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"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 of José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019

"Trust me everyone, I have traveled with this man, if Gerry Dawes tells you to eat somewhere it's like Bourdain, believe it!!" - - Chef Mark Kiffin, The Compound Restaurant, Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Spain wouldn’t be as known to Americans without the stories Gerry tells and writes.” - - Superstar Catalan Chef Ferran Adrià, elBulli

"But, for Gerry, Spain is more than just the Adriàs and (Juan Mari and Elena) Arzaks. He has connected with all manner of people working at every level and in every corner of Spain. I’m always amazed at this reach. You can step into a restaurant in the smallest town in Spain, and it turns out they know Gerry somehow. I remember one rainy night in Madrid during the 2003 Madrid Fusión congress. I wanted to go to my favorite place for patatas bravas, the ultimate tapa. But Gerry had another place in mind, and I didn’t know about it. But Gerry is always right. The potatoes at his place were amazing.” - - 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


Food Arts Silver Spoon Award to Gerry Dawes


 Premio Nacional de Gastronomía - - James Beard Foundation Nomination (Best Wine Writing)
Premio Periodistíco Cava

Gerry Dawes's Article Medieval Riches of El Cid's City (About Burgos, Spain)
Front Page, The New York Times Sunday Travel Section

 About Blog Author Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award)


4/01/2019

Sephardic Spain: Update on My Search for Jewish Historical Sites in Spain Part I of III Return to Ribadavia (Galicia) & La Tafona de Herminia's Sephardic Recipe Pastries


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Ribadavia (Ourense, Galicia)

  
Gil Avital and Herminia with her Sephardic recipe pastries, La Tafona da Herminia, Ribadavia (Ourense), Galicia, April 1, 2019.

All posts and photographs are copyrighted and reproduction is prohibited, except for sharing on social media, without written permission and author credit. 


My pursuit of Jewish historical sites in Spain, no doubt a remnant of an earlier incarnation since I am not Jewish, took a quantum leap on my four-week wandering across Spain in late March and most of April.   On the first part of the trip, I took a friend Gil Avital, originally from Israel and former owner of Tertulia Restaurant in Manhattan, to the old Jewish Quarter of Ribadavia in Galicia, where I have been nearly a dozen times.  The Barrio Judio of Ribadavia is particularly fascinating since Jews were there from the 12th to the 16th Centuries, so they managed to hang on for awhile after the expulsion order in 1492, apparently crossing into nearby Portugal when the Inquisition was leaning on them, then coming back when the pressure was not as intense.  
 
La Tafona da Herminia, Barrio Judio, Ribadavia (Ourense province), Galicia, Spain.  
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2019.

 I was delighted to find Herminia of La Tafona da Herminia at work de-stemming figs for the filling she uses in some of her Sephardic recipe pastries.   She has recovered a number of recipes for typical Jewish pastries from the period when this Barrio was inhabited by Jews and now makes them for sale in her bakery.  

 
Descriptions of pastries at La Tafona da Herminia, Barrio Judio, Ribadavia (Ourense province), Galicia, Spain.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2019.

Herminia has some ten different pastries and a sheet with drawings and the name of each pastry written in Gallego.   There are bocadiños de améndoas (round cookies made almonds and cinnamon), kamisch-broit (made with walnuts or almonds), mamul (basic ingredients are dried fruits such as the figs, poppy petals and orange petal water), ma’amul (date cream and rose water), ghorayebah (wholemeal hazelnut flour), mostachudos (with walnuts and cloves),  bocadiños de dátiles (with dates, walnut and ground brown sugar), kuferlin (wholemeal almond flower), kijeleje de mon (not sure if this is a riff on Demon’s Souls; made with poppy seeds), masiñas de mapoulas (mapoulas is gallego for ampolas, poppies; this is made with poppy seeds and vanilla essence) and cardamomo (with cardamom and almonds).

Gil bought a half kilo of these cookie-like pastries we and shared them, including Herminia’s delicious fig-laced ones, for several days of our trip across Galicia.  They were quite good. 



 Gerry Dawes and Gil Avital in the Barrio Judio of Ribadavia (Ourense province), Galicia. 

More on Sephardic Spain:


  
  
  
 
  

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  Shall deeds of Caesar or Napoleon ring
More true than Don Quixote's vapouring?
Hath winged Pegasus more nobly trod
Than Rocinante stumbling up to God?
 
Poem by Archer M. Huntington inscribed under the Don Quixote on his horse Rocinante bas-relief sculpture by his wife, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington,
in the courtyard of the Hispanic Society of America’s incredible museum at 613 W. 155th Street, New York City.
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 Gastronomy Blogs

About Gerry Dawes

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


Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York (streaming live and archived at www.pawlingpublicradio.org and at www.beatofthevalley.com.)

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 on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

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