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

"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

1/25/2020

Spanish Gastronomy Expert Gerry Dawes & Eating Las Vegas Restaurant Critic John Curtas Taste of Spain Tour 2020: Bilbao, San Sebastián, Navarra, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante & Madrid


 * * * * *
Gerry Dawes & John Curtas Taste of Spain Tour 2020

Bilbao, San Sebastián, Navarra, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante & Madrid

Wednesday, May 20 – Sunday, May 31, 2020
(11 Days, 10 Nights)

A Customized Itinerary for John Curtas & Eating Las Vegas Followers

Tour Designed and Guided by Gerry Dawes
Premio Nacional de Gastronómía 2003
(Spanish National Gastronomy Award)


$4,995 per person; $5,995 single supplement
(without airfare)



A complete prospectus and trip contract will be sent to each interested party.  Travel insurance is recommended.  Check with your credit card provider or personal insurance company.

"In his nearly thirty years (now fifty) 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..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections

"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.

"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless criss-crossings 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

About Gerry Dawes and His Unique Experiences in Spain



"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, 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 José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of ThinkFoodGroup and Mercado Little Spain, Hudson Yards, New York.

Gerry Dawes will lead an exceptional, intensive, insider’s food, wine and cultural of the Basque Country’s Atlantic food and wine regions, with an excursion into la Rioja and Navarra and on to Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante’s contrasting Mediterranean interpretations of food and wine, before ending the trip in Spain’s capital city, Madrid. 

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 chosen by Gerry to reflect the best aspects of each locale.  Although the emphasis will be 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 chefs and wine personalities, with whom Gerry Dawes is very well acquainted, visit placed known only to long-time Spain hands, and relax and enjoy the company and camaraderie of our fellow travelers.

Gerry Dawes received Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003.  He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish gastronomy, wine and cultural themes.  He has shown Spain to many top American chefs and culinary figures such as Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Michael Chiarello, Michael Lomonaco, Mark Kiffin, Norman Van Aken, cookbook author Rozanne Gold, Michael Whiteman (Joseph Baum Michael Whiteman Restaurant Consultants) and many others, including baseball great Keith Hernandez.  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 (€14,000)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.  


 About John Curtas


John A. Curtas has been the voice of the Las Vegas food and restaurant scene since 1995. As a resident since 1981, he has seen Vegas grow into one of the leading restaurant cities in the world. His weekly radio commentaries air were heard on KNPR-Nevada Public Radio, 88.9 FM www.knpr.org for 15 years, and since 2008, he can be seen Friday mornings as “Las Vegas’ Favorite Foodie” on KSNV (NBC) Morning News in Las Vegas (http://news3lv.com/news/wake-up-with-the-wagners).  He is the author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 50 Essential Restaurants, which will have its 5th edition published in December, 2016, as well as being the author of the Eating Las Vegas website (www.eatinglv.com). 

Mr. Curtas is also the Las Vegas correspondent for FoodieHub (www.foodiehub.com), and has been the restaurant critic for the Las Vegas Weekly, Las Vegas Life, SCOPE and Desert Companion magazines. He also and writes (or has written) on Las Vegas restaurants, food and wine for a variety of publications and web-based sites, including VEGAS magazine, VURB, BestPlaces Las Vegas, Fodor’s Las Vegas, TimeOut Las Vegas, and the Virtual Gourmet (www.JohnMariani.com).  He has also been a member of the North American voting panel for Restaurant Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants in the World issue and has been the Las Vegas voting correspondent for the James Beard Foundation. John has also made a number of appearances on national TV shows, including as a judge for the finale of Top Chef Masters (twice) and Iron Chef America (four episodes).  


Itinerary

(B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, T=Tapas, D=Dinner)

Day 00 Wednesday, May 20 U.S. to Madrid 

*Each traveler or group of travelers will arrange their air transportation from their departure city to Madrid and from Madrid to Bilbao.  Many airlines such as American or Iberia have special pricing to cities in Spain via Madrid.  Flights should be booked U.S. to Bilbao* (via Madrid) and return from Madrid to U.S.  (*It is important to make the U. S. to Bilbao flight as part of your ticket, so your luggage gets checked through to Bilbao and you do not have to check in again and go through security again in Madrid to get your connection to Bilbao.



Day 01 Thursday, May 21 Madrid - Bilbao (D)  

All tour members will rendezvous in Bilbao at our hotel.  At 2 p.m., for those who have arrived and want to go for lunch, there will be an optional tapas crawl in the old quarter, then the afternoon will be free to relax.

