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"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life." -- Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019

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

“Spain wouldn’t be as known to Americans without the stories Gerry tells and writes.” - - Superstar Catalan Chef Ferran Adrià, elBulli

"But, for Gerry, Spain is more than just the Adriàs and (Juan Mari and Elena) Arzaks. He has connected with all manner of people working at every level and in every corner of Spain. I’m always amazed at this reach. You can step into a restaurant in the smallest town in Spain, and it turns out they know Gerry somehow. I remember one rainy night in Madrid during the 2003 Madrid Fusión congress. I wanted to go to my favorite place for patatas bravas, the ultimate tapa. But Gerry had another place in mind, and I didn’t know about it. But Gerry is always right. The potatoes at his place were amazing.” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019

"Gerry Dawes loves Spain, and he loves Spanish wines. And the man knows whereof he speaks. The country bestowed upon him its prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomia (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003, and here’s what James A. Michener said about him in Iberia: SpanishTravels and Reflections: “In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain, Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia … His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth … ” I first reached out to Dawes when I was planning a culinary journey to Barcelona, Rioja, and the Basque region of Spain, in 2011. I found his website and began reading, and have been learning from him ever since. Then, when I was preparing to stage at Arzak, in 2012, Dawes offered me some sound advice: learn Basque. He is opinionated – “You must decide whether you love wine or carpentry. If you want wood in your wine, suck on a toothpick as you drink your vino.” – he lives life with passion, and he respects wine and the men and woman who make it. Here’s to Gerry!" - - The Original Drinker: Spanish Wine Master Loves a $15.99 Rosado, Hates Wood and Always Avoids Wine Bars, James Brock, Paper City, papercitymag.com


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)


8/29/2019

Customized Insiders' Gastronomic, Wine and Cultural Trips to Spain With Long-Time Spain Expert Gerry Dawes & Former New York Times Restaurant Reviewer-Author Bryan Miller



* * * * *

Bryan Miller and Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes and Bryan Miller have teamed up to offer unique, custom-designed trips to Spain.  Imagine being deep inside the real Spain with two maestros, writer-photographer-lecturer Gerry Dawes, recipient of the Spanish National Gastronomy Prize and an acclaimed expert with an insider’s perspective on Spanish food, wine, culture and history, and the legendary former (and longest tenured) restaurant critic of The New York Times, Bryan Miller, who offers a top food writer’s perspective on Spanish cuisine and has traveled in Spain with Gerry Dawes on several occasions.  



José Andrés, Gerry Dawes and Bryan Miller at Mercado Little Spain, New York

"But, for Gerry Dawes, Spain is more than just the Adriàs and (Juan Mari and Elena) Arzaks. He has connected with all manner of people working at every level and in every corner of Spain. I’m always amazed at this reach. You can step into a restaurant in the smallest town in Spain, and it turns out they know Gerry somehow.” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019

Gerry Dawes with Eugenio Merino in winter in the Merino family vineyards in Corcos del Valle (Valladolid) in the Cigales D.O.  Eugenio and his family produce Viña Catajarros, one of the great rosados from Spain in old vine vineyards that resemble those of France´s Châteauneuf-du-Pape.


Bryan Miller in upstate New York at work on a manuscript.

Bryan Miller reigned as the longest tenured New York Times Restaurant Reviewer for a decade and has also written hundreds of food, wine and travel articles for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Philadelphia Inquirer and other top publications and is the author of numerous books.  Among many awards, Miller has received The Associated Press and The James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards Best Feature Article Award and the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.  Bryan Miller lived in Spain and studied at the University of Salamanca. 
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* * * * *

We can custom design and lead trips ranging from couples and small groups of friends to larger groups such as those Gerry Dawes has designed, organized and led for the Commonwealth Club of California (twice, 25 people), graduates of the U. S. Air Force Academy (twice, 16 people each trip), The Club Managers of America Wine Society and Club Chefs of New York & Connecticut.  Dawes has also planned and led more than twenty gastronomy-wine-and-culture focused trips to Spain for star chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello; former U. S. Senator James Abourezk; baseball great Keith Hernandez; and Bob Simon with a Sixty Minutes television crew.  He has also led shorter excursions and/or given detailed Spain advice to such culinary personalities as Drew Nieporent, Norman Van Aken, Charlie Trotter, Danny Meyer and Ruth Reichl.  

