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

"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; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019


Five Dalí POM Watches to L'Escaleta, Another Great Alicante Restaurant, One of the Best in Spain

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Gerry Dawes's Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí) Melting Watch Awards.

L'Escaleta, My Favorite Alta Cocina Restaurante in Spain

L'Escaleta's elegant dining room

Chef Kiko Moya

Cami Estacio Del Nord 205
03820 Cocentaina (Alicante), Spain
011-34 96 559 21 00

L’Escaleta is a big surprise. In an off-the-beaten track town near Alcoy in Alicante province, Chefs Ramiro Redrado and cousin Kiko Moya, a combination of experience and youth, along with Ramiro's son, Alberto Redrado-undoubtedly one of the best wine sumilleres I have encountered anywhere and manager one of the best cheese offerings in any restaurant in Spain-have raised L'Escaleta to a benchmark Guía Gourmets guide rating just below Quique Dacosta's El Poblet.

And the lofty esteem in which L'Escaleta is held is well-deserved: The country surroundings, lovely decor, tranquil ambience, assured service, stellar food, sublime wine-food pairings and the cheese offerings make L'Escaleta is one of the best restaurants, not only in Spain, but I dare say, Europe.

Instead of butter, L'Escaleta offers a copper dish
of silky Ibérico ham fat with romero (rosemary).

Pichón (squab)

Duck leg with caramelized rice

Alberto Redrado with his cheese cart at L'Escaleta

Cheeses at L'Escaleta

Dessert with superb dessert wines selected by Alberto Redrado

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  

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.

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“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

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"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.

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

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

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

Experience Spain With Gerry Dawes: Customized Culinary, Wine & Cultural Trips to Spain & Travel Consulting on Spain

Gerry Dawes can be reached at


  1. Maria Jose actually recommended this place to me, it has quite a good reputation among friends here as well. Haven't made it out there yet, but Alcoy and that area are places that I love to visit. We are getting the best sausages in our local market that are made in this lovely town.

  2. I had a superb experience at L'Escaleta despite arriving late from the coast and not beginning lunch until around four p.m. Then Alberto Redrado took me the Battle of the Cristianos y Moros en Alcoy, an increble experience as well.

  3. yeah I missed the Cristianos y Moros last year, but maybe we can get up there this year. If they get some snow again in Alcoy we will also drive up for that.

  4. Anonymous7:48 PM

    If I could spell, I would have put "an incredible experience...." ;-)


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