In late afternoon, we will have a look at the Guggenheim Bilbao from the exterior and take a tour of the interior.   

At 9 p.m., we will meet across the river from the Guggenheim at a terrific Basque steakhouse with great steaks, regional specialties and good young wines from the Rioja Alavesa wine country southeast of Bilbao.   

Hotel Ercilla, Bilbao (or comparable.)


Bilbao Guggenheim Museum


After breakfast, we will take our medium-sized, maneuverable bus along some of the awesomely beautiful coastal roads east of Bilbao to the fishing village of Getaria, hometown of the dress designer Balenciaga, opera singer Plácido Domingo’s mother and birthplace of Juan Sebastián Elkano, the first man to complete the circumnavigation of the world (Magellan was killed in the Philippines and Elkano completed the voyage).

In Getaria, we will visit the Balenciaga Museum and the fishing port, then have a relatively light lunch in a spectacular restaurant overlooking the port, dining on exceptional, whole, wood-grilled rodaballo (turbot), other dishes such as txangurro (the classic Basque crab dish) and baby squid, all accompanied by special wines from the restaurant’s exceptional cellar. 

After lunch, we will arrive to the wonderful seaside city of San Sebastián, the gastronomic capital of the Basque Country.   We will check into our hotel that looks out on the city and Ondarreta beach.  The afternoon free for relaxing, shopping or enjoying on a walk on the spectacular beaches of Ondarreta and Playa de La Concha, one of the world’s greatest urban beaches. 

In the evening, we will ride up to Monte Igeldo, which has stunning views overlooking San Sebastián, then we will go to the old quarter of San Sebastián and sample tapas in the city’s colorful pintxos) bars.   After our tapas crawl, at the edge of the old quarter, we offer the option of a ending our evening in a classic bar that is credited with starting the Spanish gintonic craze among great international chefs, who drank them here after attending one of the legendary San Sebastián gastronomic conferences.

Hotel Galeria, San Sebastián.

Fishing port of Getaria, hometown of Juan Sebastián Elkano, the dress designer Balenciaga and Plácido Domingo's mother.


Getaria´s famous seafood restaurants specialize in fish, like the exquisite grilled rodaballo (turbot) shown here, grilled on open grills outdoors alongside the restaurants. 

 
Balenciaga Museum, Getaria.


 
 San Sebastián.

Paseo de la Concha, San Sebastián.



 Typical bar de pintxos (Basque for tapas) in San Sebastián.



Gintonics maestro Juanjo, Bar Dickens, San Sebastián.


Day 03 Saturday, May 23 San Sebastián – Pasaia Donibane - San Sebastián (B, L, T) 

In the morning, we will visit the market in downtown San Sebastián and stop for a morning tapa at one of the city’s most popular tapas spots.  The rest of this morning will be free for strolling, relaxing, shopping and enjoying this wonderful city. 

At 1 p.m., we will make a short excursion via bus and a five-minute charming ferry ride to Pasaia Donibane, a beautiful, one-street Basque village where Victor Hugo lived for a year.   We will stroll the town, then have lunch at a memorable restaurant that overlooks the Pasaia estuary, where we usually see teams of Basque rowers passing by. 

After lunch, we will return to the city to allow our tour members time to stroll the La Concha beach, re-visit the old quarter, shop or just relax and enjoy the charms of this unique city.

In the evening, we will have dinner in a new restaurant headed by one of the Basque Country’s most famous chefs, Michelin three-star Chef Martín Berastegui’s new restaurant, Eme Be Garrote.

Hotel Galeria (or comparable), San Sebastián.
  


Ferry to Pasajes de San Juan, a one-street seaside village where Victor Hugo once lived, near San Sebastián.


Day 04 Sunday, May 24 San Sebastián - Navarra – Barcelona (B, L, T)

In the morning, we will ride south to Navarra, where we will visit Olite, a striking Medieval castle village.  After Olite, we will ride south for half an hour and have an early lunch in southern Navarra with a winemaker at a restaurant that specializes in vegetable-based dishes from this great vegetable-growing district in Spain.  We will also taste a lineup of white wines, exceptional garnacha rosados (rosés), red and sweet dessert wines with the winemaker. 

 Drinking wonderful 100% free-run Garnacha rosados, delicious red wines and other surprises with winery owner Carlos Aliaga in Navarra.


 Foie-gras with friend artichokes accompanied by a luscious Late Harvest Moscatel at El Crucero in Corella, Navarra.

