Gourmet1009It’s a silly question, really.  While Gourmet may be the grande dame of food publications, it was hardly existing in a vacuum.  All the proof you need can be found over at The Bitten Word, where Zach and Clay work their way through recipes from magazines as august as Saveur and Bon Appetit and as accessible as Everyday Food and Food Network Magazine.

Here at Capital Spice, we subscribe to Cooks Illustrated and Food & Wine (we used to subscribe to Gourmet, and we’re really hoping our lapsed subscription didn’t have anything to do with its demise).  But there’s another type of food magazine out there, and a recent visit to the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market reacquainted us with a pair of magazines that focus on our local foodshed.

On the surface, Flavor Magazine and Edible Chesapeake have a lot in common: They’re both free publications that can be found in foodie-friendly places like farmers’ markets, Whole Foods and smaller, locally-owned food shops.  They both emerged in response to the growing locavore movement in the DC area.  And they both call attention to a variety of local issues and producers that tend to go unnoticed in the national publications.

But each one brings a unique voice to the community, and together they offer a great way to stay current on what’s going on among growers, producers and eaters in the region.

A look at the current issues of Flavor Magazine and Edible Chesapeake (and some more info about each) after the jump.

FlavorMagFlavor MagazineOriginally known as Flavor Piedmont, Flavor is the more ‘organic’ of the two local food mags.  Started just over a year ago by Melissa J. Harris and Jennifer Conrad Seidel, Flavor proudly declares itself “an independent, bimonthly publication created in Virginia and…not affiliated with any nationally franchised publications.”  Flavor is headquartered in Sperryville, Virginia (also home to the Copper Fox Distillery, makers of Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky).  As a result, they approach the Washington area from the southwest, focusing on Virginia’s Piedmont region and its contributions to the local foodshed.

Over the past year, Flavor has continued to add noteworthy foodwriters and personalities from the region to their Advisory Board and their list of contributors.  Marian Burros and Walter Nicholls have been writing about food in the region for decades.  Bernie Prince is a driving force behind the FreshFarm Markets.  And anyone who has read The Omnivore’s Dilemma knows about regular columnist Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farms.  ‘Terroir,’ a section focused on local wineries and brewers, includes tasting notes, pairing recommendations and features that highlight the folks who are helping to put Virginia’s wines on the map.

Flavor publishes six times a year (they started out quarterly but decided to go bi-monthly earlier this year), and the current issue spans October and November.  Subscriptions are available for $32/year if you don’t want to worry about missing an issue.  Their advertisers are almost exclusively local and they include restaurants, shops and events that are likely to appeal to foodies.

Some highlights from the current issue:

  • “Making the Cut” – a feature article on new butcher shops throughout Virginia by Walter Nicholls
  • “A Desert in Our Midst” – Zora Margolis’ piece on the ‘food deserts’ that exist in DC’s Wards 7 and 8 (the area south of the Anacostia River)
  • A write-up on Equinox by Capital Spice favorite Melissa McCart
  • Favorite fall recipes from Virginia restaurants

EdibleChesapeakeEdible Chesapeake – On the scene since 2005, Edible Chesapeake is part of the “Edible Communities” family that includes publications in more than 50 “distinct culinary regions throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.”  Each magazine has unique content and advertising, though some national advertisers (including Whole Foods and Austria.info) appear in multiple editions.

Edible Chesapeake is helmed by Publisher and Editor Renee Brooks Catacalos.  Their area of focus is the Chesapeake Bay Watershed regions of southern Pennsylvania (including Lancaster and Hanover), Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia.  Contributors include experts on nutrition, food, wine and agriculture from around the region, including John Shields, James Roth and Amy Krone.

While Flavor may have the more “local” pedigree, Edible Chesapeake seems to have a greener mindset.  It’s printed on matte paper, as opposed to the semi-gloss stock used for Flavor.  And the masthead proudly announces that the paper used contains 10-30% post-consumer recycled content.

Edible Chesapeake publishes four times a year, each time focusing on the foods and flavors of the season.  Subscriptions are available for $28/year.

In this issue, you can find:

  • “Atwater’s: On the Leading Edge of Local” – a story highlighting farmers’ market all-star Atwater’s Bakery, by Amy Crone
  • “Young Richmond Upstarts Bring Back the Art of Butchering” – Alexandra Greeley’s profile piece that focuses on one of the butchers that appears in Flavor’s survey story
  • A roadtrip to Frederick, Maryland, with a sidebar about “Nourishing Food and Family Relationships at VOLT”
  • Notable Edibles – short writeups about local restaurants, shops and events in DC, Maryland and Virginia

If you’re interested in checking out Edible Chesapeake’s take on the passing of Gourmet, check it out over at Young & Hungry.

Keep an eye out for both of these magazines the next time you’re at the market.  Between the two of them, local foodies can keep their fingers on the pulse of the DC area’s thriving food culture.