Gerry Dawes (l) leading a tapas night out at Marisquería Rafa in Madrid that included (l to r), Australia chef Tetsuya Wakuda, Charlie Trotter's partner Rochelle Smith, Lidia Iaccarino (Don Alfonso), Janet Van Aken, the late Chef Charlie Trotter and Chef Norman Van Aken.  Photo by Don Alfonso Iaccarino, Chef-owner of Don Alfonso, Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi, Italy.


Depending upon each itinerary, the following are examples of some of the rich, culturally and gastronomically unique experiences our fellow travelers will share with us in Spain:

Join us, as we dine informally in a 19th-Century Galician bodega with half a dozen artisan winemakers and experience the magic of a quiemada, a Galician spirits filled flaming pumpkin that is supposed to ward off evil spirits;

Quiemada at Bodega Rozas, one of the top artisan Albariño producers in Galicia.
 
Go deep into the caves of a southern Rioja hillside and taste terrific artisan wines from underground tanks, then have tortilla española, ensalada and splendid lamb chops and chorizo grilled over grape vine cuttings, all accompanied by the bottled wines;

Luís Alberto Lecea draws wine from a cement tank down in the caves at Bodegas Lecea, a family winery in southern Rioja Alta.  Upstairs in a rustic dining room with a long trestle table, we will eat lamb chops and chorizo cooked over a fire of grapevine cuttings.


Follow us to legendary backstreet tapas bars in Madrid, San Sebastián, Logroño and Sanlúcar de Barrameda, sampling different small plate regional specialties at each spot;

Langostinos and Manzanilla Sherry on the beach outside Bar Bigote in Sanlúcar de Barrameda at sunset.

Learn how to make paella with a maestro in his restaurant at the edge of the rice fields on the Albufera lagoon; 


Chef-owner Rafael Gálvez of La Matandeta, a restaurant at the edge of the rice field around the Albufera lagoon south of Valencia, shows visiting club chefs from New York and Connecticut how to make authentic paella.

Dine with some of the top women chefs in Spain, eat phenomenal rice dishes and visit one of the great chocolatiers/pastry chefs in Europe, all in Alicante province;

Chef María José San Román at her Michelin-starred Monastrell restaurante in Alicante. She and her family also own La Taberna del Gourmet, one of Spain's greatest tapas restaurants.

Gerry Dawes with his great friend, Paco Torreblanca, one of the top pastry chefs and chocolatiers in Europe, at his cooking school outside Alicante.

Visit some of the greatest artisan wineries, cheese producers and Ibérico ham producers and sample their exceptional products;

Long-time friend Marino González, the godfather of artisan farmhouse cheeses in Asturias, at one of his Terra Astur Sidrería (cider house), cheese shop and grill house restaurant in Oviedo.

And have an al fresco lunch with a chef Gerry calls the Emperor of Toledo on a terrace with stunning views overlooking the chef’s family vineyards, olive groves and the city itself.  

Chef Adolfo Muñoz, the Emperor of Toledo, at Adolfo´s home-estate-vineyard-olive grove-event space overlooking the city of Toledo.

The aforementioned are just some of the kinds of experiences we offer. Many of Gerry’s contacts in Spain with chefs, restaurateurs, artisan and star winemakers, cheese makers, food producers and personalities are very intensely personal relationships, which opens doors into unique privileged experiences.  

Chefs Quim Marqués, then chef-owner of El Suquet de L'Almirall restaurant in la Barceloneta and José Andrés's classmate at this Barcelona cooking school, where José was receiving his long-delayed diploma, with Gerry Dawes and José Andrés in Barcelona.


