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In 2019, again ranked in the Top 50 Gastronomy Blogs and Websites for Gastronomists & Gastronomes in 2019 by Feedspot. (Last Updated Oct 23, 2019)

"The Best Gastronomy blogs selected from thousands of Food blogs, Culture blogs and Food Science blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We’ve carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.

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

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 customized gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. Frequency about 2 posts per week."






"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

"Gerry Dawes loves Spain, and he loves Spanish wines. And the man knows whereof he speaks. The country bestowed upon him its prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomia (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003, and here’s what James A. Michener said about him in Iberia: SpanishTravels and Reflections: “In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain, Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia … His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth … ” I first reached out to Dawes when I was planning a culinary journey to Barcelona, Rioja, and the Basque region of Spain, in 2011. I found his website and began reading, and have been learning from him ever since. Then, when I was preparing to stage at Arzak, in 2012, Dawes offered me some sound advice: learn Basque. He is opinionated – “You must decide whether you love wine or carpentry. If you want wood in your wine, suck on a toothpick as you drink your vino.” – he lives life with passion, and he respects wine and the men and woman who make it. Here’s to Gerry!" - - The Original Drinker: Spanish Wine Master Loves a $15.99 Rosado, Hates Wood and Always Avoids Wine Bars, James Brock, Paper City, papercitymag.com


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)


Gerry Dawes at Marisquería Rafa in Madrid.
Photo by John Sconzo, Docsconz: Musings on Food & Life 


Custom-designed Wine, Food, Cultural and Photographic Tours of Spain Organized and Led by Gerry Dawes and Spanish Itinerary Planning

7 Days, 7 Nights: Beyond Paella, A Video Culinary, Wine & Travel Adventure in Valencia & Alicante with Gerry Dawes & Special Guests

If you enjoy these blog posts, please consider a contribution to help me continue the work of gathering all this great information and these photographs for Gerry Dawes's Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel. Contributions of $5 and up will be greatly appreciated. Contributions of $100 or more will be acknowledged on the blog.

* * * * To make your contribution, please click on
this secure link to Paypal.* * * *




4/18/2019

The Most The Most Spectacular Holy Week Processions I Have Ever Seen: Unabashedly Hollywood-esque Semana Santa in the Outback Spanish City of Lorca (Murcia): Roman Chariots Racing Down the Street a la Ben-Hur, Anthony & Cleopatra, The Queen of Sheba, King Solomon, Old & New Testament Re-Enactments


 * * * * * 

Woman driving a horse-pulled chariot during Semana Santa in Lorca (Murcia).

On Saturday, April 13, the day before Palm Sunday, I picked up my partner, my SE (Spousal Equivalent) Kay at Alicante airport.  She was running late from a delayed flight from New York that caused her to miss her connection in Madrid.  And, then when we didn’t make contact until nearly 3:00 p.m., waiting for each other for nearly an hour in the ever-growing Alicante airport--she upstairs, me downstairs where the flights arrive.  Finally, we headed for Cartagena.  I had no idea what we were going to find a few days down the road.

When we arrived at Hotel Los Habaneros in Cartagena, one of the few major towns in Spain to which I had never been, she showed me article from the magazine she picked up on Air Nostrum, the regional airline that flies from Madrid a few times a day to such places as Alicante and Valencia. It was a article about Holy Week in an outback town called Lorca, a place I may have only passed through once, if that, years ago and a town that was not on my radar and not on our agenda for the trip we had planned for Semana Santa, Holy Week.  




We were going to get acquainted with historic Roman Cartagena, a town with one of the most beautifully sheltered harbors in the Mediterranean, then we planned to go to Almeria, where I had for years been promising Kay lunch on the beach at Cabo de Gata.

Then we planned to visit the villages of las Alpujarras, south from Granada, on the slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains, the mountain range between Granada and the Mediterranean, with the highest peak in Spain, Mulhacen.  My literary hero in Spain, Gerald Brenan, whom I would subsequently come to know, lived for seven years in the village of Yegen in the 1920s in the Alpujarras and wrote one of the most influential and finest books on Spain, South From Granada.   His book and others, especially The Face of Spain and Literature of the Spanish People, became classics and were a great inspiration to me, but other than a couple of minor forays, I had done no in-depth exploring of the villages he wrote about so many years ago.  

I will have an in-depth entry on Gerald Brenan later.  This photo from the cover of his book, Thoughts in a dry season:  A Miscellany.  Brenan was in his late 70s, when I first met him at his home in Alhaurín el Grande, a town in Málaga province near where I lived.


