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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)




10/27/2018

Gerry Dawes's Spain: A Taste of Madrid, Toledo, La Mancha & Southern Spain Tour May 8 - May 19, 2019 / Join an Insider's Convivial Rolling Road Show of Spain's Gastronomy, Wine, Culture and People


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Visiting 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

12 Days, 11 Nights
Wednesday, May 8 – Monday, May 19, 2018

Organized and led by Gerry Dawes & Kay Balun

Contact gerrydawes@aol.com for more information, 
including a full prospectus and tour conditions.


Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomia 2003(Spanish National Gastronomy Prize)
 Has been crisscrossing Spain since the 1970s.  Drinking Godello at Estado Puro, Madrid.Photo by Harold Heckle, Associated Press, Madrid. 


Kay Balun in Chipiona (Cádiz).  Kay is a graduate of Smith College who has made more than a dozen trips to Spain in the past decade. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes.


 
  Gerry Dawes and Kay Balun at la Feria de Abril in Sevilla 2015.


José Andrés with a gintonic.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

"As a young chef arriving in America from Spain in the early 1990s, I came to see Gerry as an ally. At the time, I found myself struggling to explain Spanish cooking because people either had no idea or they had the wrong idea.  It was a battle.  But Gerry's writing meant I was not alone in telling Americans about piquillos and escudella and jamón.  At a time when most food journalists were writing about France and Italy, Gerry went off in his own direction to become the first to really tell the story of Spain."– José Andrés, James Beard Award Winning Star Chef, Jaleo, Zaytinya, Café Átlantico Minibar (Washington, D.C.); Bazaar (Los Angeles).

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"In his nearly thirty years (now fifty) 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..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections

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Mark Kiffin, The Compound, Santa Fe, NM.

"Trust me everyone, I have traveled with this man.  If Gerry Dawes tells you to eat somewhere it's like Bourdain, believe it!!" - - Mark Kiffin, Chef-owner, The Compound, Santa Fe, New Mexico 


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"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. I have come to know him as a good friend over the ten years or so and have now had the pleasure to travel around Spain with him on a number of occasions . . ." -- John Sconzo, Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life

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Gerry Dawes leading a tapas tour with Tetsuya Wakuda, Rochelle Smith, Lidia (wife of Michelin starred Chef Don Alfonso Iacarrino, Janet Van Aken, Charlie Trotter and Norman Van Aken, Marisquería Rafa in Madrid. 

Gerry Dawes has planned and led tours for such culinary stars as Chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, Ryan McIlwraith, Terrance Brennan, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello and such personalities as baseball great Keith Hernandez, Michael Whiteman (Joseph Baum Michael Whiteman Restaurant Consultants), Food Writer John Mariani, and Senator James Abourezk.  He has led on shorter excursions and given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities such as NY Restaurateur Drew Nieporent, Tim Zagat, Michael and Ariane Batterberry, Jeffrey Steingarten, Tim Zagat, cookbook author Rozanne Gold, Ruth Reichl, Restaurateur Danny Meyer, Chef Norman Van Aken, Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, Chefs Christopher Gross, Rick Moonen, James Campbell Caruso, Don Pintabona and many others.  He has also led such groups as Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life Taste of Northern Spain Tour, The Commonwealth Club of California (twice), Mythical 61st Fighter Squadron (twice), Club Managers of America Wine Tour, Altamira Tours and many others.
 
 Gerry Dawes and baseball great Keith Hernandez at the Alhambra in Granada.
* * * * * 
$4,495* per person double room; $5,195* single room 
(Airfare not included; each traveler makes their own flight arrangements)

With all designated meals, ground transportation, guides and tips.
*Subject to Euro Exchange.  Minimum of 12 Travelers**

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. 

(**For fewer people a supplement may be required due to fixed costs.)


One of my favorite bus drivers, Antonio Carrasco from the Madrid-based Esteban Rivas bus company, whose buses I have used on several trips.   At a stop on the way back into Madrid.  Antonio was a great driver who took good care of all of us.

Itinerary
Included meals noted as follows: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, T=Tapas, D=Dinner
Day 00, Wed, May 8 USA to Madrid Flights to Madrid.

Day 01, Thurs, May 9 Madrid (L, D)

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.

Cochinillo asado, roast Suckling pig at Casa Botín in Madrid

Day 02, Fri, May 10 Madrid – Segovia – Ávila – Madrid (B, L, D)

 
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 asado, 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 11 Madrid – Toledo - Madrid (B, L, D)

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 12 Madrid (B, L)

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 13 Madrid – La Mancha – Córdoba
(B, T, D)

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 14 Córdoba - Sevilla (B, T, D)
 
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 after dinner.

