Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yule Blog

Well, festoon my hearth with Yuletide mirth and gluttony, it done be Christmas Eve here, and one of those very special times of the year that I usually spend indulging in fine food and drink. (Not unlike the rest of the year, in fact!)

Merry Christmas!

Cheese @ Borough Market
Sadly this year the festive flu has rather curtailled such intentions thus far -  I've been pretty much housebound for the past week or so, with tastebuds so jaded I could probably eat a whole filet-o-fish without sicking up chunks of reformed pollock, and have thus been unable to sample much in the way of seasonal flavours.

There have been a couple of exceptions though - I made it as far as Borough Market the other day to stock up on high-quality cheeses (Comte, Mont D'or, and Worksop Blue on the Ben Viveur cheeseboard this Christmas!) and was able to neck a few festive ales en route in the excellent pubs nearby.

The new Bristol Brewery's Bristletoe is an unspectacular ordinary bitter, Brew Wharf's Noƫl is probably the most nutmeggy spiced ale I've ever tried and cut through my flue symptoms like a cloven hoof, while they also had a 'chocolate milk stout' called How Now, Brown Cow on, which packed a very stouty punch for its very low strength (3.1%) but tasted neither milky nor chocolatey to my admittedly sub-par pallette.

I can recommend all the cheeses too, with the Mont D'or neatly occupying the niche between Camembert and Epoisses, and the strong Worksop Blue bearing all the hallmarks of a really good, organic, unpasteurised Stilton. Comte is similar to Gruyere, and an excellent eating or cooking cheese.

You might be surprised
My only other recommendation at this time will be a lovely little drop I discovered around this time last year - Coole Swan is a cream liquer, which isn't the sort of thing I usually go in for at all. However, it's a single malt-based example, with real vanilla and chocolate flavours.

If you don't like stuff like the ubiquitous Bailey's, you might just find it a pleasingly sophisticated surprise, and if you're a Bailey's drinker, well, it's the same sort of thing but executed infinitely better. Trust me on this one. Make sure you keep it in the fridge though (or, in this weather, outside!)

So, here I am, convalescing and relaxing with a glass of Port (Croft LBV - half price in Tesco, very good buy while it lasts), and I hope you've enjoyed these blogposts over the last couple of months. I know I've enjoyed writing them'n'shit, so Merry Christmas, readers!

And a Happy New Year, obviously

So, what will I be up to in 2011, food-wise?

Well, my quest to find the perfect burger will likely continue, having read another London blogger's top 10 burgers list, and finding my current favourite Byron at a mere No. 10 behind a tranche of places hitherto unknownst to me. Plenty of meat-eating to be done there, I should imagine.

I'm a-getting married early in the year, of course, and with a twin-centre honeymoon booked to Romania and Hungary, there will no doubt be some former Soviet delights for me to sample (note to the missus: I do mean food and drink rather than whores. Promise!)

And I shall continue to seek out eateries in the Wharf and beyond, and share my recipes with everybody who stumbles across this little ol' blog.

I shall see you all next year - and if you only give people one virtual Christmas present along with your naff e-card, tell them about this blog!

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