Every couple of months, without fail, I sit down with a glass of wine, put my feet up, and giddily tear away the clear plastic wrap to reveal the treasure inside; a glossy, delicious, book of eye candy known as “Food&Drink” magazine.
For those of you that aren’t familiar, this is a free, yes, you heard me, FREE magazine provided by the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). It’s pages filled with glossy photos of delicious recipes, each issue features specific ingredients in themed layouts, usually pared up with specific alcoholic offerings; it’s main purpose after all is to advertise and encourage the purchase of said alcohol which is available at the LCBO.
Published six times a year; Winter (Jan), Spring (Mar), Early Summer (May), Summer (July), Autumn (Sept), and the most coveted issue, Holiday (Nov), what started out 20 years ago as a 32 page pamphlet, has grown into the most read magazine in the province, with a per-issue print run of 505,000 (English) & 22,000 (French), and a readership of over 2 million.
This month’s issue, the 20th anniversary issue, is a love letter. A love letter to itself, a love letter to Ontario, a love letter to local restaurants, and products, and chef’s, most of whom were featured at some point in the magazine over the last two decades. But most importantly, it is a love letter to us, the readers. A look back at how things have changed. A revisiting of some of the most popular recipes over the years. And a peek behind the scenes at how the magazine came to be and how it is put together for all of us to enjoy season after season.
After reading it through, cover to cover, smiling and drooling simultaneously, I went over to my bookshelf to see just how far back my own collection goes. 2000! I personally have over a decade’s worth of issues. Amazing. Some are dog-eared, many with sticky notes or bookmarks place holding a favorite recipe, mostly the aforementioned Holiday issues, which tend to be the thickest issues, providing the most decadent recipes.
I love introducing the magazine to out of province and out of country visitors. They are usually gobsmacked by the quality of not only the magazine itself, but also the content. For a while, many years ago, I actually shipped copies of the magazine to a friend in the U.S.
Now the LCBO itself provides that service (mind you, you’ll have to pay for it if you live outside of Ontario)
From the LCBO website: http://hellolcbo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/253
- Canadian Subscriptions: 1 year (six issues) for $33.90 (CDN funds)
- US Subscriptions: 1 year (six issues) for $45 (CDN funds)
- International Subscriptions: 1 year (6 issues) : please contact us at email@example.com for pricing in your area.
Note: Gift Subscriptions are based on the mailing address of the recipient (e.g. Canadian customer giving a gift subscription to a person with a US address must pay the US subscription price.)
Looking to complete your own collection? You can do that too! Back issues are available all the way back to 1993. Of course you’ll notice after a quick glance that the Holiday issues are all sold out.
As a public service I will let you know now that the final issue of 2013, the Holiday Issue, is due in stores Nov 6th, coinciding with another event well known to Ontario, or more specifically Toronto residents, the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo (Nov 14-17). I highly recommend you put both of those dates into your calendar.