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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

"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)


7/23/2019

Tastes of Atlantic Spain: Food & Wine Adventure, Terroir & Harvest Tour with Insider Trip Leader Gerry Dawes


 * * * * *


With Gerry Dawes, Premio Nacional de Gastronomía
(Spanish National Gastronomy Prize)

Friday, September 27 - Sunday, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019
(9 Days, 8 Nights)

Galicia (Rías Baixas, Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras) – Bierzo - Burgos - La Rioja – Ribera del Duero - Madrid

Email for information: gerrydawes@gmail.com
$3495* (double occcupancy) without airfare; $800 single room supplement

(*Price based on the current exchange of 1 Euro = $1.12 + 3% exchange fee; price subject to currency rate fluctuations.)

Tour Terms & Conditions Available on Request
Tour limited to 16 guests.



Gerry Dawes leading a tour to Spain, with his long-time friend baseball great Keith Hernandez.

Gerry Dawes, who has been to Galicia more than 20 times over the past 15 years, will lead an exceptional, intensive, insider’s tour of the relatively little-known Northwestern Atlantic food and wine regions (four of them in four provinces) of Galicia, then journey into Castilla y León and La Rioja, before visiting Ribera de Duero and ending up in Madrid. We will visit wonderful artisan chefs and eat with the wine producers; see spectacular coastal and mountain scenery; and relax and enjoy the company and camaraderie of our fellow travelers. We travel in smaller and more versatile, but still roomy and comfortable, buses driven by expert drivers. 
For more information, e-mail gerrydawes@gmail.com
 
About Gerry Dawes
  
"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 ThinkFoodGroup and Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019

 

 
In all our travels, we will be dining in restaurants specially selected by Gerry Dawes for their authenticity, quality and uniqueness and our meals will be accompanied by wines especially chosen by Gerry to reflect the best aspects of each locale. Although the emphasis is on food and wine, there will be cultural activities and some spectacular countryside to see and photograph as well.  Participants on this trip will meet and interact with Spanish wine personalities and chefs, with whom Gerry Dawes is very well acquainted.  Dawes is also a photographer, whose pictures have appeared in scores of publications.   Photography aficionados, bring extra flash cards!!! 




 
Gerry Dawes received 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.


Bus driver Antonio Carrasco and our 24-seat bus from the Esteban Rivas company in Madrid. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2018.



Itinerary


Day 00 Friday, Sep. 27 Flights to Spain

All tour participants arrange flights from the city or country of departure to Vigo, Galicia, via Madrid.



Flights should be booked via Madrid with Vigo as the final destination.  Iberia Airlines is your best bet, with a combination of other airlines, including American and Delta to Madrid, then Iberia to Vigo, but if you book all through Iberia, it is often a cheaper package.  It is each traveller's responsibility to book a flight to arrive in Vigo before noon of Saturday, Sept. 28.  For tour participants who wish to arrive a day early, please co-ordinate with Gerry Dawes to arrange hotel accommodations and transport* to the hotel (probably by taxi at each participant's expense).

Arrive in Madrid, transfer to the plane to Vigo, pickup at Vigo airport by small bus, drive to nearby Pontevedra, the provincial capital, and visit one of Spain’s most important seafood markets, which is located at the edge of the old quarter.  After our visit to the market, we will walk a few short blocks in the picturesque old quarter and have lunch at an excellent modern Galician cuisine restaurant. 


Fish stall at Pontevedra market.

After lunch, we will ride 20 minutes to nearby Cambados, check into our hotel, give our guests some time to freshen up and rest.

After our respite, we will ride five minutes to Santo Tomé, the ancient fishing port barrio of Cambados, then have lunch here in a fishermen/shell fisherwomen’s restaurant known only to locals.  After dinner, we will return to our hotel in Cambados.


Santo Tomé, the ancient fishing port barrio of Cambados. 


Day 02  Sunday, Sept. 29 Cambados - Santiago de Compostela – Cambados



At mid-morning, we will ride 20 minutes to O Grove take a boat out into the Rias and visit some of bateas (shellfish rafts) and eat steamed mussels freshly harvested from a batea, then back in O Grove to D’ Berto for lunch, where we will accompany the lunch with the artesano Albariño wines, some 4-6 of them.

Employee on the boat Pelegrin feeds a mussel taken from one of the bateas, shellfish farm rafts, 
to a sea gull, O Grove (Pontevedra).  Photo by Gerry Dawes.