After lunch, our intrepid travelers can take a siesta on the bus as we press on to Barcelona, stopping a couple of times for refreshments.

We will arrive in Barcelona in early evening, check into our centrally located hotel, have a little time to relax, then those who are game can have the option of going out for a few Catalan tapas. 


 Hotel Duquesa de Cardona (or comparable), Barcelona.

Tapas in Barcelona.


 
 Miró, Picasso and Dalí, three legendary artists associated with Barcelona.


Sagrada Familia, Barcelona.


Day 05, Monday, May 25 Barcelona (B, L, D)  

In the morning, we will take a walking tour of the old quarters of Barcelona with George Semler, an American author who has lived in Barcelona for many years and has written extensively on his adopted city and will join us for lunch in la Barceloneta.  George says: “I normally give our guests information on architecture, history, gastronomy, random anecdotes, juicy cultural morsels…none of which sounds like a history class, I might add…Barcelona street sense…” George will also join us for lunch.


For lunch, we will go to a seafood-and-paella specialty restaurant in the port area of La Barceloneta, whose owner is a long-time friend of Gerry Dawes.  We have lunch on a terrace that looks out on the beach.

The afternoon and evening will be free to explore, shop or take an optional cultural tour of the Barcelona, etc. 

 Hotel Duquesa de Cardona (or comparable), Barcelona.


Touring the Old Quarters of Barcelona with George Semler, Gerry Dawes's friend for decades.

Enric Suárez, owner of Can Majó in La Barceloneta and a long-time friend of Gerry Dawes, with one of the restaurant seafood paellas.


 
Dry Martini at Javier de la Muelas Dry Martini Bar, Barcelona.


 
Antoni Guadí´s Casa Mila, La Pedrera, Barcelona.
  
Day 06 Tuesday, May 26 Barcelona (B, L, D)

In the morning, we will visit the famous la Boquería market and have lunch with Cava (Spanish Champagne) at one of the top market bars, whose chef-owner is a great friend of Gerry Dawes and where you will be amazed at the food his cooks turn out from market kitchens.

In the afternoon, there will be free time to shop, take an optional cultural tour of the Barcelona, etc.

We will have a dinner at a superb traditional Catalan cuisine restaurant run by Albert Adrià, Ferran Adrià´s brother and José André’s partner in Mercado Little Spain in New York.   


After dinner, those still game will have the option of going to one of the best cocktail bars in the city.  

Hotel Duquesa de Cardona (or comparable), Barcelona.

  
Quim Márquez, Quim de la Boquería, La Boquería Market, Barcelona with his costillas de ternera (veal ribs) with potatoes, Maldon salt and black Chinese garlic.

Albert Adrià, Ferran Adrià´s brother and José André’s partner in Mercado Little Spain in New York.



Day 07 Wednesday, May 27 Barcelona - Valencia (B, L, D) 


We will leave Barcelona early and drive to Valencia, where we will see some of Santiago Calatrava’s famous City of Arts and Sciences, visit Valencia’s Mercat Central (Central Market), then take a short excursion south of the city to see the picturesque Albufera lagoon and rice fields and get a hands-on class in paella making, then have paellas for lunch.

After lunch, weather permitting, we may take a short boat ride on the Albufera lagoon, then return to Valencia to relax, shop, visit some of Valencia´s many attractions or just stroll around the city.

In the evening, with the owner, we will have a great tapas dinner at the ambience-filled Bodega Casa Montaña, originally founded in the 19th Century.

Hotel Valencia Palace (or comparable).


 Valencia Mercat Central, paella pans and botas (wineskins).

 
Antonio Catalan spice shop, Valencia’s Mercat Central (Central Market).


Helping to make a paella at La Matandeta in La Abufera south of Valencia.


Emiliano García, owner of the Valencia classic Bodega Casa Montaña and a long-time friend of Gerry Dawes.


Day 08 Thursday, May 28 Valencia - Alicante  (B, L, D)  

In the morning, we will leave Valencia and drive just over an hour to visit a saffron processing facility, then visit the cooking school of the great chocolatero, Paco Torreblanca, voted the Best Pastry & Desserts Chef in Europe.   Paco Torreblanca is a friend of Gerry Dawes and either he or his son, Jacob, voted the top Pastry & Desserts Chef in Spain, will take us on a tour of his amazing chocolate and fancy pastries facility.

After visiting Paco Torreblanca, we will take a short tour of an Alicante winery, then drive to a family restaurant in a nearby village, where we will have a paella with wild rabbit and snails, cooked over grape vine cuttings, along with other regional specialties and special wines from the region. 