Flamenco performance in Sevilla.
Photo by Gerry Dawes

Day 07 Wed, May 15 Sevilla - Sanlúcar de Barrameda (B, L)

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 16 Sanlúcar de Barrameda - El Puerto de Santa Maria - Cádiz – El Puerto de Sta. Maria - Sanlúcar de Barrameda 2 hours bus and ferry, round trip. (B, L, T)

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 tapas dinner and a relatively early (for Spain) end to the evening. 

Day 09 Fri, May 17  Sanlúcar de Barrameda – Pueblos Blancos – Ronda (B, L)

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.  

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

Then we will arrive in the spectacular city of Ronda, which is set astride a 300-foot gorge that splits the town in two.  We will check into our hotel overlooking the mountains that surround the town, then stroll down the hill to Ronda to have lunch in an unforgettable restaurant.  

 Kay Balun at the ambience-rich Restaurante Pedro Romero in Ronda.

 Bridge spanning the gorge that divides Ronda.
 
After lunch, we will take a brief walking tour of Ronda, then have the afternoon free to explore this charming small city, one of the jewels of Andalucía.  The evening will be to relax in this wonderful, romantic place.

Day 10 Sat, May 18 Ronda  –  Granada (B, L, D)

In the morning, we will bus from Ronda 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). 

We will have lunch at a charming terrace restaurant overlooking the entrance to the Alhambra.  After lunch, 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 11, Sun, May 19 Granada – La Mancha - Chinchón (B, L, D)

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, Mon, May 20 Chinchón – Barajas Airport  (50 kms.) – USA (B)

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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 Gastronomy Blogs
About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

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


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

10/25/2018

The Olive Harvest in Jaén & Córdoba, Spain

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Olives, Córdoba.

The next phase of my olive oil education produced this slide show on the tail-end of the olive harvest (la recogida) and Bailén de Oro olive oil mill (almazara) near Bailén in the Andalucian Jaén province with Anuncia Carpio and José Gálvez as my guides and luncheon hosts at the Resturante del Hotel Bailén (a former Parador de Turismo). Those of you who have ever driven through Jaén know that it is one huge olive orchard. 

Anuncia Carpio is emphatic in pointing out that "these photos are the last of the harvest, when the olives are too ripe (overripeness is something that doesn't stop many winemakers these days!) and most of them have fallen to the ground. The highest quality olive oils are extracted when the olives are green (during the first two weeks of November) and all of the fruit is taken directly from the trees."


Still, if you have never seen the olive harvest, even the end of la recogida is fascinating as I think you can see in the photographs in the following two slide shows.

(Double click on the image above for a large screen view
of my slide show on the fascinating harvest & milling process.)



After Jaén, I went on to take in another version of la recogida, this time with my old friend, Javier Hidalgo, owner of La Gitana Manzanilla (see COPA Jerez report and article on Manzanilla). We visited the Beloyana olive oil producing estate of Soledad Serrano near Espejo, a half hour southeast of Córdoba.




(Double click on the image above for a large screen view
of my slide show on the fascinating harvest & milling process.)


We spent the night at the Beloyana estate and my companion, Kay and I got a chance to go into Córdoba and arrived at the gates of La Mezquita just as the 5:30 bells were tolling. La Mezquita closes at six, but the security guards refused to let us in even for a quick look at it and closed the door in our faces, even after we told them that we had come to Córdoba especially for that. They were quite antipático in the bargain. These people live off tourism, but they seem to really dislike tourists, or what they think are tourists.

We strolled around the old quarter until it was time for the taberna/mesón of my old friend, Juan Peña, to open. Juan was not due until 10 p.m., but I had an employee call him and he soon appeared as did a selection of his incredible dishes, including the best salmorejo and berenjenas fritas (fried eggplant sticks) I have ever tasted. Juan wife, Mari Carmen, makes a number of salmorejos--his spectacularly good tomato-based one is the benchmark for this wonderful thick gazpacho-like dish that can be used like a sauce with his supernal fried eggplant. He also makes a green-and-white asparagus salmorejo and garnishes both with chopped Pedroches jamón Ibérico (a little-known, but now widely served ham from a mountain valley on the north side of the Sierra Morena mountains).

(Double click on the image above for a large screen viewof my slide show on the fascinating harvest & milling process.)

About the author

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.