After lunch, we will explore some very picturesque Galician fishing villages and in late afternoon arrive in vine-covered Meaño and visit the artesano Albariño producers and taste wines from several wineries.  We will have a casual tapas dinner with them and perhaps, even experience a queimada, an ancient Galician ritual that involves pouring a lot of Galician orujo, their equivalent of grappa, into a pumpkin with coffee beans and orange slices, then setting it alight and reciting Gallego incantations to ward off witches and evil spirits.  After showing a brilliant blue flame for as much as half an hour, the potent liquid is then poured into cups and passed around to all the participants. 


Day 03 Monday, Sept. 30 Cambados - Santiago de Compostela – Ribadavia – Ribeiro – Sil River Canyon - Monforte de Lemos


We will ride 45 minutes in the morning to the great city of Santiago de Compostela, the spiritual capital of Galicia, visit the magnificent Cathedral and Cathedral Square, stroll through old historic Santiago, the destination point for the renowned Camino de Santiago, then visit Santiago’s wonderful municipal market and have tapas at one of most innovative and best restaurants in town located right in the market.


Tapas cart on wheels set up in the street especially for our group at a fabulous market bar-restaurant in Santiago de Compostela.

Around noon, we will ride  about an hour to the charming medieval Galician town of  Ribadavia, which has one of the best preserved old Jewish quarters in northern Spain, then 10 minutes away, we will visit one of the top wineries in the Ribeiro wine region and taste wines and sample great Galician empanadas and streamed octopus with olive oil, Spanish paprika and sea salt with the owner-winemaker.

An hour from Ribadavia  is the important town of Monforte de Lemos, where we will check in our hotel along the river and just down the street from a Roman bridge that still carries vehicular traffic.   After we check in, we will take a short walking tour of the older sections of Monforte, then relax at a local café near our hotel. 


 
Roman bridge, Monforte de Lemos. 

After relaxing a bit, we will drive half an hour south from Monforte to visit the awesome Sil River canyons that are filled with some of the greatest vineyards in La Ribeira Sacra. We will visit some unique wineries and then have an early dinner in a restaurant-winery in the prime Amandi region of Ribeira Sacra.

 Day 04 Tuesday, Oct. 1 Monforte de Lemos – Lugo - Chantada - Monforte de Lemos

After a leisurely breakfast, we will drive an hour north to the provincial capital of Lugo, which is the only city in the world that is encircled by Roman walls, which were built in the 3rd Century and are still intact, ranging from 33 to 49 feet high and entirely enclosing the old city.   There is a walkway that runs more than a mile along the top of walls, which have more than 70 towers and steps at intervals that allow  walkers to access the city below.   These 3rd century walls are considered a World Heritage Site and are protected by UNESCO.  Those who game can spend an hour strolling the walls, then we will gather in a local café for refreshments and a tapa or two, before heading back south to Ribeira Sacra wine country.


Another hour through picturesque Galician countryside to spectacular Miño River wine region south of Chantada. We will visit a winery, have lunch with wines from several area producers at a special restaurant right on the river, then take a boat ride for an hour on the incredibly picturesque Miño, where the steep hill are covered in vines planted right down to the river’s edge.


 Gerry Dawes and winemaker Roberto Regal with several top wines from small artisan producers from the vineyards that line the Miño river around the town of Chantada. At Belesar in Lugo province.

On the hill overlooking Monforte at one of the best regional specialty restaurants in the region, winemakers from La Ribera Sacra will join us for dinner with their wines.  After dinner, we will return to our hotel early with the option of having a drink at one of the café-bars near our hotel.

Day 05 Wednesday, Oct. 2 Ribeira Sacra – Valdeorras – Villafranca del Bierzo - Burgos

After breakfast at the Parador, we will embark on a 45-minute drive through picturesque country to Valdeorras, where we will visit two wineries that make wonderful wines from one of the greatest white wine grapes in the world, Godello. The mother of one of our winery principals has a bar-restaurant in the center of the main town, O Barco de Valdeorras, where we will taste wines and sample Galician specialties like steamed octopus with olive oil, sea salt and Spanish paprika and empanadas fulled with tuna, shellfish or meat.

Day 05 Wednesday, Oct. 2 Ribeira Sacra – Valdeorras – Villafranca del Bierzo - Burgos

After breakfast at the Parador, we will embark on a 45-minute drive through picturesque country to Valdeorras, where we will visit two wineries that make wonderful wines from one of the greatest white wine grapes in the world, Godello. The mother of one of our winery principals has a bar-restaurant in the center of the main town, O Barco de Valdeorras, where we will taste wines and sample Galician specialties like steamed octopus with olive oil, sea salt and Spanish paprika and empanadas fulled with tuna, shellfish or meat. 


