Publisher’s Let­ter

RSWLiving - - Department­s - Daniela E. Jaeger Publisher, TOTI Me­dia

As South­west Florida pre­pares for the hol­i­days, a cer­tain ex­cite­ment fills the air. Along with the sea­son­ally cooler tem­per­a­tures that sig­nal the ap­proach­ing fes­tiv­i­ties, we find our­selves en­tan­gled in strands of gar­land and twin­kling lights as we dec­o­rate our homes for the an­tic­i­pated vis­its by fam­ily and friends for a fes­tive din­ner or New Year’s Eve party.

Caught up in the spirit, we not only ma­neu­ver our way through packed shop­ping malls but also head to the re­gion’s down­towns and is­land bou­tiques, where win­ter- won­der­land dis­plays pro­vide im­ages of scenes rem­i­nis­cent of north­ern climes. And even though many of us have cho­sen South­west Florida to es­cape frigid tem­per­a­tures, there’s some­thing warm and fa­mil­iar about th­ese hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions. Per­haps it’s a childhood mem­ory of mak­ing snow an­gels or of the back­yard fir tree weighed down by pow­dery white snow.

Once past all the dis­plays, though, se­ri­ous shop­ping be­gins. At this time of year, check­ing things off your list as you buy presents for loved ones be­comes a ma­jor pas­time. But don’t for­get your­self: Af­ter all, it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble not to scour the racks in search of a daz­zling hol­i­day dress or some other new party at­tire that will make you the best- dressed host­ess or guest.

This is also the time of year for in­dulging the taste buds. Whether your choice is a tra­di­tional din­ner of roast tur­key with chest­nut stuff­ing or a Florida- style feast with herbed mahi mahi as the main course, food can be an ex­pres­sion of love. My hus­band and I have al­ways em­braced the con­nec­tion be­tween love and food, and shar­ing a sa­vory meal paired with ex­quis­ite wines and the good com­pany of friends and fam­ily is some­thing we en­joy year- round. But dur­ing the holi- days, the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is even more spe­cial as chefs roll out sea­sonal de­lights. And pass­ing on dessert is in­con­ceiv­able when a freshly baked pump­kin pie or bûche de Noël is pre­sented.

When din­ing out, we have one rule: Turn off the smart­phone. Too of­ten, a lovely din­ner turns into a tex­ting party as din­ers, dis­tracted by a ca­coph­ony of catchy tunes, ring­ing bells, and even drum­beats an­nounc­ing newly ar­rived mes­sages, wan­der into cy­berspace. Make din­ner­time an hour or two spent fo­cus­ing on your din­ing com­pan­ions and sa­vor­ing dishes that the chef spent hours cre­at­ing and pre­par­ing for you.

Whether you are cook­ing an elab­o­rate Thanks­giv­ing meal with gourmet recipes col­lected over the years or din­ing out with friends this hol­i­day sea­son, we hope you will use the wealth of in­for­ma­tion in this is­sue to make your own love- food con­nec­tion. From find­ing the best olive oil and choos­ing the per­fect wine to dis­cov­er­ing the restau­rants about which lo­cals are rav­ing, let the sto­ries in this is­sue guide you and your taste buds.

As 2013 comes to an end, we want to raise our glasses in a toast to our read­ers, sub­scribers, ad­ver­tis­ers, and the great TOTI Me­dia team. Thank you for be­ing part of our won­der­ful pub­lish­ing fam­ily. May you share with us the love and en­ergy we put into our mag­a­zines all year long. Friedrich and I wish you happy hol­i­days and a healthy and pros­per­ous New Year!

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