VIVE LA FRANCE: From cover to cover, Saveur’s May issue is all about France — a first for the magazine. Another inaugural effort for the title is the fact that Air France is advertising, has run a two-page advertorial and will sponsor all of the issue content on Saveur’s Web site. To celebrate the France issue, the airline will also cohost a party at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel restaurant on May 5. The chef returned to his hometown of Lyon with Saveur editor in chief Adam Sachs in tow for a feature. The two men first met 15 years ago, when Sachs was editing Time Out’s restaurant section.

Boulud took the liberty of booking third lunches and second dinners to maximize the gastronomy factor of their four-and-a-half day stay. “When he does something, he does it full-on. He was a great guide to have,” Sachs said.

May readers of the magazine will also get a good look at culinary finds in Normandy and Biarritz, as well as a primer about the history of the French fry. How else to root out the 140-year-old Maison Arostéguy, which is France’s oldest family-run épicerie? The new issue is also the first “baby step” in Saveur’s redesign under creative director Richard Baker, who was installed in that role about two-and-a-half months ago.

However alluring novel destinations can be, Sachs said there is something to be said for exploring authentic French cuisine. Noting that the all-about-France issue is not a radical departure for the magazine, Sachs said it’s really a matter of following food to its source.

Asked how he would respond to skeptics, who might question whether the France issue was entirely editorially driven given Air France’s support, the editor in chief said, “I don’t know why anyone would think that. The magazine is all about France and Air France flies to France. The issue and all the content in it was conceived, assigned, edited and designed and all that before I think any of us on the edit side knew that Air France was going to advertise in the issue,” Sachs said. “There’s no conversation between us and Air France about any of the content so there’s a pretty clear line there. It’s not like they came to us and said, ‘Hey, will you do a France issue?'”

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