Baseball great Keith Hernandez with a paella made for us at an olive oil producers plant in Jaén, Andalucía.
 


Two old friends, Manolo Esquivias and his wife Mari Carmen dancing Sevillanas in their caseta at la Feria de Sevilla.

And, yes, we will visit some art museums, great cathedrals, old Jewish quarters, some of the great Moorish monuments of Spain, castles, Roman ruins, fishing villages, stunning white villages, awesome mountain and coastal scenery and more (depending on each itinerary).


Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and la Alhambra in Granada.

Roman theater at Mérida in Extremadura.

Gerry Dawes has been crisscrossing Spain for decades on extensive food, wine, fiestas and cultural fact-finding trips and knows more about the country than all but a handful of Spaniards.

In addition to our gastronomy, wine and cultural expertise, the chance to spend time with award-winning New York Times writer Bryan Miller, whose knowledge of food, treasure trove of anecdotes and insights on Spanish food, is a priceless opportunity.


Bryan Miller in 1992 at Els Quatre Gats, the legendary café in Barcelona where Picasso had his first exhibition.  Bryan and Gerry Dawes toured Barcelona as Bryan was researching and writing a New York Times article on dining out in Barcelona prior to the 1992 Olympics.  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

Bryan Miller with the famous restaurateur-priest Padre Luis de Lezama at La Taberna de Alabardero in Madrid.

Put together a group of friends, family and/or business colleagues and associates and we will custom design really special tours of Spain for you. We need a minimum of 12 - 16 travellers (will consider less people, but the trip will be priced accordingly) and will consider groups up to 26 people, like those from the Commonwealth Club of California. We offer several itineraries (see below) and the trips usually run 11 days, 10 nights*, but we can also consider slightly longer or slightly shorter duration trips. If you have a particular itinerary that you don't see here, e-mail Gerry Dawes and he will work with you to make it happen. (*Allows our guests two flight travel days and two weekends in Spain.) Contact gerrydawes@gmail.com or gerrydawes@aol.com.

Sample Itineraries
  
#1 Taste of Atlantic Spain Tour:  Galicia, Asturias, The Basque Country, San Sebastián, Navarra, La Rioja & Madrid


San Sebastián at night from Monte Igeldo.

#2 Taste of Atlantic & Mediterranean Spain Tour: Bilbao, San Sebastián, Navarra, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante & Madrid

 Quim Marquez, Chef-owner Quim de la Boquería, Mercat de la Boquería, Barcelona.

#3 Taste of Madrid, Western Spain Ibérico Ham, Cheese, Roman Ruins; Andalucía Southern Spain & Don Quixote La Mancha Tour: Madrid, Segovia, Ávila, Salamanca, Cáceres, Mérida, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz, El Puerto de Santa María, Jerez de la Frontera, Sevilla, Córdoba, Toledo, and Chinchón 

Gerry Dawes in an Ibérico ham-curing facility in Guijuelo (Salamanca).

#4 Taste of Andalucía & La Mancha Tour:  Madrid, Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Córdoba, Sevilla, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz, Atlantic Tuna Coast & Roman Fish Factories, El Puerto de Santa María, Pueblos Blancos, Ronda, Mijas, Málaga
 
A glass of Manzanilla sherry at sunset overlooking the Guadalquivir River as it meets the Atlantic Ocean.
 
#5 Sephardic Spain (Gerry Dawes* only):  Visiting the Jewish Quarters and Villages of Spain, Former Synagogues and Other Sites Important to the Rich Jewish Historical Presence in Spain.  Depending upon which of several itineraries we chose, we may visit Ribadavia (Galicia) León (Castilla y León), Oviedo (Asturias),  Hervás (Extremadura), Burgos, Estella & Tudela (Navarra), Zaragoza, Barcelona, Girona, Besalú (all in Catalunya), Lorca (Murcia), Córdoba, Lucena, Sevilla and Toledo.  (*Gerry Dawes has been studying, visiting and photographing Sephardic Spain for more than two decades.)

