now been in the business of making wine for more than 450 years. Codorníu  is  Spain’s  oldest family business, it’s oldest winemaking operation and one of the most venerable businesses in the world.  Even though the company still carries the name of the original Codorníu, the Raventós have long been the owners.

Manuel Raventós, who took over as Director of Codorníu in 1885,  after his father Josep died, proved to be a visionary and is responsible for much of the image of Codorníu.  He travelled in France to increase his winemaking skills, then, despite the fact that the phylloxera louse had begun to devast Spain as well as France, he made some bold moves.  He knew that his own vineyards had to be ripped out and re-planted with phylloxera resistant American rootstock.   Despite the financial  hard times, in 1895 Manuel Raventós opted to commissioned the modernista architect Josep Puig i Cadalfach to build the “Cava Cathedral” and Casa Pairal, which was the Raventós family home for many years and is now used as a VIP entertainment space.  



Painting of a grape harvester from the 19th Century at Codornìu.

The elegant Puig i Cadalfach-designed tower of the Codornìu - Raventós family home, Casa Pairal, on the grounds of the winery.

Distinctive moderniste architecture at Codornìu, designed by Antoni Gaudì contemporary, Catalán architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch.  The buildings at Codornìu were declared a National Monument.

The great modernized reception hall at Codornìu with repeating Puig i Cadafalch arches.


Museum space at Codornìu.


Old barrel desplay in the museum space at Codornìu.


At Codornìu, there are many miles of underground caves lined with row after row of pupitres, riddling racks, full of bottles, which one suspects are just there as dummies, since their is no evidence finger marks showing that the bottles have been grasped and turned.  Visitors are taken through these spectacular cellars on a motorized rubber-wheeled train.


Deep in the cellars at Codornìu is a bust of Anna de Codornìu, whose inherited family vineyards were the foundation of one of the world's oldest contually operating wineries.

Plaque to Josep Raventós Fatjó, a family member who ran Codornìu from 1857 to 1885 and introduced the first Cava in 1872.  Note the bullet hole near the right temple, a souvenir from the Spanish Civil War. 


 Large dummy bottles of Codornìu.

Codornìu advertisement from the Belle Epoque.


Bolet. Vins i Cavas 

The Bolet family has cultivated vinyards and elaborated wine for over seven generations.At the beginning of the 20th century, Jaume Bolet Galofré faced the phylloxera plague by replanting all of the vines on our property with white and red varieties typical of the region.


Over the years he planted new vines and today we work 66 acres. The estates: Can Planes d’en Perull, Les Conilleres and Mas Lluet, each in different areas and at different altitudes, are located in Castellví de la Marca (Barcelona).


In the 1970s, Antoni Bolet Pascual began to modernize the winery by installing machinery and stainless steel tanks.


In 1982 we began bottling wines and cavas from our homegrown harvest under the Bolet brand, tribute to the family surname, from both branches "Mas Lluet" and “Can Planes”.



 Vino Blanco Ecológico Vinya Sota Bosc Muscat - Gewurtztraminer blend and Vino Blanco Ecológico Xarel·lo, both organic wines made practicing ecological agriculture in the vineyards.



Maria Tetas (Artista  i dissenyo), Emma Pascual (Departamento tècnico) and Xavier Bolet Tetas (Enòlogo y director comercial) look on as Jose Antoni Bolet Bolet (Gerente y agricultor) pours Bolet Rosat Pinot Noir Cava for our group at Finca Mas LLuet.  The family home is an impressive Catalan "chateau" building.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2016 gerrydawes@gmail.com

My tasting note on Bolet wines at Finca Mas Lluet.

The Castellers - Human Tower - Builders Center

 Castellers (daredevil human tower pyramids, a Catalan tradition) at the Castellers Center in Vilafranca del Penedès. 


  Capella de Sant Joan, Vilafranca del Penedès.



Finally, after a long day (our fellow tour members flew in from the U. S. that morning), we reached our resting place for the night, the Hotel Barcelona Golf (Night Golf, anyone?)

Hotel Barcelona Golf, Carretera Martorell-Capellades, Km 19.5, 08635 Sant Esteve Sesrovires, Barcelona, Spain Phone: +34 937 75 68 00

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