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

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Culinary Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at gerrydawes@aol.com; Alternate e-mail (use only if your e-mail to AOL is rejected): gerrydawes@hotmail.com

Pulpo a la Gallega (Gal: Polbo a la Galega), Octopus Galician Style is Close to Being the National Dish of Galicia, is Enjoyed All Over Spain and is a Great Match for Ribeiro Wines


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Polbo (pulpo, or octopus) is so highly estemed in Galicia that monuments such as this public water source 
in the village at Vilanova de Arosa (Pontevedra) is dedicated to Galician women cooking octopus. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.


Perhaps with the exception of lacón con grelos (a dish made with grelos, turnip or parsnip greens, pork shoulder, chorizo, potatoes and Spanish pimentón) and caldo gallego (a stew of pork, beef and or chicken with chorizo and/or bacon; turnip greens, collard greens or green cabbage; white beans and potatoes), pulpo a la gallega (polbo a la galega in Galcian) is the most ubiquitous dish in Galicia.  Although it is a dish now served in many parts of Spain, the Gallegos never seem to get enough of it. 

Steamed polbo a la galega (pulpo a la gallega; octopus Gallician style) dressed with olive oil, Spanish pimentón (paprika) and sea salt, though now prohibited in some restaurants by the health authorities (Duh! The restaurants wash the plates in hot water like everything else), is best served on a wooden plate, which absorbs excess water.  At Bar Pintos, Cambados (Pontevedra), Galicia. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.


Octopus is usually frozen to tenderize it--sometimes it is pounded--then boiled until tender in a stock pot or, in Galician fiestas, in large metal kettles. The steamed octopus is then cut with kitchen shears with bit-sized pieces, placed on a plate (best on the now forbidden [in restaurants, at least] round wooden plates, as served at fiestas; the wooden plates absorb some of the water, instead of allowing it to pool up below the octopus as on a normal plate. After the octopus is plated, it is dressed with Spanish extra virgin olive oil, Spanish pimentón (paprika) and sea salt, speared with toothpicks and served with good Galician bread. Sometimes steamed potatoes, another adored Galician staple are served with the pulpo.


Galician woman outside a restaurant in Ribadavia (Ourense), Galicia, preparing steamed
 polbo a la galega (pulpo a la gallega; octopus Galician style) dressed with olive oil, Spanish pimentón (paprika) and sea salt. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

It is claimed that the best octopus cooks are women from the inland towns of Carballiño and Ribadavia in the province of Ourense.  Since the best polbo a la galega supposedly comes from frozen octopus, this is not as unreasonable as it sounds, even though these towns are at least an hour from the nearest seacoast.  One Sunday morning in the center of Ribadavia, which has an exceptional old Jewish quarter (14th-16th centuries), I encountered a woman in front of a bar preparing polbo a la galega (see photos in slide show).


Pulpo that has been steamed, at a restaurant in Ribadavia in the Ribeiro wine district. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.

Another day, I was invited by my friend Manuel Formigo de la Fuente, who makes an exceptional Ribeiro wine in nearby Beade, to a special polbo a la galega day at a restaurant in Ribadavia.  The was a wait to get into the restaurant even though this dish can be found in almost any tapas bar or traditional restaurant in Galicia on any given day. 

Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / gerrydawes@aol.com.


Slide show, Octopus.  
(Double click on images to enlarge.)


A modern rendition of pulpo a la gallega, this poached octopus in a pure of potatoes with Spanish pimentón (paprika) and olive oil, at Ibiza Tapas, 93 Mill Plain Rd, Danbury, CT (203) 616-5731, October 23, 2015. Ibiza owner and native Gallego Ignacio Blanco is a veteran restaurateur from Galicia, who achieved three stars from the New York Times for his NYC restaurant Meigas, which closed after 9/11. Ignacio and his two chefs have developed a series of dishes that amount to some of the greatest Spanish tapas I have ever eaten in the United States. For young local chefs who want to learn about modernized traditional Spanish cuisine done by a real professional, if you can't get to Spain right now, get thyself to Danbury, Connecticut to this unassuming, but attractively decorated restaurant in an unprepossessing little shopping center on the Western edge of Danbury, just off Exit Two (Mill Plain Road/ Route 2012). Photo by Gerry Dawes©2015 / gerrydawes@aol.com / Facebook / Twitter / YouTube / Pinterest. Samsung Galaxy S5 Phone Camera 16MB.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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. 

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

10/24/2018

Gerry Dawes's Spain: A Taste of Northern Spain Tour April 24 - May 5, 2019 / Join an Insider's Convivial Rolling Road Show of Spain's Gastronomy, Wine, Culture and People


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

11 Days, 10 Nights
Wednesday, April 24 – Sunday, May 5, 2018

Organized and led by Gerry Dawes & Kay Balun

Contact gerrydawes@aol.com for more information, 
including a full prospectus and tour conditions.