After lunch, we will return to Alicante and have the rest of the afternoon free to explore this lovely Mediterranean city.

Dinner will be at a tapas restaurant run by a woman chef who was awarded a Michelin star in her modern cuisine restaurant, but whose traditional tapas restaurant focusing on stellar Spanish products was recently voted the Best Tapas Bar in Spain.

We will stay in a hotel near the port, the beach and Alicante’s palm tree-lined Explanada.
 

Gerry Dawes and Maestro Paco Torreblanco at Paco's Baking School near Alicante.


 An Alicante winery.


 Paella with wild rabbit and snails, cooked over grape vine cuttings.

 Paella with wild rabbit and snails.


Alicante Chef María José San Román, Chef-owner of Michelin-starred Monastrell and La Taberna del Gourmet, one of the best tapas restaurants in Spain.

Day 09 Friday, May 29 Alicante – Chinchón - Madrid  (B, L, T)

Don Quixote country, where we will stop to see some of the storybook windmills of La Mancha.

This morning, we will head to Madrid, passing through Don Quixote country, stopping to see some of the storybook windmills of La Mancha along the way, arriving in the storybook town of Chinchón in time for lunch at a charming restaurant specializing in classic Castilian cuisine and overlooking the Plaza Mayor, one of the most enchanting plazas in Spain.  

After lunch, a 45-minute ride will bring us to Madrid, where we will check into our hotel, then have the rest of the afternoon free to explore Madrid, shop, relax, etc.

In the evening, we will take a stroll through the literary quarter and the Plaza Mayor.  Near the Plaza Mayor, we will visit the renovated Mercado de San Miguel, a combination market-food court-wine bar.  We will divide into small groups and, coached by Gerry Dawes, each group will have the option to sample different tapas, moving from counter to counter.  There are shellfish, cheese, Ibérico hams and desserts counters; a sushi bar; an oyster bar and a wine bar.



 
 The storybook town of Chinchón.

 Mural at the entrance to La Balconada Restaurant in Chinchón.


Mercado de San Miguel, Madrid.

Day 10 Saturday, May 30 Madrid (B, D) 


In the morning, there will be a guided tour of Madrid’s Prado Museum and the option of visiting other museums in the Triangulo del Arte, including the Reina Sofia, which houses Picasso’s Guernica, and the Thyssen-Bornemizsa, which is based on the remarkable private art collection of the late Baron Thyssen-Bornemizsa. 

At lunchtime, we will stroll through Retiro Park to a top Madrid restaurant, famous for exceptional seafood tapas, but also offering a variety of dishes such as fried artichokes, superb jamón Ibérico and other specialty dishes.

After lunch, our tour members will have free time until dinner.

In the evening, we will have our farewell dinner in a colorful traditional Madrid restaurant, famous for roast suckling pig, lamb and Castilian specialties, all of which will be accompanied by plenty of vino. 

After dinner, our travelers will have the option of attending a performance at one of Madrid’s top Flamenco clubs.


Diego Velásquez, La Meninas, Prado Museum, Madrid.


Cochinillo asado, brick-oven roasted suckling pig, at Casa Botín, Madrid.


A performance at one of Madrid’s top Flamenco clubs.

Day 11 Sunday, May 31 Madrid (B)
   
Tour members will take taxis or shuttle buses to Madrid airport their flights to USA. 



* * * * *
  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

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


 
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.
 

1/18/2020

Having a Drink with Gerry Dawes by Jordi Melendo, Verema.com


* * * * *

Tomando una copa con… Gerry Dawes
(Click here to read the interview in Spanish)

Drinking Godello at Estado Puro in Madrid.
Photo by Harold Heckle, Associated Press, Madrid.



Gerry Dawes vive en Nueva York y es escritor, fotógrafo y conferenciante especialista en la gastronomía, los vinos y la cultura de España. Vivió en Andalucía durante ocho años, lleva casi 40 viajando por el país y tiene un promedio de siete viajes gastronómicos anuales a España. Fue galardonado con el Premio Nacional de Gastronomía “Marqués de Busianos” 2003 por la Academia Española de Gastronomía y La Cofradía de la Buena Mesa y es el único extranjero honrado con el Premio Cena de los Once Vinos. Es Contributing Editor de Food Arts, Wine News, Santé y varias revistas del ICEX y ha publicado centenares de artículos sobre los vinos, la gastronomía y viajes de España. 

