Hoo-boy, a lot has changed in blogging since I started. Back then, people relied on RSS feeds to read blogs. Something changed, and now it’s social media and direct email notification that readers use to connect.
I used to think newsletters were adding yet another – sigh – email to my Inbox. But now I find myself looking forward to my favorite newsletters showing up in my Inbox, and I feel like I’m getting a personal message from someone I like, with news, tips, links, recipes, and more. That’s due to the engaging way people write their newsletters; since they’re not going out for the world to see, people tend to share other aspects of their lives that are a little more personalized.
Sally from My Custard Pie did a write-up of her favorite newsletters called 10 Email Newsletters that Make Me Eager to Check My Inbox, which included my newsletter (thanks, Sally!) so I thought I’d share some of my favorites, too.
It’s a pretty mixed bag, from experts of chocolate and vanilla, to tips on productivity, recipes, and links to flash shopping sites, where I’ve scored some great cookware at bargain prices. I’ve linked to their subscription forms and most have a double opt-in system, to prevent spammers, so usually you’ll receive an email after you fill out the form, which you’ll need to use to confirm your subscription. Happy reading!
You loved him, you read him, and you missed him when he was gone. Well, he’s back, although not with his well-loved blog, with was one of the very first food blogs, but with The Amateur Gourmet newsletter that rounds up in his personal style, what he cooked and where he ate. His weekly missives are like a message from a good friend, letting you know what he cooked and where he ate. Like the much-beloved blog post of yore, don’t expect staged food photos or fancy overlays; it’s the descriptions that amuse and delight. The low-tech look and feel are what makes it so appealing.
For years, I got all my vanilla from Patricia Rain, whose vanilla extract is some of the best I’ve ever used. Luckily I stocked up before the prices went sky-high over the last few years. Patricia is one of the most knowledgeable people about vanilla in the world, focusing on vanilla that’s sustainably grown, and helps workers get a better wage. “The Vanilla Queen” sends out a monthly newsletter with stories about how the world’s most enticing seasoning is grown and distributed. (A recent newsletter noted that shady growers were putting inferior vanilla beans in the middle of bundles, and surrounding them with top-quality beans.) Follow her newsletter, which includes recipes accented with vanilla, and you’ll have a much better appreciation of this wonderful ingredient, and you’ll never look at those beans or bottles of extract the same way again. Vanilla Queen newsletter.
No one covers the cocktail scene in Paris like Forest Collins. Actually, no one else covers the cocktail scene in Paris, period. (Unless there’s someone out there doing it, that I don’t know about.) Where can find bars and shops that focus on local ingredients, who makes the best Martini in town, and where you can take a cocktail class, as well as a handy map of all the bars in Paris, are all featured on her comprehensive site. The newsletter is a weekly chronicle of what’s happening in Paris, in terms of cocktail events, wine expos, and other drink-related news around town. À santé! via the 52 Martinis newsletter.
Every Monday, you’ll get a round-up of recipes from Deb Perelman, the industrious cook, and baker, whose newsletter is as entertaining as her blog. Each newsletter focuses on a theme, and goes from there. If you like the engaging writing on her blog, you’ll love the Smitten Kitchen newsletter.
Dianne Jacob tackles issues in the world of food writing on her blog, but in her newsletter, she talks about personal pleasures, and pressures, of writing and editing. There’s always a great list of links for writers, aspiring or otherwise, in the Will Write for Food newsletter.
I met Sara Rosso years ago through her blog, Ms. Adventures in Italy. She’s moved back to the States but still working in technology. Like Adam, of The Amateur Gourmet, her blog has gone on hiatus. But she has a keen interest in personal improvement and When I Have Time has articles about what she learned starting World Nutella Day (which grew too popular…), to one I read on decision fatigue, that made me decide to remove a few things from the life. Sara’s newsletter comes out infrequently, so you won’t get barraged with emails. But when one does arrive, you’ll find yourself devouring it. (I save it so I can read all the links, when I have time.)
This Paris-based cooking school sends out one of the best Paris-based newsletters, one that I look forward to the most. There’s a monthly round-up of what’s going on in Paris, including events to look forward to, tips on neighborhood bakeries and chocolate shops, and other news, that often focuses on the Marais, where their school is located. Each month there’s (usually) a featured cheese and sometimes an interview with a local. There’s often a recipe for a French pastry or another specialty from their school, in the La Cuisine newsletter.
This start-up bean-to-bar chocolate company quickly gained a very loyal following shortly after they opened, prompting them to move to a larger facility, to keep up with demand for their chocolate. The Dandelion Chocolate newsletter takes a deeper dive into chocolate, with news about chocolate classes, information on chocolate varieties they discover, seasonal promotions, recipes, and articles about their trips to parts of the world where cacao beans are grown and sourced.
