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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


Al Andalus Camino de Santiago Luxury Train Trips July 2014 Wine Route Ribera del Duero & Rioja and Camino de Santiago Route

* * * * * 

I will be speaking on as the invited expert on Spanish food, wine and culture on two of these luxury train trips in July. 

Trip One:  July 10 -14 Zaragoza, La Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Valladolid

4 Días/3 Noches
Salida el 10 de Julio de Zaragoza
Trip Two:  July 15 - 19 León, Ponferrada, Monforte de Lemos (Ribeira Sacra), Ourense  Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, León



 5 Días/4 Noches

Salida el 15 de Julio de León
(Contact me at for more information and how to book these trips.)

Short video report from Spanish television about this wonderful train. 

Here is a report from Day One of a trip last year.

Al Andalus Camino de Santiago Train Trip July 2013

Zaragoza – Santiago de Compostela- A Coruña

Sunday July 21, AVE Madrid Atocha to Zaragoza Delicias, Visit to Zaragoza, Night in Miranda de Ebro

Several members of our group rode the AVE high-speed train from Madrid Atocha station to Zaragoza. 

After the arrival of the group at 12:00h in the Delicias de Zaragoza station and comfortably boarding on the train, we had a cava (Spanish champagne) toast and were then taken to lunch in El Centro Comercial Puerto Venecia (outside the city) at Bal D'O Restaurant (OK food, but not recommended because of its location in a shopping mall, not worth the trip unless you have to go to Toys R Us or Ikea and I can't imagine you would visit Zaragoza for that!).

 José Antonio Rodriguez, Renfe – Responsable Trenes Turísticos de Lujo, and Marcelino Cortes, Renfe – Jefe de Expedición at the cava toast to open the Tren Al Andalus Camino de Santiago inaugural trip. Beginning from Zaragoza Las Delicias station. 
Photo by Gerry Dawes copyright 2013 / /  Canon EOS 6D / Tokina 17-35mm f/4.

Slide Show Welcoming Reception On Board Al Andalus Camino de Santiago Inaugural Trip July 21, 2013 

Zaragoza was founded by Cesar Augusta in the year 24 B. C.   And, under the name Medina Albaida Sarakosta, the Moors turned the ancient Roman city into one of the major centers of the cultural world during its time. 

During our bus trip to Zaragoza, we visitted La Plaza de Las Catedrales, on which the statues of Goya and figures from his paintings grace a large square surrounded by la Basílica-Catedral del Pilar, la Catedral of San Salvador (knonw as La Seo, this cathedral has Moorish, Mudejar, Romanesque and Gothic with amazing Mudejar-design walls and towers. 

  Monument to Goya in the center of Zaragoza. 
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2010 /

Nuestra Sra. del Pilar, Artisan Chocolate Shop near the Cathedral.  Souvenir of Zaragoza: "It is a sin. . .not to try it."  Photo: Gerry Dawes©2010 /

La Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza, image of La Virgen del Pilar.
Photo: Gerry Dawes©2010 /

Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza, image of La Virgen del Pilar in a shop near the Cathedral. 
 Photo: Gerry Dawes©2010 /  

Later that afternoon, we visited the well restored 11th century Moorish palace-castle fortress, la Aljafería, when Zaragoza was a taifa of Al-Andalus.  After the Christian reconquest of Zaragoza, Aragonese kings stood watch over their armor the night before their investiture. 

After the visit to Zaragoza, we re-boarded the train and rolled on towards to Miranda de Ebro (Burgos province), where we would spend the night on the train parked in the station.  Along the way, we had our first dinner on board.
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. 

 ". . .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.
Mr. Dawes is currently working on a reality television series
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

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