Santa María la Blanca, a stunning 12th-Century Mudejar architecture synagogue that was converted into a Catholic church and is now a museum and one of most important Jewish monuments and perhaps the oldest surviving synagogue in Europe.

* * * * *
  Shall deeds of Caesar or Napoleon ring
More true than Don Quixote's vapouring?
Hath winged Pegasus more nobly trod
Than Rocinante stumbling up to God?
 
Poem by Archer M. Huntington inscribed under the Don Quixote on his horse Rocinante bas-relief sculpture by his wife, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington, in the courtyard of the Hispanic Society of America’s incredible museum at 613 W. 155th Street, New York City.
__________________________________________________________________________________
 Gastronomy Blogs

About Gerry Dawes

My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life." -- Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019


Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York (streaming live and archived at www.pawlingpublicradio.org and at www.beatofthevalley.com.)

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.
 

7/23/2019

Jewish Spain Susona: The Legend of the Beautiful Jewish Girl in Sevilla Whose Betrayal Led to Implementation of The Spanish Inquisition in the 15th Century (My article In Madrid's Guidepost Magazine, May 25, 1974)


* * * * * 

Related image
The stuff of legend, Susona's skull, on a house in el Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish Quarter of Sevilla.  (Photo courtesy of Leyendas de Sevilla)



La bella Susona. Una mujer fatal del siglo XV.   (Leyendas de Sevilla) 

Version in Spanish.

* * * * * 
About Gerry Dawes

Writing, Photography, & Specialized Tours of Spain & Tour Advice

For custom-designed tours of Spain, organized and lead by Gerry Dawes, and custom-planned Spanish wine, food, cultural and photographic itineraries, send inquiries to gerrydawes@aol.com.  

I have planned and led tours for such culinary stars as Chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello and such personalities as baseball great Keith Hernandez and led on shorter excursions and have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities such as Drew Nieporent, Norman Van Aken, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, Christopher Gross, Rick Moonen, James Campbell Caruso and many others.
 * * * * *
“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . . the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” Michael Paterniti, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and The World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

* * * * *

"Gerry Dawes, I can't thank you enough for opening up Spain to me." -- Michael Chiarello on Twitter. 

"Chiarello embarked on a crash course by traveling to Spain for 10 days in 2011 with Food Arts
contributing authority Gerry Dawes, a noted expert on Spanish food and wine.  Coqueta's (Chiarello's new restaurant at Pier Five, San Francisco) chef de cuisine, Ryan McIlwraith, later joined Dawes for his own two week excursion, as well. Sampling both old and new, they visited wineries and marketplaces, as well as some of Spain's most revered dining establishments, including the Michelin three-star Arzak, Etxebarri, the temple to live fire-grilling; Tickets, the playful Barcelona tapas bar run by Ferran Adrià and his brother, Albert; and ABaC, where Catalan cooking goes avant-garde." - - Carolyn Jung, Food Arts, May 2013.


* * * * *

"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections

 * * * * *
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. 
* * * * *

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

7/12/2019

Pamplona: Memories of Alicia Hall in Sanfermines (An Excerpt from Homage to Iberia: More Spanish Travels & Reflections by Gerry Dawes) With Insights by Pamplona author Ray Mouton & 50-year+ San Fermín veteran Rolf von Essen


* * * * *
 (All photographs copyright 2017 by Gerry Dawes.)

Alicia Hall, Sanfermines, early 1970s.
Photo by Gerry Dawes.

