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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. . . 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.” - - 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

"I have said this before and I’ll say it again, nobody knows Spain like Gerry Dawes. I sincerely doubt that there is another American, and very few, if any, Spaniards can approach, let alone surpass his knowledge of the people, food, wine and culture of Spain. "-- John Sconzo, Dosconz: Musings on Food & Life

"Trust me everyone, I have traveled with this man in Spain, if Gerry Dawes tells you to eat somewhere it's like Anthony 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

"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

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)




1/31/2020

Gazpachuelo: A Fish Soup from Málaga (Thickened With Mayonnaise) and Sardinas de Espeto (sardines roasted on a spit over a wood fire) at El Balneario de los Baños del Carmen and with Cookbook Author Janet Mendel at Her Home in Mijas (Málaga), Spain


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Gazpachuelo de callos (tripe) with pimentón (Spanish paprika) during the jornada de gazpachuelo at Balneario Baños del Carmen, Málaga, October 15, 2019.


On my birthday on October 15, I was traveling in Spain with my fiancée Kay Balun, cookbook author Rozanne Gold and Michael Whiteman of Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Restaurants Consultants, New York and we were we staying in the Andalucian city of Málaga for a couple of days.  One of Málaga's many attractions is its seaside restaurants, often originally modest beach restaurants specializing in seafood, especially sardinas al espeto, sardines skewered on metal or cane spits (espetos) cooked over a wood fire and seafood soups and stews such as gazpachuelo Malagueño, and such dishes as at Balneario del Carmen.

I had had gazpachuelo Malagueño at the home of Janet Mendel (see video below of Janet making gazpachuelo for American chefs Ryan McIlwraith (Bellota, San Francisco) and his then Executive Chef Joel Ehrlich) in Mijas, a spectacularly situated village 30 kms. west of  Málaga where I lived for nearly three years and had an art gallery back in the mid-1970s.  

I researched restaurants in Málaga, a city I have visited more in recent years than I did when I lived in nearby Mijas, and found that el Balneario Baños del CarmenI was having their first Jornadas de Gazpachuelo, a two-week long promotion of this emblematic fisherman´s soup, so I asked Janet and her son Ben Searl to join us for lunch at the Baleneario in the Málaga beachfront suburb of Pedregalejo, 5 kms. (3 miles) from the center of the city.  (See my four-part series on the city of Málaga:

It was a gorgeous day, a bit breezy but wonderful, and we sat outside on the terrace at a table just a few feet from the Mediterranean.  I had called ahead and told the manager that we wanted to do a degustación of several different gazpachuelos (not to be confused with gazpacho, the classic cold tomato-based soup that is one of Spain´s best-known dishes, nor with ajo blanco [gazpacho blanco or gazpacho Malagueño], the cold almond-and-garlic based soup.  The restaurant was very accommodating, especially after I told them that I was bringing two well-known cookbook authors, Rozanne and Janet and the former Director of Restaurant Operations in New York's former World Trade Center.   They served us tasting portions of classic gazpachuelo Malagueño and three more variations on the theme:  gazpachuelo Viña AB (with clams, shrimp, peas, piquillo peppers and spiked with González Byass Viña AB Amontillado Seco Sherry); gazpachuelo de almejas, with clams and thicker with more mahonesa (house-made mayonnaise) incorporated into the soup; and gazpachuelo de callos (tripe) with pimentón (Spanish paprika).


Janet Mendel and Michael Whiteman of Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Restaurants  Consultants, New York at Baleneario del Carmen.

And, of course, we had a few plates of sardinas al espeto, sardines skewered on metal or cane spits (espetos) and cooked over a wood fire, a specialty of the coasts of Málaga province (see photos below).


 
Weeks en October dedicated to Gazpachuelo at El Balneario Baños del Carmen, Málaga.


Menu with my notes for the I Jornadas Gastronómicas del Gazpachuelo at El Balneario de Carmen, Málaga.

