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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


Blast From The Past: Post Pamplona Shenanigans! Miss Merande, Meeting Doro Merande, Star of The Russians Are Coming, the Russians are Coming!

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Doro Merande, near Ayamonte, Spain, August 5, 1971.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2018

Back in the day, in the early 1970s, I used to write for Guidepost Magazine, Spain's American Weekly, which was based in Madrid and published by the great Dan Lowell.  One day in August of 1971, after we had been together in Pamplona for las Fiestas de San Fermín, my great friend Mike Kelly and his brother Bob came to visit my then fiancee Diana Valenti and me when we were living in Sevilla. 

My great friend Mike Kelly, sanfermines 1971, Bar Txoko.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2018.

Because we needed to get our passports stamped, proving that we had exited Spain at least once every six months (this was well before the EU changed the rules), we decided to make a one-day passport stamping and Mateus Rosé (this was well before my palate became much more refined) on the way to Portugal.  We stopped at a roadhouse watering hole for reasons this article makes obvious and ran into Doro Merande, the memorable star of "The Russians Are Coming!"   My article is about what ensued.   Mike Kelly tried to round out every copy he could get his hands on because he was the Headmaster at the American School in the Canary Islands. 

Doro Merande died of a stroke in late 1975 at the age of 83.


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 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. 

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

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