Driving To Deliver Your Business

Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine …

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Because of minor road mishap on the road from Madrid via Zaragoza to Girona province19 liters of gasoline pumped into Esmeralda Capel’s Mercedes station-wagon, a diesel fuel car, which cost us a two-hour delay to get the car pumped out and re-filled–Kay, Esmeralda, her husband Juan Su rez and I arrived in Port Lligat too late to catch the evening light. Port Lligat is just a couple of kilometers north of the picturesque fishing village-artists’ and expatriates’ hangout of Cadaqu s and was the home of Salvador Dal , who, over several decades pieced together a string of fisherman’s cottages to build one of the most evocative, charming, idyllic and inspiring homes on the planet.

Dal ‘s Port Lligat, where he spent some of the happiest and most productive years of his life, is still relatively unspoiled. I had stayed the Hotel Port Lligat back in the 1970s when it was a very basic hotel with minimal comfort and again in 1998s before my second trip to El Bulli when I found the place to be upgraded only slightly over my first visit, but the setting, right next door to Dal ‘s compound and looking out over the fisherman’s cove was and still is unbeatable. I had warned Esmeralda and Juan about the creature comforts (or lack of), but had raved about the location. They agreed we should try the Port Lligat, so I booked two “especial” double rooms, special because the rooms look out over Dal ‘s cove, for ‘ 100 (about $135.00) per room.

We arrived around 8 p.m. because of our road delay with a brisk cold wind blowing–I feared we might catch the fierce tramuntana wind that is so notorious in the Empord -Costa Brava. The legendary tramuntana is blamed for the fact that residents of the area are known for their strange quirks, since the wind is said to drive people mad during what sometimes amounts to an incessant week-long blow, which blows so strong that it has been known to topple a freight train. It takes no stretch of the imagination, seeing some of Salvador Dal ‘s paintings with odd landscapes swept totally clean and pristine by the tramuntana, to believe that the great artist owed some of his peculiar genius to the winds of the Empord -Costa Brava.

That’s why it drives me a little tramuntana crazy myself when I read claims that Ferran Adri , the dimension-bursting genius chef of elBulli, which is located just a few kilometers southeast of Salvador Dal ‘s Cadaqu s and Port Lligat by boat, is the Picasso of Spanish cuisine.

See the slideshow below for visuals of this memorable luncheon at elBulli. I lament to say that my dear, great friend Juli Soler, the driving front-of-the-house force behind elBulli, died last year. Every January, for the past few years, I would see him for lunch in Barcelona. There will be a huge void at the end of this month, January 2016, when I go to Barcelona and will encounter only the indelible trail of memories he left in the wake of his passing through this life.

(Double click to see large view of slideshow.)
For more information on the photographs, contact [email protected]
____________________________________________________________ About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes was awarded Spain’s prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronom a (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 prize in 2009 and received the Association of Food Journalists 2009 Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his retrospective piece in Food Arts magazine about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adri .

Trailer for a proposed reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.

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