My late ex-wife Diana Valenti Dawes and I  spent many wonderful sanfermines with Alicia Hall from 1970 through 1975 and in 1977 and 1978. Some years we began in Burguete before fiesta, staying at Hostal Burguete, which was Ernest Hemingway's inspiration for Jake Barnes' hotel during his trout fishing expeditions in The Sun Also Rises.  We would drive Alicia up there and spend a quiet relaxing time - - reading, walking out on the road to Roncesvalles to pick tiny wild strawberries to put on our ice cream after dinner at the Hostal Burguete and having long discussions about Spain over dinner with plenty of vino tinto


7/07/2019

Profiles of Pamplona: The Spiritual Descendents of Gertrude Stein's Lost Generation and of Ernest Hemingway's Characters in The Sun Also Rises. Scan of my article in Madrid's venerable English language magazine, Guidepost, July 11, 1975


* * * * *
 Profiles of Pamplona, an article with my photographs that I published 
in Madrid's venerable Guidepost magazine in Madrid back in 1975. 

The profiles in this article are about many of the incredible characters I knew in Pamplona at La Fiesta de San Fermín (featuring the Running of the Bulls), also known as sanfermines, in the 1970s.   Some of these regulars at the fiesta had been coming to Pamplona since the 1950s.

Many of these people were spiritual descendents of Gertrude Stein's Lost Generation and of Ernest Hemingway's spirit and his characters in The Sun Also Rises.  In fact, Juanito Quintana was the prototype for Montoya, the hotel owner in The Sun Also Rises, and bullrunner Matt Carney, American Matador John Fulton and others had actually been at San Fermín when Hemingway was there in the 1950s and had experiences with him.

Many of the unforgettable people in this article are no longer alive; many of them became friends, some of them very close friends for life -- and beyond.   

Here is the full original scanned article.













* * * * *
  Shall deeds of Caesar or Napoleon ring
More true than Don Quixote's vapouring?
Hath winged Pegasus more nobly trod
Than Rocinante stumbling up to God?
 
Poem by Archer M. Huntington inscribed under the Don Quixote on his horse Rocinante bas-relief sculpture by his wife, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington,
in the courtyard of the Hispanic Society of America’s incredible museum at 613 W. 155th Street, New York City.
__________________________________________________________________________________
 Gastronomy Blogs

About Gerry Dawes

My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life." -- Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019



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. 

Writing, Photography, & Specialized Tours of Spain & Tour Advice

For custom-designed tours of Spain, organized and lead by Gerry Dawes, and custom-planned Spanish wine, food, cultural and photographic itineraries, send inquiries to gerrydawes@aol.com.  

I have planned and led tours for such culinary stars as Chefs Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Mark Kiffin, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Chiarello and such personalities as baseball great Keith Hernandez and led on shorter excursions and have given detailed travel advice to many other well-known chefs and personalities such as Drew Nieporent, Norman Van Aken, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenberg, Christopher Gross, Rick Moonen, James Campbell Caruso and many others.
 * * * * *
“The American writer and town crier for all good Spanish things Gerry Dawes . . . the American connoisseur of all things Spanish . . .” Michael Paterniti, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and The World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese

* * * * *

"Gerry Dawes, I can't thank you enough for opening up Spain to me." -- Michael Chiarello on Twitter. 

"Chiarello embarked on a crash course by traveling to Spain for 10 days in 2011 with Food Arts
contributing authority Gerry Dawes, a noted expert on Spanish food and wine.  Coqueta's (Chiarello's new restaurant at Pier Five, San Francisco) chef de cuisine, Ryan McIlwraith, later joined Dawes for his own two week excursion, as well. Sampling both old and new, they visited wineries and marketplaces, as well as some of Spain's most revered dining establishments, including the Michelin three-star Arzak, Etxebarri, the temple to live fire-grilling; Tickets, the playful Barcelona tapas bar run by Ferran Adrià and his brother, Albert; and ABaC, where Catalan cooking goes avant-garde." - - Carolyn Jung, Food Arts, May 2013.