Ha presentado ponencias y presentaciones en Culinary Institute of America - Napa Valley, Christie's New York, Encuentro Verema (Valencia), Philadelphia Museum of Art (seis cenas durante la exposición de Dalí), International Association of Culinary Professionals (Congreso Anual), IberWine, Madrid Fusión, Fenavin, Vino a Toda Vela y presentador de los Spain's Ten (10 mejores chefs españoles en New York). Fue Chairman de la Cena-Subasta James Beard Fundation en 2004 que fue dedicado a España, honró a Ferran Adrià y Juan Mari Arzak y batió todos los records de la fundación. Fue seleccionado para dar una charla, sobre la gastronomía, vinos y cultura de Valencia en una cena de en honor de Francisco Camps, presidente de la Generalitat Valenciana en New York (Abril, 2005).


Having a drink with … Gerry Dawes

One of your virtues:

I am loyal to my friends, especially my real friends, most of whom are in Spain.

One of your faults:

I am addicted to Spain and I am always trying to do more than is humanly possible, which causes me problems.

A virtue you value in others:

Loyalty, honesty and patience, qualities which many of my Spanish friends have.

A fault you detest in others:

Dishonesty. And the love of new oak taste of over the taste of wine. I truly detest Parkerista-style wines.

Recommend a white wine:

Palacio de Fefiñanes Albariño (unoaked, with a few years in bottle.)
A Coroa Godello
Casal Novo Godello (my house white wine)
Pena Das Donas Godello
D. Ventura Mencia red wines from Ribeira Sacra

A rosé wine:

Señorío de Sarría Garnacha Rosado Viñedo #5 (one of the greatest rosé wines in the world.)

A red wine:

A great older vintage of CUNE Viña Real Oro such a 1954, 1962, 1981; Viña Bosconia 1947; Marqués de Riscal 1945 and Riscal wines from the 1920s; young, fresh, terroir-driven Mencia from Ribeira Sacra.

A Cava:

Raventos i Blanc , also Gramona or Agusti Torelló; also love good dry Pinot Noir Rosado cavas

And a Champagne:

Pol Roger, which I have had every Christmas and New Year’s Eve since 1976; I also love Bollinger, André Clouet and Champagnes that use Pinot Noir; and especially the great Rosé Champagnes.

If you had to choose just one wine which would it be:

A great dry Garnacha Rosado with good acidity, which goes with all kinds of food. They are fresh, festive, fun, satisfying and normally have no oak. And sometimes, a fine manzanilla fina de Sanlúcar

And who would you drink it with:

The most important thing about any bottle of wine is the people surrounding the bottle:

My girlfriend, Kay. And over lunch with any (or all) of these great friends, Mariano García, Basilio Izquierdo, Javier Hidalgo, Emiliano García, Juan Gil (Galicia), Emilo Cores, Manolo & Mari Carmen Esquivias, Ambrosia Molinos & family in Roa, Isaacín Muga, Juan Suarez, Esmeralda Capel, Gabriela Llamas, Lucio, Mari & Javier Blásquez, Quím Marqués, Fuensanta Bartolomeu, José Manuel Rodríguez (Ribeira Sacra), María José San Román (y Pitu, Jorge y Geni), Adolfo Muñoz & family in Toledo, Juli Soler, George Semler, el banda de gente in Sanfermínes, Raúl Aleixandre, Juan Peña, Paco Dovalo, Javier Luca de Tena, José Andrés, Carlos Falcó, Ricardo Pérez, Raúl Pérez, Pepe Limeño, the Pérez Pascuas family, Alejandro Fernández, Los Tios de Verema (José, Juan, Paco) y Las Gamberras de Chipiona. . . I have mentioned just a few and I have left out many—with profound apologies--but I am sure you only have so much space.

Your favourite meal:

I have several:  Rodaballo at either Kaia or Elkano in Getaria; Mariscos in Galicia, especially with Gerardo Mendez of Do Ferreiro; any meal at Bigote in Sanlúcar de Barrameda; chuletillas al sarmiento at Bodegas Pérez Pascuas; breakfast at Quím de la Boquería or Pinotxo in La Boquería; pochas con codornices in Navarra; alcachofas con jamón in La Balconada in Chinchón; arrós negre in Can Majo in Barcelona; any meal in Ca Sento in Valencia; Sunday nights at Casa Lucio in Madrid; salmorejo con berenjenas fritas at Juan Peña in Córdoba; arrós con caracoles y conejo at Casa Elias in Xinorlet; any lunch at Bodegas Muga, el menu de Gerry Dawes in La Taberna del Gourmet in Alicante; and a box of chocolates from Paco Torreblanca. There are many, many more.

