Here it is food fans — the ultimate food and wine tour of Spain — being offered in advance to my readers, fans, friends and foodies who would like to experience the best of Spain with its greatest guide (not me, Gerry Dawes). Take a gander below and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or call 702-528-7454) if you’d like more information or to discuss things further.
I’m thinking it would make the ultimate stocking stuffer for the Barcelona/San Sebastian lover in your life.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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
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. He is the author of EATING LAS VEGAS – The 52 Essential Restaurants, which will have its 8th edition published in December, 2019, as well as being the author of the Eating Las Vegas website (www.eatinglv.com).
Mr. Curtas 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).
(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.
Day 02 Friday, May 22 Bilbao – San Sebastián (B, L, D)
Day 03 Saturday, May 23 San Sebastián – Getaria – 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.
We will have lunch in a spectacular restaurant in Getaria 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 visit the Balenciaga Museum, then see some wonderful Basque countryside on our way back to San Sebastián, where the rest of the afternoon will be free to stroll, explore and relax.
Gintonics maestro Juanjo, Bar Dickens, San Sebastián.
Day 04 Sunday, May 24 San Sebastián – Navarra – Barcelona (B, L, T)
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.
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 an English-speaking author who has written extensively on Barcelona and is a con-summate expert on the city.
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.
Day 06 Tuesday, May 26 Barcelona (B, L, D)
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.
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.
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 boutique hotel near the port and Alicante’s palm tree-lined Explanada.
Day 09 Friday, May 29 Alicante – Chinchón – Madrid (B, L, T)
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.
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.
Day 11 Sunday, May 31 Madrid (B)
Flights to USA.