* * * * *

"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

6/06/2019

Valencia: Casa Montaña, One of Spain´s Greatest Bodegas & Tapas Restaurants, Five Geraldo-Dalí Persistence of Memory Melting Watches Award to Casa Montaña & Its Owners, Emiliano García Domene & His Son General Manager Alejandro García


* * * * * 

All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2019.  
No publication without written permission and payment considerations.  gerrydawes@aol.com
  
Owner Emiliano García and his son and General Manager Alejandro
García in the old bodega section of Casa Montaña, which dates to 1836. 



Geraldo-Dalí Persistence of Memory Five Melting Watches Award

This Persistence of Memory Five Melting Watch Rating for excellence applies not just to Casa Montaña, but to owner Emiliano García Domene, his son and General Manager Alejandro García Llinares, their staff and the wine list that Emiliano has put together.  Together they all add up to one of Spain´s greatest and most memorable dining experiences.


 Casa Montaña, Valencia

Founded in 1836 in this same building.  Casa Montaña passed in 1861 to Ramona Montaña Romeu, daughter of the founders.  In 1880, Casa Montaña was remodeled in the modernista style that still characterizes the entrance and bodega area of the establishment today.  Casa Montaña passed through the hands of more than half a dozen owners from 1836 to 1994, when Emiliano García acquired the historic bodega and maintained its special ambience, making it into a force for the re-vitalization of Valencia´s entire Cabanyal-Canyamelar District.


The famous mural signs on the exterior of Casa Montaña in the Cabanyal district of Valencia.
This photo was taken on one of the rare rainy days in this sunny Mediterranean city.

The Barrio de Cabanyal, the former fishermen´s district, where Casa Montaña is located, was in danger of being destroyed in order to build a broad avenue cutting through the district to the sea.  Emiliano García became a prominent activist who fought tenaciously against these plans for the avenue that were being pushed by Valencia´s right-wing Mayor and would have destroyed hundreds of buildings in this unique area of the city.   (Ironically, in elections held in May of 2019, Emiliano García campaigned with the Socialist Party candidate for Mayor of Valencia and ran on her ticket as a Concejal, a City Council member, the number two spot on the ticket.   They won the election.)


The front room, the old bodega section of Casa Montaña, which dates to 1836.


My friend of almost 20 years, owner Emiliano García in the back dining room of Casa Montaña, alongside the kitchen, with a bottle of wine from another mutual friend, the great Jesús Madrazo, who is perhaps Spain´s best producer of fine red wines.I was very flattered that Emiliano, who was in the middle of a very intense political campaign, took time off to have lunch (and dinner) with me.  Photo by Emiliano´s life partner Olga Juhasz.


The old bodega section of Casa Montaña, which dates to 1836.  All those barrels hold traditional style wines from Valencia and around Spain.


Casa Montaña is one of the most popular bars and tapas restaurants in Valencia and its reputation for great food and wonderful ambience draw customers from the city, the surrounding Levante region (la Comunidad Valenciana), Spanish gourmet food aficionados and foodies from all over the world.  It is a food pilgrimage destination.


Owner Emiliano García and his son and General Manager Alejandro
García discussing their business in the passageway between the bar section and the newer dining room of Casa Montaña.


Emiliano García, who at times seems indefatigable, in addition to being an activist for social justice and responsible business and environmental practices in Valencia, is one of the most respected, quality driven restaurant and hospitality entrepreneurs in Spain.  For several years, he was the Vice President of the Federación Española de Hostelería (Spanish Hospitality [Hotels & Restaurants] Federation.


A framed article 'La Taberna del Quixote" about Casa Montaña and owner Emiliano García that hangs in the restaurant.

Jesús Trelis (Historias del Delantal - Apron Stories): “Emiliano García esconde en su interior el alma de Alonso Quijano. No en vano ha sido su batalla caballeresca la que ha hecho posible que esa bodega, que abrió sus puertas en 1836 en el Cabanyal – Canyamelar, siga siendo hoy un puro homenaje a la cultura valenciana.”

("Emiliano García hides within his heart the soul of Alonso Quijano (Don Quixote’s name).  Not in vain has been his knightly battle that has made possible this bodega (Casa Montaña), which opened its doors in 1836 in the Cabanyal - Canyamelar and remains today a pure tribute to the culture of Valencia.")

