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!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

10 years of 24 hour drinking

So, it's the tenth anniversary of the changes to British licensing laws that saw '24 hour drinking' - as it was promoted at the time - introduced.

It was remarkable in that it was one of the few pieces of legislation from a Labour government with which I've completely agreed, and a rare moment of genuine liberalisation from that most authoritarian of parties.

It's also remarkable just how little it changed things. It wasn't the life-changing progressive development we thought and hoped it might be, was it?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How to destroy 12 countries in 83 paragraphs

Some time ago, I forget exactly when - probably around last Christmas, I set myself the slightly bonkers target of visiting 12 new countries during 2015.

Given that I'm reasonably well-traveled and had already been to something like 36 different countries, depending on what criteria one uses, this was a bit of a challenge. Especially as I also really like staying in England quite a lot. (We live in a fucking great country with a history and culture that shames the rest of the world and a thriving craft beer scene. Coventry are winning every week, and Steeleye Span are on tour. Who in their right mind wants to go off somewhere else in a fucking aeroplane?!?)

But with over 50 days still left in the year, I completed the mission relatively easily. Go me. (It's an even more impressive score for Mrs. B-V who hadn't been to Estonia or Belgium before and thus got 14 new countries!)

Some places were interesting from a food and drink perspective, some were not. Some I blogged about at the time*, others I wrote about elsewhere, and still others I didn't bother with as I considered them a waste of ink. Or keystrokes.