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We welcome your questions and comments. Click here to send them to us now, or write anytime to Editors(at)  Questions may be edited for brevity and/or clarity.

I manufacture a line of cookies and baked goods and would like to submit samples. Will you give me an opinion of my products?

We will let you know whether or not your products are right for THE NIBBLE, and if we plan to review them. Products are either “right for us” or “not right for us.” Just because something isn’t right for us, doesn’t mean millions of people don’t like it, and, in fact, prefer it over something we would select. Our opinion is only relevant to what we are specifically looking for for NIBBLE readers. We would never offend any artisan or manufacturer by implying that their product isn’t “good enough” for us. Of course it’s a good product, it’s just not what we’re looking for.

Here’s a case in point: After reading our review of The Best Milk Chocolate Bars, one of our colleagues, an editor of a major non-food magazine who loves milk chocolate, asked if we still had any of the chocolates we had reviewed. We sent her the best milk chocolate bars in the world. She wrote back, “They were interesting, but I’d rather have a Dove bar.” And, most people would agree with her. But we write THE NIBBLE for those people who’d rather have Bonnat, Michel Cluizel, Slitti, etc.

For us to “give an opinion,” for example, to say that someone’s cookies are too sweet, or not buttery enough, has zero impact on what the marketplace at large thinks of them.  Our opinion only counts in-house, as we select which products to review. There are excellent products we choose not to review for a variety of reasons, including “too similar to products we have already reviewed” (or plan to review) and “can find a brownie like this in every city, no need to pay to get them by mail.”

In terms of “what is really good,” every person thinks that his/her brownie recipe (or tomato sauce recipe, or barbecue sauce, or whatever) is “the best.” There is no absolute!

— Name Withheld

Re: Your review of Robert Lambert Flavored Syrups

Your article reminded me of the following true story. When I was living in Paris, one of the (few) foods I missed was pancakes with maple syrup. Pancakes were easy to make, but I couldn't find maple syrup anywhere. One day I asked in a small grocery store and the owner said he actually had some. He said that he used to have a customer who was Canadian who ordered it; so the grocer bought a case, sold him a bottle, and then the customer moved away.

I bought a couple of bottles. As we were chatting further, the grocer said he couldn’t understand why anyone would bother using maple syrup (sirop d’érable in French): he had taken a bottle home and tried it. I said I was surprised that he didn't like it on crepes. He said he hadn’t put it on crepes: he made a drink and mixed in the maple syrup, and it was really foul.

To understand this, you need to remember that to the French, any kind of flavored syrup is used for making drinks—either sodas or flavored coffees, just like at Starbucks.

Editor’s Note: To the Italians and many Europeans as well.

— Leon Raff, Fair Lawn, NJ

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