Gazpachuelo Malagueño during the jornada de gazpachuelo at Balneario del Carmen, Málaga, October 15, 2019.



Gazpachuelo a la Malagueña, a Spanish fish stew, thickened with mayonnaise, made by Spanish cookbook author Janet Mendel in her kitchen in Mijas (Málaga), Andalucía, Spain, cooked especially for Chef Ryan McIlwraith and his Executive Chef Joel Ehrlich, whom I took on a research trip before they opened Bellota in San Francisco in 2015. Video by Gerry Dawes©2014.

 Janet Mendel's gazpachuelo Malagueño served at her home in Mijas.


TWO CHEFS COME TO LUNCH (From Janet Mendel´s My Kitchen In Spain blog.)

Here’s how I came to make lunch for two American chefs. An old friend, Gerry Dawes, got in touch, saying he was taking two young chefs around western and southern Spain on a mission to explore regional Spanish cooking. One of them, Ryan McIlwraith, will be the executive chef for a new, Spanish-inflected restaurant  in San Francisco (at 888 Brannon), part of the Absinthe Group (name and opening date still not announced; Note: the restaurant is Bellota). The other, Joel Erlich, will be the executive sous chef there.

Lunch at my house: Chef Ryan McIlwraith (left) and Gerry Dawes, gastronome.
I know Gerry from way back in the 1970s, when he lived in Mijas,the same village where I live. Now he’s an expert on Spanish gastronomy, wine and travel, who does specialized custom tours for culinary luminaries.

Gerry said they would be traveling from Sanlucar de Barrameda via Ronda to Málaga and would like to stop off in Mijas so he could introduce the chefs to me and to my cookbooks.

Sure, I said, come for a late lunch.

Ohmygod. Whatever will I cook for a couple of chefs? This would be Ryan’s third culinary trip to Spain, so he was no novato. He was previously chef de cuisine at Michael Chiarello's  Coqueta (San Francisco) where he garnered experience working with Iberian-inflected cuisine.

“What do you know about gazpachuelo?” Gerry asked me. “Ryan wants to try a version of that while we’re down there.  Is there any place we can have it?”


GAZPACHUELO,  MEDITERRANEAN SEAFOOD CHOWDER RECIPE


This is the recipe for gazpachuelo that I served to the chefs. Following their suggestions, I’ve added more olive oil and Sherry to the recipe. Oh, yeah, and salt. Important to taste! The fish I used was merluza (fresh hake). I used the head, bones and trimmings to make a fish stock.

Serves 6.

1 egg, room temperature
¾ extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
8 cups fish stock
1 ½ cups diced potatoes
¼  cup shelled peas, fresh or frozen
1 ½  cups boneless chunks of white fish
¼ cup chopped serrano ham
1/3 cup peeled shrimp (3 ounces)
Roasted red pepper, chopped (optional)
½ cup Sherry (fino or amontillado)
Salt, to taste


Place the egg in a blender container. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow stream until it is emulsified. Blend in the lemon juice and salt. Set aside.

Put the fish stock in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook 5 minutes more.

Then add the chunks of fish, ham, shrimp and Sherry. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.


With the motor running, ladle some of the hot soup into the emulsion in the blender. Remove the soup from the heat and whisk the emulsion into the soup. Serve immediately. The soup can be reheated, but do not boil. 

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 Sardinas de espeto at Balneario del Carmen, Málaga, October 15, 2019.


 Sardinas al espeto, sardines skewered on metal or cane spits (espetos) and cooked over a wood fire, a specialty of the coasts of Málaga province at Balneario del Carmen, Málaga, October 15, 2019.

  Sardinas al espeto, sardines skewered on metal or cane spits (espetos) and cooked over a wood fire, a specialty of the coasts of Málaga province at Balneario del Carmen, Málaga, October 15, 2019.


