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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


Day One in Asturias: A Visit to Quesos La Peral Plus Pedro and Son Marcos Morán Demonstrate an Exceptional Talent for Finding the Best Mostly Asturian Products and Turning Them Into Delicious Modernized Traditional Alta Cocina Dishes at Casa Gerardo in Prendes, near Gijón, Asturias, Spain's Stunning Natural Paradise. (Excerpt from my article in the summer issue of culture: the word on cheese.)

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On March 17, I arrived in Spain, spent the better part of  two hours getting from Madrid Barajas airport's Terminal I to the draconian Terminal IV, caught a flight to Asturias (Gijón-Oviedo airport) on Iberia Airlines (who screwed me royally by charging me 60 Euros!! for a second, small checked bag that I had brought along on the Continental Airlines flight from Newark to Madrid at no cost). 

Accompanied by Marino González, the man responsible for bringing a slew of fine other Asturian artisanal cheeses and other products (artisanal jams, honey, faba beans) to the attention of the gastronomic world outside his native Asturias.  Marino has done a splendid job of building up the high quality COASA line of products, which includes nearly fifty farmhouse cheeses, some of which are now considered some of the best cheeses in Spain.

Esther Alvarez & Marino González at Quesos La Peral

After visiting Quesos La Peral, where the Alvarez family showed us around their quesería, followed by a tasting of their excellent naturally bluing blues (I will have a more in-depth report in this fine cheese producer, the only producer of La Peral), Marino drove me to the superb Casa Gerardo for lunch, where we met two of his colleagues, Jorge Pardo Piñeiro, Jefe de Gabinete for the Principado de Asturias's Consejería de Medio Rural y Pesca, who oversees the Asturian agriculture and fishing regulatory board, and Fernando Díaz Casiellas, who runs Solucionart, an ideas firm for businesses. 

We arrived at Casa Gerardo at around 3:30 p.m and finished lunch around 6:30 p.m. (it is Spain!), which meant by the time I got to my hotel, the Melía Sol Reconquista, in Oviedo, this faithful correspondent was toast.  I fell into a catatonic state about 8 p.m. and had to beg off a 9:30 p.m. dinner with Marino and his wife, Cristina.

But the excellent luncheon and long post-luncheon conversation with chefs Pedro and Marcos Morán, the owners, around the  Chefs' Table at Casa Gerardo--despite going 36 hours without any real sleep, made this a very special St. Patrick's Day, on my first trip to Asturias in five years. 

The slide show below will give you an idea of the food of Pedro and Marcos Morán until I get time to fill in the blanks. 

Check out the Summer issue of culture: the word on cheese, where I had an eight-page article with photographs on the Asturias, Beyond Cabrales, with profiles of Cabrales and six other wonderful Asturian cheeses, plus hotel and restaurant recommendations.   Only the title page and a few photos are excerpted here, but you can find out how to get a copy on the culture - the word on cheese website and read the rest of the article, plus articles by Max McCalman, Susan Herman Loomis, Janet Fletcher and an interview with Steve Jenkins.
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.


  1. Thank you for this highly informative blog. I read you a lot, since I love Spain, it's wines, peoples, food. Spain deserve to be what it is now: a great gastronomic destination!

  2. What a great blog!!!! Yes, fact, that there is a lot to talk about Spanish gastronomy. Unfortunately Valencia (where I live) is not much famous from its cheese (:)), but it is because of one of the masterpieces of the country: the PAELLA! (during the summer we have huge paella parties every week in the hostel i´m working in)
    Best wishes, enjoy your foods :)

  3. Thank you both for reading my blog and for your encouraging comments.


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