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Fresh Escapes Magazine

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1 Review

Culinary Magazine

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      20.04.2009 17:19
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      A great read for foodie travellers.

      I love cooking and I love reading food-related magazines for new ideas and inspiration. I was lucky enough to get a subscription to BBC Good Food magazine for Christmas, but I also get to read Fresh Escapes Magazine as my future sister-in-law buys it and passes it onto me.

      This magazine covers food, drink and travel, so I am interested in reading most of the magazine as I love food and travelling, but being Chinese alcohol doesn't tend to agree with me, so I'm not really interested in the drink section.

      This magazine costs £3.80 per issue, which I think is pretty expensive but that seems to be where prices are heading nowadays (for comparison BBC Good Food is £3.20 an issue).

      So what do you get for your hard-earned cash? Well the contents is split into the following sections:

      * fresh escapes travel
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      This section begins with the latest travel news, but the page is basically advertising for different travel-related products, such as Time Out Guides and a Weekend Leather Holdall which is ridiculously expensive at £470!

      Following this are 3 different holiday destination ideas, from Budget Break (Bulgaria), Family Fun (Aviemore, Scotland) and Dream Ticket (Maldives). Each destination has a double-page spread of an amazing photograph with just a brief paragraph of what there is to see and do there. Even though there's not much information given, the photographs are more than enough to make you want to visit.

      Then there are articles that are usually related to the seasons, so for instance in the April issue there are '20 Best: Things To Do This Easter' and suggestions range from visiting the quaint Beatrix Potter Attraction in Cumbria, to learning something new at the Padstow Seafood School in Cornwall. Each suggestion is made to sound interesting, accompanied with a colour photograph and relevant information like a website or telephone number is given.

      The more in-depth travel articles are fairly interesting and cover places from the UK (Wiltshire) to further afield (Austria and Sicily). The articles are well written and they make you want to visit these places. The travelling information is comprehensive as you're given advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to eat. If you're like me and think that one of the best things about going abroad is trying different foods, then you will like the recipes that they have included from the region they are talking about. I particularly liked the article on Thailand, as the author attended a cookery school there and it was great to read about her experiences of learning to cook the native food.

      I do like that they have made food and travel go hand-in-hand, however the types of places mentioned in this magazine are definitely for the more discerning traveller who isn't short of a bob or two!


      * fresh escapes food
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      The second half of the magazine is dedicated to food and it's quite similar in content to other food magazines. It covers foods that are currently in season and has recipes that are relevant to the time of year, so for the Easter issue there are Hot Cross Buns and Easter Cakes. Even though I can easily buy some Hot Cross Buns from the supermarket, I'm going to have a go at making my own, but I have to be honest and say that I'll be using the recipe from BBC Good Food instead of the Fresh Escapes one! I just have more faith in BBC Good Food as their recipes seem to be more comprehensive.

      For instance I made a Lemon Drizzle Cake using a recipe from Fresh Escapes and the recipe didn't state how much icing sugar to use for the icing. It wasn't a major problem as I could follow the instructions on the icing sugar packet, but it's little things like this that distinguish a good recipe from a great one. Having said that, the recipes are generally easy to follow and include useful information like how many servings, preparation and cooking time, and also nutritional information is given.

      There are just under 50 recipes in the magazine (including the ones in the travel section), which I think is a good quantity. There's a good mixture of traditional dishes for those with classic taste buds and exotic things for the more adventurous. The food photography is excellent as the photographs really make you want to try out the recipes.

      There was one article in the food section and it was relevant to the economic climate, as it was about how to be thrifty with food and this was quite interesting to read.

      Something I really like about this magazine is the handy guides and measurements page, which has metric to imperial conversion tables for weights, volume and measurements and also oven temperature (Celsius, Celsius fan and gas marks). These are so useful that I tear it out and stick it on the fridge and I also keep a copy in my recipe folder.


      * fresh escapes drink
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      This section isn't very long and consists of Drink News, which includes 3 of the best bars to go to worldwide (interesting if you're the type of person that needs to namedrop the coolest hangouts). Then there is an article about Heston Blumenthal's love of sherry (again, fascinating stuff - not!). There are a few recipes in this section, either because the recipe includes alcohol or because they have suggested an appropriate tipple to match the dish.


      * fresh escapes regulars
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      These bits are scattered throughout the magazine and include reader's letters, food events and farmers' markets.


      * fresh escapes promotions
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      These are also dotted throughout and include competitions, what's coming up next month and how to subscribe.

      Of the 130 pages in the magazine there are about 25 full pages of adverts for travel or food related products, which isn't too bad (especially if you compare the ratio of adverts in fashion magazines!).


      Summary:
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      Overall I do enjoy reading this magazine, but it's not one I would regularly buy myself as it's expensive and I prefer my BBC Good Food magazine, which is more dedicated to food from cover to cover.

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