 Kay Balun and Janet Mendel's son Ben Searl at Baleneario del Carmen.

View of  Málaga from the terrace restaurant of Balneario del Carmen.

 
* * * * *
  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.
 

1/30/2020

A Taste of Madrid, Western Spain (Castilla y León and Extremadura), Andalucía & La Mancha Tour With Acclaimed Spain Expert Gerry Dawes May 6 – May 17, 2020


* * * * *  

Madrid and Its Tapas Scene, Magical Segovia, Magnificent Roman Ruins, Jamón Ibérico, Extremaduran Cheese, Andalucian Seafood, Sherry & Don Quixote’s La Mancha Tour of Spain

Including the great cities and towns of Madrid, Segovia, Ávila, Salamanca, Cáceres, Mérida, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz, El Puerto de Santa María, Sevilla, Córdoba, Toledo, and Chinchón

Join Acclaimed Spanish Gastronomy, Wine & Culture Expert Gerry Dawes 

Tour Designed, Organized and Guided by Gerry Dawes

Premio Nacional de Gastronómía 2003

(Spanish National Gastronomy Prize)


May 6 – May 17, 2020 (11 days, 10 nights)

 Chef-owner Fernando Hermoso with langostinos de Sanlúcar at Bar Bigote in  Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish gastronomy and wine 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

$4,995 per person; $5,995 (single room supplement)
Airfare not included.

Tour Terms and Conditions sheet & Reservations Form available to all prospective tour participants.


About Gerry Dawes 



"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.

Gerry Dawes and speaks frequently on Spanish gastronomy, wine and cultural themes leads customized gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain.  He has shown Spain to many top American chefs such as Thomas Keller, Mark Miller, Michael Chiarello, Mark Kiffin, Norman Van Aken and many others.  In addition to being awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronómía 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.


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

In 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, one of the top experts on Spanish wines, to reflect the best aspects of each locale.  Participants on this trip will meet and interact with Spanish wine personalities and chefs, with whom Gerry Dawes in many cases has been acquainted for decades.  Although the emphasis will be on food and wine, there will be cultural activities and some spectacular countryside to see and photograph as well and down-time to relax and enjoy the company and camaraderie of our fellow travelers. 


Day 00, Wed., May 6 USA to Madrid

Flights to Madrid from U. S.


Day 01, Thurs, May 7  Madrid (L, T)

Arrive in Madrid, Spain's capital, where we will rendezvous at our hotel, which will be near the Prado Museum. We will allow everyone to rest and freshen up, then we will meet at 2 p.m. for lunch at a restaurant owned by Spain’s greatest cortador de jamones, Ibérico ham carver (
he travels the world demonstrating how to carve these exquisite expensive hams should be properly carved) and sample the best jamón, personally selected by this superstar personality.  This will be our first introduction to jamón Ibérico, the world's best hams from acorn-fed, pata negra (black foot breed) pigs.  The woman chef, mother of the cortador’s restaurant partner, is a great traditional cuisine cook, so jamón will just be the intro to our meal.

Florencio Sanchidrián, Spain's top professional ham carver.

After lunch, we will visit the Prado Museum with a professional guide.   


In the evening, we will stop at a couple of very special tapas places on the other side of Retiro Park.

Day 02, Fri, May 8  Madrid – Segovia – Ávila – Salamanca (B, L, D) 

From Madrid, we will drive up into the Guadarrama Mountains to Segovia, the roast suckling pig capital of Spain and home to an amazing 2,000-year old Roman aqueduct that still crosses the city.  For lunch, we will have exceptional roast suckling pig, so tender they cut it with the edge of a plate, in a restaurant that has been a must visit for celebrities and just plain folks for decades.  


200-year old Roman aqueduct that still spans the marvelous city of Segovia.

 Roast suckling pig, so tender you can cut it with the edge of a plate, at a classic restaurant in Segovia.

