Favorite Newsletters

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!

 

The Amateur Gourmet

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.

 

The Vanilla Queen

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.

 

52 Martinis

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.

 

Smitten Kitchen

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.

 

Will Write for Food

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.

 

When I Have Time

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.)

 

La Cuisine

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.

 

Dandelion Chocolate

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.

 

Paris Update

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.

 

This Paris Life

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

 

Secrets of Paris

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.

 

Taste

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.

 

Punch

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.)

 

Rancho Gordo

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.

 

Rue La La and Vente-Privée

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!)

Some great newsletters to check out and subscribe to!

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17 comments

  • A
    October 19, 2018 12:08am

    RSS is the best. I still use it every day, and I’ll never understand why it fell out of favor (other than Google Reader ending, but that happened because RSS was already in decline). inoreader.com is my feed reader now. Reply

    • October 19, 2018 12:37am
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t know why it didn’t last either. I like to keep up with my favorite blogs but it’s hard without reminders. Social media is good for that, although since most of them “curate” the content, I don’t get to see everything that I want to see, unfortunately. So I use newsletters (and subscribe to RSS feeds to get blog posts via email) when they’re updated. Reply

    • Bricktop
      October 19, 2018 11:57pm

      I use Feedly – it works very well for me.

      And now I am a resident of Paris, I will be sure to check out those on this list which I didn’t know about. Thanks, DL! Reply

  • Nikki
    October 19, 2018 12:57am

    I just read the story on Taste about Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, just before seeing your newsletter. Mayukh Sen is one of my favorite writers (he’s got some really great pieces at Food 52 and Munchies, too).

    I used to read Tasting Table, but that one was one of many that were whittled in the effort to keep my inbox from becoming too much for me to handle. But Taste is wonderful – it gives a little of everything. Gastro Obscura has become a favorite, too.

    I change newsletters and emails now and then to give me something fresh and different, but your newsletter, Amateur Gourmet, Matt Bites, Restaurant-ing Through History, and a few others have been constants. There are a few others I miss getting – FX Cuisine, who is now exclusively on Instagram (and no longer updating his blog), is one I can think of off the top of my head.

    I do miss RSS, too. :/ Reply

  • Violette kogut
    October 19, 2018 2:45am

    I am looking for the recipe of ( what we used to call when I was a child) tête de negre.
    Every time I am back home in France I love to eat the pastry. Actually it is a meringue, then I cut it in half, fill it crème au chocolat, roll it into des petits morceaux de chocolat, et voilà…

    Peut-être I could use some Nutella, but that would be cheating. I have all your books, they make me smile, especially when you write about places I know…I am a Parisienne of the 14th arrondissement. I just got back from France. I miss my magret de canard, and French patisserie, but we do have Paul in Georgetown. I just made hareng avec pommes de terre à l’huile.
    Délicieux. Reply

  • Ishanthi Gunawardana
    October 19, 2018 5:25am

    Thanks for these suggestions and for reminding me of RSS, which I might start using again. I subscribe to so few websites these days as many previously good ones end up becoming (solely) marketing vehicles and therefore spam. It’s also hard to find sites with good writing AND good photography, both of which I love. But, to answer your question, other than your newsletter, I also like Lady and Pups :) Reply

  • October 19, 2018 8:23am

    Wow, how come I missed this??! I am still RSS-reading (I am using Feedly since Google Reader discontinued). Thanks a million for the recommendations, will definitely subscribe. Also – you do not have a newsletter yourself, right? Reply

    • October 19, 2018 8:24am

      Hands in front of face (think monkey emoji) – yes you have a newsletter and are referring to it. Subscribing right away :) Reply

  • Vickie
    October 19, 2018 4:53pm

    I gather Vente-Privee isn’t available in English? Reply

    • October 19, 2018 5:39pm
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t think there’s an English-language version of the site, since it’s in France. They had a U.S. Vente-Privée but they shut it down. (Perhaps people weren’t so keen in the U.S. on waiting 4-6 weeks for an order to arrive) I think Vente-Privée exists in the UK, but they likely have different things than the French version. Reply

  • A P
    October 20, 2018 5:27pm

    Ooh, thank you for these suggestions. Vanilla Queen is definitely getting a subscribe from me. I don’t do a lot of newsletters, but I do Taste (though they send too many emails) and I like Messy Nessy. She covers deserted places, out of the way discoveries, lesser known histories. Based in Paris, but like you reports on her travels. MessyNessyChic.com Reply

  • Jill
    October 20, 2018 10:02pm

    I still use Feedly – it’s how I get your blog – but I don’t love it as much as the old ones. Part of me is considering Evernote, but oy the idea of porting everything over with all my tags and folders and all…… Reply

  • Nancy Castle
    October 22, 2018 12:32pm

    Thank you for being a source of all things Parisian with a sense of humor. You may just get me through the adjustment of living here without losing my mind. Reply

  • October 23, 2018 1:19pm

    Terrific recommendations, thank you! You may also want to check out “Love and Lemons,” as well as “101 Cookbooks.” In addition to “Smitten Kitchen,” they have fabulous vegetarian options. A new favorite is Chungah Rhee’s “Damn Delicious.” Her joy in food just shines, and her Corgi (“Butters”) is irresistible. ;-) For a fish fix, I also like “30A Eats” with chef recipes from the Gulf coast. And, of course, your newsletter tops the list, bringing a welcome smile every time! Reply

  • October 23, 2018 7:51pm

    Dear David, for a number of years I have meant to write and thank you for your recommendations on where to eat and shop in Paris. For the past 6 years, I have shown my paintings at the SNBA every December with a group of Canadians. 2017 was the last one that we will attend. We managed to find some of the restaurants and shops through your blogs. We dragged friends down dark alleys and other places. They still rave about one place in particular whose name escapes me. Last year we came across a Lebanese ice cream vendor and swooned under the cold moon. Your blogs have enriched every trip to Paris.

    Last December there was an electrical fire in the basement of the Louvre and the fire dept. shut down the show after one day. Bad luck for us medal winners.No Flamingo dancers, nor speeches, but a private and intimate presentation. One we will never forget. But, we ate well and our experiences were enriched by the delights of Paris through your blogs. We also have purchased many of your books. My husband’s memories of our travels usually begins with the food. Keep up the good work! Merci Beaucoup! Reply

    • October 23, 2018 8:07pm
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks and glad the suggestions helped. Sorry to hear about the fire, but glad you made good use of your time anyways : ) Reply

  • anna*
    November 1, 2018 2:32pm

    I still use an aggregator. Am I old? (Feedly, used to use Google) Reply

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