Catch the optical illusion at the rim of the glass (look the rim for a few seconds and it will change perspective).  Adegas D'Berna with a glass of D'Berna Godello, Córgomo, Valdeorras, Galicia.  Photo by Gerry Dawes©2017


 
Eladio Santalla Freile and Marcos Santalla Freile with a bottle of their truly stunning Hacienda Ucediños Valdeorras Godello 2016, which was a great match for a dozen remarkably good zamburiñas, or baby scallops, a cazuela or two of gambas al ajillo and a wooden plate of exceptional pulpo a feira, steamed octopus dressed with olive oil, Spanish pimentón (paprika) and sea salt. At Pulperia El Dorado in O Barco de Valdeorras.

From O Barco, we will drive 45 minutes to El Bierzo, where visit the picturesque Camino de Santiago and major wine town of Cacabelos and taste wines with a winemaker, then have lunch with some of the wines at a popular restaurant in Villafranca del Bierzo frequented by local winemakers and located in a small charming hotel that sits right on the Camino de Santiago.


Mencía grapes, Bierzo.

After lunch, all but our bus driver will have a bus siesta as we pass through Castilla y León, a drive of about three hours with a stop in a Camino de Santiago town along the way. We will stay the old quarter of the great Castilian capital of Burgos, hometown of El Cid and dine in the old city on regional tapas. 

Day 06 Thursday, October 3 Burgos – La Rioja – Burgos

In the morning, we will ride an hour to la Rioja, tour several of the wine villages, visit some wineries during harvest, then have lunch on the great traditional food of la Rioja at a wonderful family bodega, where the age their wines in ancient hand-hewn caves.  the area’s best regarded restaurants, then after lunch, stop in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, one of the great historic towns on the Camino de Santiago. 


Luis Alberto Lecea, owner of Bodegas Lecea, draws wine from a cement vat down in the hand-hewn caves of his family winery in La Rioja.

Lamb chops and chorizo ready to be fired over coals created by burning bundles of grape vines at Bodegas Lecea, la Rioja. 


The famous Barrio de la Estación in Haro (Rioja Alta), home to CUNE, López de Heredia, La Rioja Alta, Bodegas Bilbainas, Muga, Roda and others. Beyond are the vineyards of La Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. Photo by Gerry Dawes.

In the afternoon, we will return to Burgos, relax and have an optional drink in a colorful bar in the old quarter, then have dinner at a very special restaurant family restaurant.




Day 07, Friday, October 4 Burgos – Ribeira del Duero – Madrid


Gerry Dawes helping to quarter roast suckling lamb at a winery in Ribera del Duero.
 
In the morning, we will ride an hour south of Burgos to the Ribera del Duero, where we will visit one of the region’s top wineries, then have lunch at an exceptional regional restaurant, which specializing in brick oven roasted suckling lamb.  We will be joined by a winemaker who will guide us through a tasting of his wines over lunch.  


After lunch, we have a 2+ hours ride to Madrid, where we will arrive at our central Madrid hotel, check in and then have some options such as shopping, relaxing, visiting museums, etc.  In the evening, we will sample tapas in some of the best spots in Madrid. 

Salmorejo, a type of thick gazpacho, and a beer at an outdoor café, Plaza Mayor, Madrid.




Optional Flamenco show after dinner. 

Day 08, Saturday, October 5 Madrid

In the morning, we will take a two-hour high-spotting tour of the Prado Museum with an expert guide, then we will talk a stroll through Madrid’s old quarter, stopping a couple of Ernest Hemingway’s old haunts, then have some time to relax and explore the city.  

Tour guide to the Prado.


Ernest Hemingway and Matador Antonio Ordoñez, photograph at Cervecería Alemana, Plaza Santa Ana, Madrid.


Cervecería Alemana, Plaza Santa Ana, Madrid.


Legendary Casa Lucio in Madrid.

In the evening, we have our farewell meal at one of Madrid’s favorite restaurants, sampling several different Castilian dishes family style, with plenty of wine to lubricate the group’s reminiscences of the trip.


Day 09 Sunday, October 6 Madrid – USA

Taxis in the morning to Madrid airport to catch flights back to the home country. Option for more days in Madrid on your own, with visits to Segovia, Avila, Toledo, etc. and other parts of Spain.

 
Madrid's ultra-modern Terminal IV.
Some transatlantic flights still arrive at Terminal I, which is older and less spectacular, but in some ways, an easier and quicker entry point.
  
All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2019



* * * * *
  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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