This weekly newsletter has updates on what’s going on in Paris, from art exhibitions to humorous essays on life in Paris. There’s always a restaurant review of a far-flung place, that comes from a local’s perspective in the Paris Update newsletter.
Have you always dreamed of buying an apartment in Paris? Like any city, prices go up, and down. You can follow the trends at the Paris Property Group newsletter, with stories about an apartment renovation that went right, to tips for making a smooth transition to life in France. There are also articles on art expos and other events coming up in Paris as well as which arrondissement may be the right one for you. You may not be able to afford that pied-à-terre in the Place des Vosges, but you can dream
I met Heather Stimmler-Hall through her newsletter, which she started around the same time I launched my blog, in 1999. She was living in Nice and somehow we connected, either I wrote to her, or she wrote to me. Either way, we hit it off as friends. Her newsletter was an amazing resource of hidden tips and things to do in Paris and she has her pulse on what’s going on. Need info on what’s going on at Christmas? Insider info on how to get from the airport to your hotel in Paris? What’s involved in applying for French citizenship? Best cleaning products to clear that calcium from the pipe in your Paris pad?
Although she doesn’t send out newsletters as regularly as she used to (Heather was a tour guide but not works for a wildlife conservation organization), but when a Secrets of Paris newsletter does come out, it’s well worth reading, and saving.
As more quality content goes behind a paywall, Taste remains free and I always end up linking to one of their stories in my own newsletter. Don’t know who Felipe Rojas-Lombardi was? (Hint: He brought tapas to America.) Why do we let cookie dough rest overnight, before baking? And a recent article offered up, How Asian Supermarkets Became an American Tradition. When you sign up for the Taste newsletter, there’s an option to get notifications of flash sales on e-cookbooks, many of which are recent releases, that cost from $1.99 and up.
The sister site to Taste, the Punch newsletter has links to cocktail recipes, stories wondering if drinks made with vintage spirits are worth the hefty price tag, how Costco can sell single-malt Scotch for $38 (and experts weigh in on if it’s any good), strategies for bringing back rare bottles of amaro from Italy, and even if duty-free liquor is really such a great deal. (Something that would have saved me a few bucks after buying three bottles of Scotch at the duty-free shop in the Edinburgh airport, when I saw the same bottles in the liquor aisle at my local supermarket in Paris, for 10 euros less per bottle.)
You know Steve Sando for his excellent dried beans, but his newsletter is a cornucopia (or however you say that in Spanish) of recipes inspired by Mexico, his beans, and other products. Steve is pretty vocal on social media and his opinionated – but never preachy – Rancho Gordo newsletter is always welcome in my Inbox.
Not necessarily newsletters, per se, these are flash shopping sites that offer really good deals on cookware, small appliances, housewares, and even food and wines. On Rue La La, brands like Breville, KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and Le Creuset, as well as clothes, watches, accessories, linens, vintage Hermès and Vuitton, and more, show up often. Note: Check online prices elsewhere on small appliances and cookware as sometimes you can find similar or better deals elsewhere. Also, some cookware and bakeware are better purchased at your local cookware shop, so you can see and heft it, so you know if it feels right. I also was glad that I tried on a Spanx undershirt before buying it, which I first saw on Rue La La on the spectacular looking model, because I went to a department store in New York afterward, put one of their shirts on in the changing room, and had to do a walk of shame over to the salesclerk to help peel it off me. Glad someone was there when I tried it on (!) If I’d done it at home, Romain never would have let me hear the last of that one…
Rue La La is based in the U.S. but will ship overseas. Good deals go fast, often minutes (or seconds) after the daily newsletter comes out.
Vente-Privée is in France and they have terrific deals on cookware, including brands like Le Creuset, Zwilling Henkels (who I discovered makes the most amazing nail clippers as well – I got mine for half price, then I bought a second pair when I saw them go on sale again, in case anything happens to the first pair), and Staub, as well as Valrhona chocolate in bars and in bulk, and even wine and spirits. (Someone told me that Vente Privée is the #1 wine seller in France.) The only downside is shipping, which can take over a month. Like Rue La La, good deals sell out fast, so it pays to sign up for their daily digest, and pounce on anything you want, asap, when it arrives in your Inbox.
Enjoy the newsletters! If you’d like to subscribe to mine, you can use the link for the David Lebovitz.com newsletter here. Sign up here to get my blog posts emailed to you, if you’d like to get those as well.
Any great newsletters you like? Feel free to leave them in the comments, so we can check them out.
Disclosures: The links for Rue La La and Vente-Privée are affiliate links and I get a small credit when and if a first purchase is made. I have been a subscriber to both those sites for many years, and purchase things on them myself. I am also a minor shareholder in Dandelion chocolate. (I’m also a customer, too!)