After lunch we will drive less than an hour to visit the amazing Medieval walled town of Ávila, then move on to spend the evening in the historic university city of Salamanca, whose Plaza Mayor (main square) is the most beautiful in Spain, and just sample an order of tostón, roast suckling pig with crackling skin and other non-pig regional specialties.  


 The amazing Medieval walled town of Ávila.

We will being staying at a hotel near the southern approach to the city’s famous Roman bridge over the Tormes River.  We will walk  across the bridge and up into old Salamanca.  (You may recognize the Plaza Mayor square in Salamanca from the 2008 movie Vantage Point.)

Day 03, Sat, May 9 Salamanca – Guijuelo – Hervás – Cáceres – Trujillo (B, L, D)


We will spend a little time in the morning seeing some of Salamanca and visiting the market, then head south through the major pig town of Guijuelo, where we will stop to visit  one of Spain's top jamón Ibérico producers, then travel south, stopping off to visit historic Hervás (an old Jewish town), arriving in to the monumental medieval city of Cáceres, where we will have late lunch and sample the sensational local Torta del Casar  and Torta de la Serena ewe’s milk cheeses.  


 Gerry Dawes at one of the top jamón Ibérico produces in Guijuelo (Salamanca).

After lunch we will take a walking tour of the old quarter of Cáceres, before moving on to the important nearby hilltop town of Trujillo, hometown of Pizarro (conqueror of the Incas) and Orellana (the first European to make the 2400-mile trip down the Amazon).  Trujillo has a major cheese fair every year in May and producers here make great goat cheeses, including Ibores. In Trujillo, we will take a break from pig and have some roast goat and try other regional specialties. 


Statue of native son, Pizarro, conquistador of Peru, in the Plaza Mayor, Trujillo.


 Storks originating in Africa are ubiquitous in Extremadura.

Day 04 Sun, May 10 Trujillo – Montánchez – Mérida (Roman ruins) (B, L)


What an exciting day we have in front of us! After a walk around picturesque Trujillo, the next stop is Montánchez, an incredible hilltop town, where we will sample the prime hams from this village and visit a hermitage with stunning views. 


We will move on to Mérida, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in Europe. The Roman bridge across the Guadiana River, a superb amphitheater and arena, the Raphael Moneo-designed Roman Museum and the well-preserved remnants of this important Imperial city are scattered all over town. (One shop in this city has the figure of a Roman Centurion whose shield is an Ibérico ham.) 


 Roman theater in the monumental Roman legion town of Mérida.


 Roman bridge over the Guadiana River in the monumental Roman legion town of Mérida.

We will stay in a lovely converted palace on the main plaza in Mérida (excellent evening lollygagging territory) and within an easy stroll of all the major Roman ruins. At a local restaurant, for lunch we will sample traditional Extremaduran specialties, including more local cheeses and different grilled cuts of pork from Ibérico pigs.


The afternoon and evening will be free to relax, tour the Roman monuments, the Rafael Moneo-designed Roman Museum, stroll across the river on a pedestrian-only Roman bridge and sample local tapas in the restaurants around the plaza.


Day 05 Mon, May 11 Mérida – Jabugo – Sevilla (B, L, T)


We will spend a couple of hours in
Mérida in the morning, then ride south, stopping to make a short visit to Jerez de los Caballeros, the evocative and picturesque hometown of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (discoverer of the Pacific Ocean) and De Soto (explorer of the Mississippi River). 

By lunchtime, we will arrive in Jabugo, the jamón Ibérico capital of the Andalucía. We will tour a jamón processing plant and have lunch there on some of the best pig products in the world. 

 
La Giralda, the wonderful former Moorish minaret that is now the bell tower of the Cathedral of Sevilla.