Your favourite restaurant:

As you can see, I have many favourites. And I have been known to make pilgrimages to many restaurants scattered all over Spain. I love Bigote looking out on Bajo Guía in Sanlúcar, Kaia looking out on the fishing port and Basque Coast in Getaria; I love to take the ferry to Casa Cámara in Pasai Donibane (Pasajes de San Juan); and I love to eat La Balconada or Café Iberia in Chinchón overlooking La Plaza Mayor. Tengo muchos.

Your favourite city:

Madrid, many days; Barcelona, many days; Sanlúcar always and forever; mi Sevilla; San Sebastián; Valencia; Haro; Cambados; Chinchón; Getaria; too many to pick, but you get the idea.

Your favourite country:

Spain is the greatest country in the world. Nothing else comes close. The reason: See “And who would you drink it with.”

Which do you prefer, the seaside or the mountains:

So many choices, so little time. I love to be in Sanlúcar anytime and I love the Rías of Galicia, but I also love the mountains of Galicia, Andalucía, Navarra, La Rioja and the Picos de Europa.

Which mode of transport do you prefer:

Automobile outside of cities. It’s a freedom thing. Walking, metro or water ferry in some places.

Recommend a book:

Don Quixote; Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert; The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway; Iberia by James Michener; and my Homage to Iberia (if I ever find a publisher with cojones).

A song:

As Time Goes By” from Casablanca;  and “Yo Soy del Sur

A film: Casablanca

What is your favourite sport:

Baseball (I am addicted to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who haven’t been winners for 17 years--sort of like being “Zoy del Beti”--and American football (New York Giants). I also follow Spanish football when I am in Spain. I was in the riot on the Ramblas when Barça confirmed a few years ago and the last game I saw was on the tele. I saw Atletico de Madrid beat Barça in La Bodegueta in San Celoni with Santi Santamaría and George Semler, which left both of them de luto (in mourning).

What is your favourite colour:

Wine red (unoaked tint) and the brilliant wedding ring gold color of great Godello.

Which is your favourite man’s name:

Cayetano

Which is your favourite woman’s name:

Victoria

Which historical personality would you have liked to have met in person:

Ernest Hemingway (maybe),
Miguel de Cervantes (when he wasn’t in jail),
Salvador Dalí (I know, I know),
King Juan Carlos I (I only briefly shook his hand);
Elroy Face (A Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher from the 1950s & 1960s)
and Antonio Ordoñez, whom I did meet and became friends with before he died).

Which three things would you take with you to a desert island:

My girlfriend, Kay; enough Patrón tequila, Torres Licor de Naranja, grapefruit juice (the island had better have limes & lemons) to make margaritas; Hendrick’s gin & Fever Tree tonica for variety; and vinos de Godello, Garnacha Rosado and Viña Real Oro to keep me going until I get off the island (I am not enamored of islands, too constricting ultimately); and my laptop with a power supply.

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.




Trailer filmed in Valencia & Alicante for a reality television

series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.


1/08/2020

A Homage to Culinary Adventures with Juan Suárez, One of the Great Non-professional Cooks in Spain: Teaching Famous Culinarians How to Fry an Egg, Cocido Madrileño, Cooking in Napa Valley at Cindy Pawlcyn's, Cooking at Home for the Madrid Fusión Mejicano Contingent and a Magical Adventure at Kaia near San Sebastián


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Gerry Dawes's Persistence of Memory* (Salvador Dalí)  Melting Watch Awards.

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Text & Photographs by Gerry Dawes©2010
gerrydawes@aol.com

Juan Suárez and his grandson, Borja, in a photo in Juan's kitchen in Madrid.

Juan Suárez, husband of Esmeralda Capel, one of the Directors of the  annual Madrid Fusión Gastronomy Summit, is one of the most accomplished non-professional cooks in Spain.  For several years, I have been following the cooking exploits of Suárez, a retired lawyer, avid golfer, one Hell of a culinarian and one of my great friends.  Even calling Suárez “non-professional” chef is stretching the point.  Technically, he does not get paid for cooking, but he is so well thought of by the great Chef Juan Mari Arzak that he has been invited to spend a week cooking in Arzak’s kitchen on several occasions.

Juan Suárez and Juan Mari Arzak at Arzak, where Juan has spent whole weeks cooking.

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