Casa Montaña: The Food

Emiliano García has very high-quality standards for everything that goes onto the menu at Casa Montaña.  He travels each season to various sources in the Valencia region and to such areas as the Montes Universales in neighboring Teruel province for the selected dry-farmed potatoes that are served as his patatas bravas to as far afield as Santoña in northern Cantabria to personally choose lots of that fishing port town’s famous anchovies.

The extensive tapas menus listings-there are several dozen tapas available-at Casa Montaña, may seem a little strange at first.  The headings do not include the usual Meat, Fish, Egg Dishes, Vegetables, etc. categories, but are listed as Las Patatas (Potatoes), Las Anchoas (Anchovies), Las Clóchinas (the Valencian word for mejillones, mussels), El Jamón (ham), Los Beberechos (cockles), Los Postres (desserts) and El Café (coffees, teas and infusions).   

In quite original, iconoclastic, if somewhat bewildering fashion, you will find under the Las Patatas (Potatoes) section of the menu such tapas as the michirones broad beans, habitas con 100%  jamón Ibérico de bellota (baby fava beans with Ibérico ham from acorn-fattened pigs), the patatas bravas de Montes Universales (“rainfed,” read dry-farmed” potatoes with garlic--aioli garlic mayonnaise made with milk--and spicy bravas sauce) and pimientos de Padrón (classic “blistered” small green fried peppers from Galicia).   

Under the heading Las Anchoas (Anchovies), for instance, there are tapas ranging from the famous salt-cured anchovies from Santoña and fresh anchovies pickled in vinegar to the ensaladilla (potato salad [see below], Valencian peanuts, sardines and smoked eel.  And if those listings seem odd, look under Las Clóchinas (“Valencia’s small, very special mussels, which are only harvested when there’s no ‘r’ in the month.”), where not only the mussels, steamed cockles and cuttlefish are listed, you will find longaniza and txistorra sausage, morcilla (blood sausage) and the solomillo de ‘vacuno especial,’ sirloin from specially raised cattle.   

Small local tomatoes, peeled and dressed with Extra Virgen Olive Oil and sea salt.




Lazo jamón Ibérico de bellota de Jabugo, Ibérico ham--from hogs fattened by free-range grazing on acorns--salted and air-cured at the Lazo production facility in the prime D. O. Jabugo (Huelva, Andalucía). 


 


Video Demonstrating Maestro Cortador de Jamón Juanma Aguilar´s expertise in carving these high quality Lazo Jamón Ibérico de Bellota de Jabugo hams at Emilio and Alejandro García’s Casa Montaña.   

Maestro Cortador de Jamón Juanma Aguilar, Mucho Más Que Jamón, Puzol (Valencia).
xarcuteriadejuanma@gmail.com

Video, Translations & Commentary by Gerry Dawes©2017 


 
Potaje de Garbanzos de Vigilia, a soup served at Casa Montaña durning cuaresma (lent), made with garbanzos, de-salinated bacalao (salt cod), fresh spinach, garlic cloves, small onions, sliced boiled egg, bread, Spanish Extra Virgen Olive Oil, bay leaf and Spanish agri-dulce pimentón (paprika).
 

Patatas bravas de secano, selected dry-farmed potatoes from the Montes Universales in Teruel province.  The whole potatoes are deep-fried and several with a slightly picante bravas sauce and a special creamy aioli.  Emiliano García works with one farmer who grows un-irrigated potatoes and he buys the whole crop for Casa Montaña. 


Habas estofadas (michirones), stewed michirones broadbeans, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.
 

Puerro templado a la vinagreta de tartufo, warm leeks in truffle vinaigrette, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


Ensaladilla con bonito, potato and tuna salad, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


Anchoas de campaña del Cantábrico, salt-cured anchovies of the season from Santoña, a Cantabrian seaport famous for some of the greatest anchovy producers in Spain, personally selected by owner Emiliano García, who will accept no less than top quality.


