Dear Readers,

Letters to the Editor welcomes your comments, questions, criticisms and suggestions. Looking for a specific recipe or trying to find a product? Please don't send those requests as a Letter to the Editor—we have been receiving too many individual requests to reply to all of them here. Try our Message Boards or our Search page first.

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- The Editors


Venetian Vacation

Dear Foodwine.com,

My wife and I want to go to Europe to celebrate our 10th anniversary, in November. Our priorities are:

Great food and wine
Ease of transportation (we don't want a car)

Where would you go?

Thank you.

Richard Schreiber

Pasta Dear Richard,

Having lived in Italy, I would have to recommend Venice—there's no city on the world like it. The lights on the canals at night are like magic—in fact, I call it the happiest place on earth. the Magic Kingdom. It has endless wonderful restaurants, from affordable trattorias to expensive and elegant, and of course there's the famous Harry's Bar. It's a city of history, romance and the people are warm and friendly.

Venice is all canals so you don't need a car—boat "busses" and water taxis are the way to travel, and it's a walking town. Summer can be warm but winter, fall and spring are delightful. Sit at a cafe table on Saint Mark's Square and watch the people and pidgeons, tour the frescoes and cathedrals, visit the Murano glass factories...

If you have time, talk a train down to Florence for more good eating. The trains don't always run on time, but if you are flexible and have a good attitude, it's worth it. Seeing the countryside is magnificent.

I also recommend taking short trips through northern Italy (trains go everywhere), into Marostica where they hold a human chess game in spring, and Asolo, a tiny town full of charm, home of great writers and artists, and for great eats and a place to stay, the Villa Cipriani. Any good guidebook should offer more suggestions. There's also teh ski resorts at the base of the Alps.

Ciao and Happy Anniversary!



As To Asiago...

Dear Foodwine.com,

In your recipe "Artichokes and Sweet Sausage" it lists Asiago as an ingredient. Can you tell me what that is? Thanks!

David Barnes

Dear David,

Asiago is a hard Italian cheese that can be grated—though before aging, it is semi-soft. Asiago usually has a pleasing, nutty flavor.

- Foodwine.com


Speaking of Books

Dear Foodwine.com,

I can hardly contain my excitement to find GG!! In my feeble web surfing I ran across your site by way to two links from Virtualvineyards.com. My only regret is that I didn't find you a year ago! A "chef" by school of hard knocks, the information supplied is invaluable. Ordered James Petersons' books: "Vegetables" and "Fish and Shellfish" immediately!! (you really should have a sales link to either barnes&noble or amazon.com).

Speaking of dietary/cookbooks, I am currently reading a totally fascinating book that relates to specific blood types, and their corresponding dietary profiles. If you haven't already (my first months subscription) examined this book, it warrants an "open eyed" examination. It explains many aspects of food consumption that relate to every day maladies such as allergies, immune system response to common illness, and just a plain sense of wellness of being. And in an overall sense, those issues are small potatoes.

The first day I got the book, I comprised a meal based solely on what was deemed beneficial for my type ("B") and the resulting effect was not only measureable, but was so delicious, I had to stop myself from consuming what had been designed as a dinner for two nights meals. Comprised of: Braised Rack of lamb with garlic, olive oil & rosemary. Oven roasted over sweet potato, carrot, onion, celery and parsley, with a white vine demi glace. Served over a base of braised red cabbage and fennel. I know I am coming off like I am recieving residuals off this book, and I wish that were the case!! Traditional dieticians will line up to take pot shots at the premise, but I suggest you examine the reader reviews at amazon.com. Over fifty five reader respondents at time of my review only four negatives (all edu./types). From the professional end of this concept, I plan on working up a menu based on this premise. Am already aware of another food vendor in Eugene Oregon, already doing the same.

Thanks again, for being out there, will wait eagerly for the next issue.

