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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


Spain Journal January 2010, Madrid, Day Two: Lunch with Gabriela Llamas--cooking instructor-author--and seven charming women.

 * * * * *
Sometimes the Gods smile on the undeserving. My great friend, Gabriela Llamas (and her husband, Carlos Maier), at whose apartment near the Opera I have had the privilege of staying a number of times and who is hosting once again, kindly invited me to lunch at her teaching kitchen just down the street from her home. Gabi was going to be cooking lunch for seven ladies--Spanish, English and American--and she invited me to join them.

To make an installment on the debt I owe to Gabriela, I volunteered as sommelier and serve the Champagne and wines (a Vinos Sanz Rueda Clasico white, a Marques de Alicante Tinto and a Bodegas Torres Viña Esmeralda Muscat-Gerwurztraminer). Gabi started us off with Champagne to accompany some terrific cecina (beef "ham"), sliced carpaccio style and a tete de moines cheese cut with a special cutting device that curls the cheese into lovely little florettes.

María Luisa Muller brought a cows' milk blue cheese, La Peral (Asturias) and a small disk of delicious goats' milk cheese from Sevilla.

Gabi's luncheon was excellent: an elegant, silky sopa de calabacin (green squash soup with onions and ginger; steamed marinated (with miso) salmon with basmati rice laced with cranberries, and blanched asparagus.

 For dessert, we had
tarta de Santiago, the classic almond cake from Santiago de Compostela (where, unforeseen by me, I would soon be going), a wonderful flourless chocolate tart and a peeled orange with a light syrup that included strips of sliced bitter orange peel that came from a tree on Gabriela's farm in Extremadura. The camaraderie was terrific with this group of very simpatica friends of Gabriela.

You can contact me at for info on Gabriela Llamas's cooking classes in Madrid.


About Gerry Dawes

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

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

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

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

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

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