Anchoas de campaña del Cantábrico, salt-cured anchovies of the season from Santoña, a Cantabrian seaport famous for some of the greatest anchovy producers in Spain, personally selected by owner Emiliano García, who will accept no less than top quality.

Atún rojo del Mediterráneo marinado a las 7 especias, red Mediterranean tuna marinated in olive oil with seven different spices and herbs, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


  
 Atún rojo del Mediterráneo marinado a las 7 especias, red Mediterranean tuna marinated in olive oil with seven different spices and herbs, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


Sardinas en escabeche, sardines "pickled" with vinegar, olive oil and vegetable, escabeche sauce (only served during Holy Week).

 
Berberechos al vapor D.O. Rías Gallegas, steamed cockles from Galicia, only in season, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


Berberechos al vapor D.O. Rías Gallegas, steamed cockles from Galicia, only in season, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


Sèpia amb ceba de varietat tradicional, cuttlefish with traditional variety onion, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


 
Another version of sèpia amb ceba de varietat tradicional, cuttlefish with traditional variety onion, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


Solomillo de ‘vacuno especial’ trinchado con ajos tiernos, sirloin from specially raised cattle served in chunks with green garlic shoots, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


 Tocinito de cielo con mermelada de tomate de variedad tradicional, tocinito de cielo (akin to creme brulee) with tomato jam made from a traditional variety tomato, Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.


Postre artesano de naranja valenciana de temporada, traditional artisanal Valencian orange-based dessert (seasonal), Casa Montaña, Cabanyal-Canyamelar District, Valencia.

Casa Montaña:  The Wine

Emiliano García has brought his energy in to making Casa Montaña one of the most famous and respected tapas restaurants in Spain.  And, from his love of wine, nurtured in the wine town of Requena (Valencia) where he was born, he has created one of the best wine lists in Spain with 500 selections from area specialty wines from casks such as mistela (fresh grape must whose fermentation is cut short by the addition of alcohol) and Fondillón (a superb aged semi-sweet vino rancio wine made in Alicante from Monastrell grapes that is reminiscent of a great Sherry Oloroso blended with a vintage tawny Port) to the best Spanish wines such as the very limited production Rioja wine Selección Jesús Madrazo and top internationally known wines such as 1982 Château Pétrus

Emiliano García, owner of Casa Montaña is a great wine aficionado and a bonafide wine expert, who selects the wines for the 500-selections wine list and also owns a top wine shop near his restaurants and has given countless wine seminars and tastings at both his store and in a special tasting room/dining room that he has set up at Casa Montaña.
 


Casa Montaña always has exciting wine, Champagne, sparkling wine selections by the glass and vino generosos (Sherry, vermouth, etc.), mistelas, Fondillóns and other wines from the barrels behind the bar.


Selección Jesús Madrazo, a superb bottle of limited production Rioja wine from another mutual friend of Emilano García and mine, the great Jesús Madrazo, formerly the winemaker who brought Contino in la Rioja Alavesa to prominence and perhaps Spain´s best fine red winemaker.




Casa Montaña
Calle José Benlliure 69
Cabanyal-Canyamelar District
Valencia, Spain
011-34 96 367 23 14


* * * * *
  Shall deeds of Caesar or Napoleon ring
More true than Don Quixote's vapouring?
Hath winged Pegasus more nobly trod
Than Rocinante stumbling up to God?
 
Poem by Archer M. Huntington inscribed under the Don Quixote on his horse Rocinante bas-relief sculpture by his wife, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington,
in the courtyard of the Hispanic Society of America’s incredible museum at 613 W. 155th Street, New York City.
__________________________________________________________________________________
 Gastronomy Blogs

About Gerry Dawes

My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life." -- Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019


Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York (streaming live and archived at www.pawlingpublicradio.org and at www.beatofthevalley.com.)

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.
 
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