With Regards,

Mark A. Kifer
Tulsa OK


Feeling Blue

Dear Foodwine.com,

Congratulations on taking your Internet venture to the next level of sophistication and exposure to cyberspace. Very handsome it is with interesting and informative content. I wish you continued success, however.....

I have written you in the past about doing more wine stories when you were foodwine.com. Now that you have renamed your site my comment is largely academic. I write now to ask that you maintain a proper separation between editorial and advertising. Just as Bon Appetit would never allow one of its columnists to have a vested interest in a sponsor/advertiser, I would hope your e-zine would also keep the two areas separate. I am specifically referring to Andy Blue's monthly column. I consider Andy a friend and I admire his capacity to leverage his journalistic standing into commercial ventures. Since Mr. Blue is tied-in directly to America's Wine Clubs it calls into question the impartiality of his wine reviews. Another site, WineAccess, has the good sense, for example, to rely on a disinterested wine writer, Stephen Tanzer, to offer critiques on the wines offered through their site. Journalistic ethics at least requires that you disclose the connection. Ideally you should feature a columnist like Jerry Mead who has no involvement in the financial outcome of the wines he reviews. Or you should graphically show a closer link between the monthly Wine Reviews and GourmetMarket (unless you are now simply a veiled vehicle for Gourmet Market which I doubt). Like the chocolate club, you might label this feature the wine club, giving both clubs a different design/typography. Indeed you should go all the way and make both column listings banners. The reader gets Fred McMillin's completely unbiased evaluations, based on the rankings compiled from his wine class members, and then goes to Andy's commentary and thinks he or she is getting the same arm's length assessment. I know Andy would never compromise his integrity and recommend something that he doesn't think highly of. I talking here more about appearance.

A small thing in the great scheme of things, but you are a microcosm of what's happening on the Net—the blurring of the traditional lines that TV (infomercials) and serious print publications follow pretty religiously.

Happy paddling,

Tom Merle

Pears Dear Tom,

We believe both the Chocolate Club and Tasting Notes provide impartial information regarding the products reviewed. Both writers recommend their favorite products to GourmetMarket.com, and GourmetMarket.com THEN makes the products available through their clubs, which in turn helps pay for the columns that appear in our pages.

Journalistic ethics exist along a spectrum. Sometimes we also review products elsewhere on our site and give the reader information on how to purchase that product (even though we don't profit by it).

Few independent editorial web sites like ours make money, and most of the large ones are adjuncts to print publications or TV productions that underwrite those websites (with ad sales generated in the parent media). Many other food and cooking websites are direct advertisements for a food company or ad agency representing food manufacturers, though they are presented as if they are simply recipe sites.

Unlike some of our competitors, we rarely include specific product names in recipes (which are paid for on other sites) except when they are required by the recipe (i.e., no similar product would be satisfactory) or already exist in copyrighted recipes that are provided by cookbook publishers or authors. We also clearly indicate in the two columns in question that the products endorsed by Anthony Dias Blue and Alice Medrich are for sale through GourmetMarket.com. We think most intelligent readers can see the relationship without us flashing "ADVERTISEMENT" repeatedly at the top of the screen. Both Anthony Dias Blue and Alice Medrich are respected experts in their fields and their endorsement of various products (rather than a single brand) that one of our sponsors offers for sale should not cheapen their useful advice. We also present other columns on both wine and chocolate, so we certainly give our readers a broader offering than many other general food sites.

- Foodwine.com


Problem Solving


I was showing off my internet expertise ~~ or lack of, in this case ~~ to my MIL last week in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we encountered Marcel Desaulniers' recipe from his newest book, Salad Days. I tried to access that "page" from your archives under July/August special issue, and was not able to connect.

Can you help?

Sue Chapman

Dear Sue

There was a problem with the link in the archive. It's fixed now (thanks to you!) but you can get there faster by using this URL:

Illustrations appearing in the text are Copyright © 1994-1998 Alma Shon.


This page created 1998

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