ʽʽHi, I’m Benjamin Nunn – critic, gourmand and author of Ben Viveur. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You might have read me in an in-flight magazine, or a beer publication, but here on my own blog I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others so anything goes.

I deal with real food and drink in the real world, aiming to create 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. Likewise, 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!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt

The early part of Easter Saturday was a fucking nightmare. (The evening wasn't, because we went to see Steeleye Span and they rocked, but the daytime was a bit of a shitter and no mistake.)

We must've been into 20 shops in various parts of South London, looking for Easter Eggs to give to various family members. Spent about three hours solid, so we did.

There's nothing for you here!
Nothing. Absolutely fuck-all available anywhere. (Except for Cadbury Creme Eggs and bags of mini eggs). From the tiniest local shops to the big Sainsburys and Safeways (I refuse to call them Morrisons for the same reason that I refuse to call a Marathon bar anything other than a Marathon bar!) there was not a single proper egg available to purchase.

The shelves were bare, apart from the occasional solitary badly broken egg in Tesco with the cracked chocolate exposed to the elements that staff had inexplicably failed to remove, perhaps deliberately leaving it there to taunt people like me.

The twats in the shops said things like. 'Ooh, you should've come earlier', which as well as being singularly unhelpful is also indicative of the widespread acquiescence of a flawed culture.


Why on God's Green-Hilled-Far-Away Earth is it that I can buy Easter Eggs in fucking January but not on the day before Easter Sunday?!?

Does that make any sense whatsoever? To anybody?

I'm pretty sure that you can buy Christmas cards on Christmas Eve (And indeed on Boxing Day and beyond). And on Mothering Sunday people can pick up flowers and cards and chocolates on the day itself. So what is it with Easter? It's not like chocolate is going to perish. (If it was, they wouldn't have the stuff on the shelves before Lent has even begun, would they?!?)
When I were a lad, you could buy eggs right up until the big day and beyond. One of the treats was going shopping a few days afterwards and being able to pick up a Marathon, Logger or United egg for half price or even better. Good times.

Now you can still buy eggs for half price, but only if you take advantage of the two-for-one offers months before you actually need them.

Hello? Stock control, anyone? We learned about this shit in IT classes at school. For fucks sake, it would just be common retail business sense. If some shops made sure they had enough eggs they could actually charge more for the fuckers because of the shortage elsewhere, no?!?

Maybe the whole thing is meant to create a deeply religious atmosphere by representing the empty tomb?!? But I suspect that would be giving waaaaay too much intellectual credit to the simply inept.

Time for a beer!

Anyway, the whole searching-high-and-low thing and experiencing waves upon waves of disappointment is probably good preparation for the latest Wetherfestival which started yesterday.

Give it a fortnight, and I'll probably be trawling round pubs, going in and straight out again in search of the final few beers on the list.

It's pretty much obligatory for any self-respecting beer ticker to try and hunt all 50 of the featured beers, or at least all of them which you haven't had before, which due to the number of special, one-off brews is always going to be most of them.

I got the first seven of the 39 I need out of the way last night in the City. Best of the bunch was the 6.5% Shepherd Neame-brewed Central City 'Red Racer IPA', but Wadworth's '6X Anniversary' (6%) was malty and turgid, and rather less pleasant than normal 6X, which itself is no great shakes.

Last time out, I finished with a flourish, and that will be a hard act to follow - for Wetherspoons themselves as much as for me - but for the next couple of weeks I know where I'll be drinking.

So, flying start flown in a starty way, let the hunt commence!

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