So, first off, not only would Lorca not be on my radar, I had no plans to go there, but with bad weather forecast and the prospect of making a trip to Granada later this Fall, which would allow us to visit las Alpujarras, coupled with the sight in that airline magazine of Roman chariots racing down the streets of Lorca during Holy Week, brought about a change in plans.  So, when Kay did some research on hotels in Lorca, found only the Parador available, albeit expensive, we decided to change our plans and go to Lorca for Jueves Santo, Holy Thursday. It was a remarkable twist of events that lead us to the most incredible Semana Santa spectacle I have ever seen and ironically it would also lead me to the discovery of a lost Jewish village that I had no idea existed, inside a castle and on grounds of the Parador, no less.  

 A section of the Jewish village unearthed when the builders began the excavations to construct the Parador de Turismo on the grounds of the castle at Lorca (Murcia), Spain

See my post of the Jewish pueblo that was found when they were excavating to construct the Lorca Parador:
We were only in Lorca for Holy Thursday and the morning of Friday, but what an incredible 24 hours it was.   In addition to visiting the Jewish village on the ground of the Parador, we wisely had the Parador staff call a taxi whose driver took us a close to the epicenter of the events as possible (ironically, several hours later when we looked for a taxi to take us back up the hill to the Parador, we encountered the very same taxi driver).  

Kay and I wandered the people clogged streets and, following my photographer and old Spain hand instincts, we found the staging area where all the participants on horseback, the Roman chariots and their teams of horses, the magnificent Hollywood-inspired floats, music bands and religious pasos (floats carrying figures on Jesus, Mary and Biblical scenes) were preparing to make the pass along the main street, the Avenida de Juan Carlos I, were high-ticket grandstands seating thousands of people are set up for what has to be the most spectacular Holy Week show in Spain.  Written descriptions cannot do these events justice.  

Perhaps this collection of my photographs (all copyright 2019 by Gerry Dawes) will convey some of the uniqueness of our experience.  (My only regrets about not acquiring a couple of the tickets for the sold-out Jueves Santo events was not be able to see and photograph the four-to-eight horse teams pulling the Roman chariots down the street at breakneck speed in front of the grandstands--shades of Ben-Hur!)

 
Elaborate golden eagle chariot pulled by a team of six horses.

 Elaborate golden eagle chariot pulled by a team of six horses.  The driver is wearing one of the heavy, lavishly embroidered cloaks for which Lorca is famous.  The city even has a Museo de Bordados, a museum displaying many of these elaborate embroidery pieces.


 Roman chariot with Roman infantry.

Riders wearing the heavy, lavishly embroidered cloaks for which Lorca is famous. 


 Penitents, both women and men who carry the pasos, heavy religious floats that require a few dozen of the faithful (or hired workmen) to carry them for a couple of kilometers through the streets of Lorca during Semana Santa.


 
  Penitents, both women and men who carry the pasos, heavy religious floats that require a few dozen of the faithful (or hired workmen) to carry them for a couple of kilometers through the streets of Lorca during Semana Santa.  This float depicts two Roman soldiers, one of whom is placing a crown of thorns on Jesus Christ, whom  they are taking to his crucifixion. 


 This float depicts two Roman soldiers, one of whom is placing a crown of thorns on Jesus Christ, whom  they are taking to his crucifixion. 


 

 Young women in the court of the Queen of Sheba strewing flower petals along the streets of Lorca. 


 
Roman infantry, Lorca.

 Elaborately embroidered cape depicting the anti-Christ. 



 Young rider on his horse, whose hooves have been painted gold, Lorca Holy Week processions.



 Young woman in the court of the Queen of Sheba, Holy Thursday, Lorca (Murcia).


 Young lady standard bearer. 


 A Roman infantry standard bearded with wolf headgear.
 

 A standard bearer for the group escorting la Virgen de la Amargura.


 
 Standard bearer for one of the religious groups in the Holy Week processions at Lorca.


 Queen of Sheba float.


 Float of a Roman emperor with a golden elephant.


 Young penitent in a richly embroided velvet robe accompanying one of the processions.


 Roman soldier.

 Young women in the entourage of the Queen of Sheba.


 Entourage of la Reina de Saba, the Queen of Sheba. 

 
 
Entourage of la Reina de Saba, the Queen of Sheba. 



 Part of the band accompanying the Queen of Sheba procession.



 Horsemen with richly embrodered cloaks covering the flanks of their horses.


 Roman soldier, Lorca.


 Mayordomos in richly embroided velvet robes ccompanying one of the processions on Jueves Santo, Holy Thursday in Lorca (Murcia), Spain.

 
 Drummers in their embroidered capes with the Roman infantry band.


 Standard bearer swinging his banner.


 Banner and richly decorated robes of a processon during Holy Thursday in Lorca. 




Not all glamour and pomp and circumstances, a street vendor pushes his cart home at the end of the evening, Lorca (Murcia). 
* * * * *
  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.
 _______________________________________________________________________________________
 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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