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May 27, 2010

Food & Wine Magazine: a Full-Bodied Read Short on Pretension

foodwine_may.jpgA growing number of consumers are at least interested in drinking wine, as its consumption has gradually risen in the U.S. since the early ’90s, according to the Wine Institute, a lobbying group for California vintners.

For the savvier, more inquisitive shopper looking to uncork both value and quality, Food & Wine magazine is a satisfying, authoritative resource for news and trends, travel, suggestions and pairings, and entertaining–all related to wine. Of course, wine enthusiasts will obviously find Food & Wine a more savory sip than readers who have no interest in the fermented beverage. They will find recipes that don’t require wine, though the unmistakable focus–and appeal–is the marriage of food and wine.

Memorable tastes from the April 2010 issue include a how-to for hosting a zodiac party accompanied by an interesting guide on tasting style, favorite foods and favorite wines by sign. Other features included ”20 Wine Pairings to Try Before You Die,” as well as helpful recommendations on glassware, necessities for hosting a wine tasting, and wine-infused sweets, such as red wine caramel.

Dismissed by some online reviewers as “pretentious,” Food and Wine magazine came across to me as especially refreshing because of one article in particular.

In the April issue’s “Journal” section, writer Rebecca Barry shares with engaging honesty her resistance to “winespeak.” The article, titled “How I Learned to Love Winespeak,” shares a message that sums up both Food & Wine magazine’s approach to wine as an intricate subject, as well as its attitude toward readers whose curiosity extends beyond merely having a drink.

Drinking wine is easy, and California wine sales, which tumbled 3 percent in 2009 because consumers purchased lower-priced bottles–often in U.S. food stores as a result of the recession, according to the Wine Institute–proves it.

But appreciating wine for its taste and texture is a process that was once intimidating to even the most learned critics. Packed with tips, quizzes, lists, guides and recommended wines for any budget, Food & Wine magazine makes acquiring knowledge bit by bit accessible and easy.

Though its content largely focuses on wine and its relationship to food, readers will find recipes accompanying most of the articles. Of particular interest is the selection of “fast” recipes. While the dishes do require 60 minutes, that includes info on how to juggle preparation of a meat dish and two vegetable sides.

Praised by some for the variety of its timely content and dismissed by others for the upscale lifestyle it portrays, Food & Wine magazine will not suit everyone’s taste. But those who uncork it shouldn’t be intimidated.



About the Author

Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.