After lunch, we will ride a little over an hour to Sevilla, the city of Carmen and one of the most beautiful and evocative cities in Europe.  After checking into our hotel, we can relax until early evening when Gerry Dawes will lead a walking tour of this stunningly pretty city where he lived for nearly six years.  We will sample tapas in a few places, then sit down in a particularly good tapas bar for some grilled shrimp, fried fish (an Andalucian specialty) and other special tapas, including, no doubt, a plate or two of Ibérico ham.  

After the tapas tour, there will be the option of going to an authentic tablao for a flamenco performance.



Flamenco dancer in Sevilla, a city where Flamenco is a way of life.

Day 06 Tues, May 12 Sevilla - Sanlúcar de Barrameda (B, L)

In the morning, we will have a guided tour of the Cathedral, the Moorish fortress-palace El Alcázar and the Barrio de Santa Cruz (the old Jewish quarter), do some strolling and shopping, then travel an hour and a half south to the superb fishing and Sherry town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where Columbus set sail on his second voyage to America.  


Langostinos de Sanlúcar (the town's renowned prawns) on the beach at sunset Sanlúcar de Barrameda. 


Flamingos in the Las Marismas marshes around Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

In Sanlúcar, we will prevail upon one of Gerry’s friends to open his old sherry bodega and let us taste some of his exceptional Manzanilla sherries, then we will have lunch at a beachfront restaurant with more Manzanilla, grilled shellfish and some of the best fried fish in the world.  Hopefully, we will see one of Sanlucar's spectacular sunsets from the legendary Bajo de Guia fisherman's beach with a glass of Manzanilla in hand (more on this later). 
  
Gerry Dawes with his long-time friend, owner Javier Hidalgo, at Bodegas Hidalgo, producers of the famous La Gitana Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda.


In the evening, we will have free time to enjoy the Plaza del Cabildo and environs, which has some of the best tapas bars and restaurants in Spain. 


Day 07 Wed, May 13 Sanlúcar de Barrameda – Cádiz – El Puerto de Sta. Maria - Sanlúcar de Barrameda  (B, L)

Gerry Dawes at a Sanlúcar market bar with langostinos de Sanlúcar.  The bar owners will prepare your purchases for a modest fee.

We visit the Sanlúcar market, buy some ingredients in  market, then take them to a nearby Manzanilla Sherry bodega, where they will prepare them for us for a late morning merienda, mid-morning snack.   Then we will bus to El Puerto de Santa María to take the catamaran hydrofoil ferry to Cádiz, visit this wonderful, unique sea-surrounded peninsular city and its unique market, then take the ferry back to El Puerto,  where we will have lunch at the sensational Aponiente Restaurante, where Chef Angel León is doing some of the most creative, innovative seafood based dishes anywhere.   
 
We will return to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, a 20-minute ride, then have a free, relaxing afternoon in this wonderful town, then gather in the evening for optional tapas, a nightcap and a relatively early (for Spain) end to the evening.
 

Day 08 Thurs, May 14 Sanlúcar de Barrameda – Pueblos Blancos – Ronda (B, T, D)
 

We will leave Sanlúcar in the morning and drive east through the spectacular Pueblos Blancos, the white hilltop villages of Cádiz and Málaga provinces, some of which are cheese villages, visit a great mountain cheese producer, then have lunch on local specialties on the terrace of a tapas bar in a mountain town, then ride on through cork forests for 45 minutes to the spectacular city of Ronda, which is set astride a 300-foot gorge that splits the town in two.   

 Zahara de la Sierra, one of several  spectacular Pueblos Blancos, the white hilltop villages of Cádiz and Málaga provinces.

In the afternoon, we will check into our classic hotel, which has gardens with spectacular views of the mountains and a statute of the poet Rilke
, who lived and worked here for a year, and reproduction of the room where he stayed. After we check in, we will tour Ronda, see the old quarter, the gorge, the historic bullring and the Bandoleros (mountain bandits) Museum, then have an early dinner in one of the most colorful restaurants in Ronda.  
 
 
Bridge spanning the 350-foot deep gorge that splits the town of Ronda in two.

