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

"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


Another Incredible Review by London writer Tim Pinks of Sunset in a Glass: Adventures of a Food and Wine Road Warrior in Spain Volume I Enhanced Photography Edition, Foreword by José Andrés.

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Now in the Second Editions with added photos and vignettes.
 I do not know Tim Pinks, who lives in London, is a gifted writer, a lover of things Spanish and has been attending the Fiestas de San Fermín in Pamplona since 1984.  Suffice to say, he was impressed with my book.
Tim Pinks was given the "Guiri of the Year" Award by Señor Testis, the blue bull with the yellow horns, an image made famous world-wide by my friend Mikel Urmeneta* and his crew at Kukuxumusu, the Drawings and Ideas Factory that Urmeneta founded.  (Mikel Urmeneta has since moved on and now runs
Katuki Saguyaki, another innovative drawings and ideas studio.)
Tim Pinks review.
I posted an Amazon review for Gerry Dawes´s Sunset in a Glass: Adventures of a Food and Wine Road Warrior in Spain   (and we don't know each other, folks, this is all from the pleasure of the book) but as it may take a couple of days I thought I'd pop it up here first.
 This review is especially for one Erica Messinger. She suggested I do one for Amazon - and I was going to anyway - but it's always nice to have some kind words and encouragement. So here it is.
I finished the book on Saturday. What a ride all over Spain! Talking of riding, I wonder what a girl on a horse would look like through a glass of Manzanilla?!
A Banquet of a Book - Sunset in a Glass: Adventures of a Food and Wine Road Warrior in Spain Volume I Enhanced Photography Edition, Foreword by José Andrés by Gerry Dawes
‘Sunset…’ Wow. I love this book. What an exquisitely expressed and wonderfully written book. I just had to invent a new word, Gerrymeandering: Travelling up and down and around Iberia enjoying the great wines, food and people of Spain.
I love books, but I wanted to more than ‘open’ this one. I’d seen a couple of extracts so I knew the writing was good, and I also know of his website so knew he wouldn’t allow a bad book to go out on sale like he wouldn’t allow a bad wine onto a table.
So I made up a little ritual. As I took it out of the package I pretended it was the literary equivalent of uncorking a fine wine. I let it breath for a while, savouring the aroma of its covers and breathing in those ‘new book’ flavours of fresh pages and glossy photographs.
Having decanted the book from the packaging as one might a wine from a bottle, I then held it, felt it, let it breathe by running through the pages…and it felt good. The first big test for me of a book is how it feels, (and it has to be good inside too, of course) and this one felt, and looked, beautiful.
Big and bendy and literally beautiful to behold. Perhaps it was fate but the first page I stopped at as I back-to-front flicked through the pages was a photo in the Pamplona chapter. (I’m a huge fan of the fabulous Fiesta of San Fermin.)
Another big test comes from when I am first moved by the writing…be it a laugh, a smile, even a tear…or an image painted from the words… Well, the first laugh came before Gerry even starts writing. It came from a quote by one D.E. Pohren:  "So much for my sentimental liver, dictating little bastard. On with the book."
And so… So much for my dubious little wine analogies, pretentious little bastard…on with the book!
The first time I caught my breath and thought, ‘oh-my-gosh, that’s good’ was on just page three of the first chapter, describing an alternative and romantic version of how the town Sanluca de Barrameda (Dawes ‘Shangri-La’ I reckon) got its name, and also, in a roundabout way, how the book got its title: "Several ships bearing treasure from the New World were wrecked and sunk after running on to the sandbar, so maybe part of the gold leaf laid down on the sea by the setting sun could be reflections of sunken Aztec or Inca gold bullion…"   Isn’t that beautiful?

Then in chapter two he takes us off on a tangent and back into the past, to when he first arrived in southern Spain with the US Navy at the end of the sixties. It was here this young American from the south began to expand his horizons…and his palate! And once again he moved me, informed me…and made me laugh.
I could write a review of every chapter but even for me that would be going on a bit, so I’ll just mention a couple more things to provide the slightest taster. The merest hint of the biggest and best banquet-in-a-book you’ve ever had.
As a regular at Pamplona’s famous Fiesta of San Fermin, talking about the some of the folk he first met on his first visit in !970, I love this:  "…the Pamplona regulars – that international group of spiritual descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s and Gertrude Stein’s Lost Generation who return to San Fermin each July to revel in the light of a sun that for them still rises."  To revel in the light of a sun that for them still rises…isn’t that just perfect?  This is a book to revel in.
In chapter nine, writing about his friends at the wine firm of Lopez de Heredia in La Rioja, pride of place doesn’t just go to the food, or wine…but to those friends, of course. When you read about one of his visits and the people he meets there, you want to meet them too…so a tear comes to the eye and a lump to the throat when you find out that, like many a fine wine…they’ve gone…