 
 Gerry Dawes and Kay Balun at la Feria de Abril in Sevilla 2015.


Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomia 2003
(Spanish National Gastronomy Prize)
 Has been crisscrossing Spain since the 1970s.

Kay Balun in Chipiona (Cádiz), graduate of Smith College 
who has made more than a dozen trips to Spain in the past decade. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes.

José Andrés with a gintonic.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

"As a young chef arriving in America from Spain in the early 1990s, I came to see Gerry as an ally. At the time, I found myself struggling to explain Spanish cooking because people either had no idea or they had the wrong idea.  It was a battle.  But Gerry's writing meant I was not alone in telling Americans about piquillos and escudella and jamón.  At a time when most food journalists were writing about France and Italy, Gerry went off in his own direction to become the first to really tell the story of Spain."– José Andrés, James Beard Award Winning Star Chef, Jaleo, Zaytinya, Café Átlantico Minibar (Washington, D.C.); Bazaar (Los Angeles).

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"In his nearly thirty years (now fifty) 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..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections

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Mark Kiffin, The Compound, Santa Fe, NM.

"Trust me everyone, I have traveled with this man.  If Gerry Dawes tells you to eat somewhere it's like Bourdain, believe it!!" - - Mark Kiffin, Chef-owner, The Compound, Santa Fe, New Mexico 


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"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. I have come to know him as a good friend over the ten years or so and have now had the pleasure to travel around Spain with him on a number of occasions . . ." -- John Sconzo, Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life

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Gerry Dawes leading a tapas tour with Tetsuya Wakuda, Rochelle Smith, Lidia (wife of Michelin starred Chef Don Alfonso Iacarrino, Janet Van Aken, Charlie Trotter and Norman Van Aken, Marisquería Rafa in Madrid. 

Gerry Dawes has planned and led tours for such culinary stars as Chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, Ryan McIlwraith, Terrance Brennan, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello and such personalities as baseball great Keith Hernandez, Michael Whiteman (Joseph Baum Michael Whiteman Restaurant Consultants), Food Writer John Mariani, and Senator James Abourezk.  He has led on shorter excursions and given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities such as NY Restaurateur Drew Nieporent, Tim Zagat, Michael and Ariane Batterberry, Jeffrey Steingarten, Tim Zagat, cookbook author Rozanne Gold, Ruth Reichl, Restaurateur Danny Meyer, Chef Norman Van Aken, Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, Chefs Christopher Gross, Rick Moonen, James Campbell Caruso, Don Pintabona and many others.  He has also led such groups as Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life Taste of Northern Spain Tour, The Commonwealth Club of California (twice), Mythical 61st Fighter Squadron (twice), Club Managers of America Wine Tour, Altamira Tours and many others.
 
 Gerry Dawes and baseball great Keith Hernandez at the Alhambra in Granada.

$4,295* per person double room; $4,995* single room 
(Airfare not included; each traveler makes their own flight arrangements)

With all designated meals, ground transportation, guides and tips.
*Subject to Euro Exchange.  Minimum of 12 Travelers**

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. 

(**For fewer people a supplement may be required due to fixed costs.)

Itinerary

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

Day 00 Wednesday, April 24 USA to Madrid – Vigo (Galicia)

Fly from the US gateway cities to Madrid.

Day 01 Thursday, April 25 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.



   
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 26 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 27 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©2017; 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.  Formigo shown presenting a vertical tasting of his white wines from seven vintages to John Gilman, Publisher of View From The Cellar.
   
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 28 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 29 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©2017; 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 30 Cacabelos – León - Cangas de Onís - Oviedo (Asturias) (B, L, D)

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, May 1 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, May 2 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 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, May 3 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, May 4 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 San 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, May 5 San 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.

(Option: additional days in Madrid and environs and, three days after the end of the first trip, Gerry Dawes's Spain:  A Taste of Southern Spain Tour May 8 - 19, 2019 begins.)

Contact gerrydawes@aol.com for more information, 
including a full prospectus and tour conditions.

 * * * * *

(Also three days after this tour, our Taste of Southern Spain Tour begins in Madrid.  For those who want to do both tours, you can have free time in Madrid with guidance from your  tour leaders. ) 

Gerry Dawes's Spain: A Taste of Madrid, Toledo, La Mancha & Southern Spain Tour May 8 - May 19, 2019 / Join an Insider's Convivial Rolling Road Show of Spain's Gastronomy, Wine, Culture and People
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About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

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