Day 09 Fri, May 15 Ronda – Córdoba (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we will take our bus to Córdoba, once one of the great capitals of the Moorish world, rivaling Damascus.   We will tour the Mezquita (one of the great Mosques in the world, which is so huge that it has a full-sized Christian cathedral built into the middle of it),  and the Roman bridge crossing the Guadalquivir River.  


 La Mezquita, the Mosque at Córdoba, whose illustrious past as one of the great capitals of the Moorish world (rivaling Damascus).   We will tour the Mezquita (once one of the great Mosques in the world

Just a couple of blocks outside the old walls of the city, we will have lunch at a very special Cordoban taberna, where we will have fried eggplant strips along with two kinds of salmorejo (a thick gazpacho that is at its best here).  We will also sample the excellent jamón Ibérico from the up-and-coming Pedroches ham region north of Córdoba and other Cordoban specialties.


 Lunch at a very special Cordoban taberna, where we will have fried eggplant strips along with two kinds of salmorejo (a thick gazpacho that is at its best here).

The afternoon will be free to wander the labyrinthine streets of the old Jewish and Moorish quarters, one of Spain's finest old quarters, have some free time for shopping.  


In the evening, we will gather in the lobby of or hotel, then take a short walk to another colorful local restaurant for some churrasco (grilled pork loin) or steaks and some good red vinos.  

Day 10 Sat, May 16 Córdoba – La Mancha – Toledo - Chinchón (B, L, D)


 The windmills and castle at Consuegra in La Mancha.

In the morning, we will head for La Mancha, land of Don Quixote, stopping briefly in a couple of Quixote villages (one with the famous windmills) along the way, then arrive for a very special lunch at a spectacular site overlooking Toledo owned by a famous chef Gerry Dawes calls the “Emperor of Toledo.” Our lunch will be accompanied by wines from the exceptional vineyard on the property.


Gerry Dawes with his long-time friend, Chef Adolfo Muñoz, whom he calls the "Emperor of Toledo." 


 Views of Toledo from the olive groves of Chef Adolfo Muñoz's estate on the outskirts of the city.

 Santa Maria la Blanca, the stunning former synagogue in Toledo.

After lunch, we will visit the historic city of Toledo for a couple of hours, see El Greco’s home and the great former Jewish synagogues, then ride about 45 minutes east to the enchanting town of Chinchón, where we will check into a charming hotel just a block from Chinchón's legendary Plaza Mayor, one of Spain's best restored and loveliest plazas, which is like a page out of the 16th Century.  Our group will have the rest of the afternoon free to explore this magical village and shop for unique local items. 



 
Entrance to La Balconada Restaurant, which overlooks the charming Plaza Mayor of Chinchón and serves great traditional Castilian food.

We will have our farewell dinner at La Balconada overlooking the charming Plaza Mayor. At this romantic restaurant, Chef Manuela and her husband Isidro, offer superb classic Castillian dishes, including more pig (brick oven-roasted) of course, but with the option of having roast lamb, wood-grilled steaks, bean dishes, fried potatoes with "broken eggs," artichokes cooked with jamón Ibérico bits, bean dishes and other specialties, accompanied by simple D.O. Madrid (province) rosado and red wines. We can linger over snifters of the town's famous Anis Chinchón licor (dry or sweet), watch the peregrinations of the people down in the plaza and reminisce about the high points and comedic episodes of our trip around Spain.  



Like a page from of the 16th Century, Chinchón's legendary Plaza Mayor is one of Spain's best restored and loveliest plazas.


Day 11, Sun, May 17 Chinchón – Barajas Airport – USA (B)


We will leave Chinchón in the morning for a 45-minute ride to Madrid airport to arrive in time for our travelers to catch their flights back to the 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 writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. In addition to being awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía(National Gastronomy Award), 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, Basque Country, Spain) 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.
 

1/25/2020

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.
 
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