Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Bon Viveur's Eat, Drink, Discover Scotland

Fanny and Johnnie had so many careers on the go at any one time, with different pseudonyms for each venture, and mostly all having a foodie connection. Their anonymous restaurant reviews, which appeared in the Daliy Telegraph, using the Bon Viveur moniker, were extremely popular. Fanny herself used to boast that they could 'make or break' a place once they were in print. They never accepted offers to review, that would be vulgar, and only revealed their identity after eating and settling the bill. The original food bloggers! For five years from 1950 until 1955 they remained elusive, but once their faces were firmly attached to their words, they found a new way to review and recommend. They expanded on their restaurant reviews to include travel and discovery, presumably for those less fortunate than themselves to hear about all sorts of exotic and fantastic adventures at home and across Europe. Their newspaper columns continued to charm readers, and they released several volumes of 'travel guides' for home and abroad. The original travel bloggers! 

One of their most popular editions was their Guide to London and the British Isles. Advertised as the definitive manual informing readers 'where to dine, wine, visit, stay, relax and entertain' around the country. As with most of Fannys output, it was largely recycled from their columns and expanded from a previous volume which looked at London only. As Fanny used to say 'money for old rope'. The original entrepreneurs! The guide itself is charming and the Scottish Section lists a variety of places to explore from Aberfoyle to Turnberry. Each location gives the very best hotels, a headline of what to expect - 'Motorists Mecca', 'Shooting', 'Escape from Cities' or perhaps 'For Business Men' - contact details, the all important review, prices, what local speciality food to expect, what drinks are likely to be available, what sights can be seen around and about and crucially, of bizarrely, if dogs are welcome. The original Dugs'n'Pubs

Fanny liked Scottish cuisine, and was a trailblazer for Haggis before it was seen as a national treasure. She gave recipes to make your own at home, mainly as she felt that the very best ones which were produced in Scotland were kept by the Scots themselves, leaving only small and considerably inferior ones available in shops locally. By locally she meant in London. It's one of those recipes that starts, 'First clean a sheeps stomach carefully...' Fanny claimed to be half French from time to time too, so included recipes for the French version too, which she called Franchemoyle. She liked to balance out any debate of provenance! The original diplomat! 

Either way, she recommended it be served with a fine Scotch Whisky and enjoyed while discovering the country! She even claimed that Haggis cured her of a nervous breakdown, or was it simply marvellous marketing? You decide. Certainly the original Bon Viveur's! 

The Bon Viveur guides were essential reading to track down what to Eat, Drink and Discover. Fanny and Johnnie claimed to aim to share their extensive knowledge and good taste with us all, and I have no doubt that their books were clutched by excited travellers and followed with fervour. Today it's even easier to find out what's new, what's local and what's trendy with so many online reviews, TV shows and festivals celebrating food and drink. 

Eat Drink Discover Scotland, Scotland’s largest celebration of Scottish food & drink will open its doors on Friday 12th September, allowing visitors the opportunity to experience the very best Scotland has to offer all in one day!  Billed as the ultimate celebration of food and drink in Scotland, it's a three-day foodie extravaganza, bringing together over a hundred exhibitors showcasing top notch Scottish food & drink, a stellar line-up of celebrity chefs (Fanny of course was the original!) and a packed programme of demonstrations, tastings, talks and sampling sessions. I'm heading along to see what I can Eat, Drink and Discover about Scotland. Fanny and Johnnie would likely be there in a flash too, probably insisting it be billed as Bon Viveur's Eat, Drink, Discover Scotland though. And they'd sell you a book about it afterwards. And a homemade Haggis. And you'd be delighted. 

Eat Drink Discover Scotland is one of the highlights of the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2014. An annual celebration, this year the fortnight runs from 6th-21st September, during which there will be a calendar of events aimed at encouraging people to try some new food adventures such as foraging, visiting a pick your own farm or even just trying a new product or recipe.
Created to promote the healthy, locally sourced food and drink available throughout the country, the 2014 celebration aims to be the biggest yet. The festival will also act as an excellent introduction the Scottish Government’s 2015 Year of Food and Drink celebrations.
Eat Drink Discover Scotland has been put together by the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). Chief Executive, Stephen Hutt, said: “Our vision when creating this event was to provide a unique regional showcase. At Eat Drink Discover Scotland you can truly taste Scotland in one day – from Orkney Lamb to Galloway Chillies – all regions are represented.”
Tickets for the must-attend food and drink event of the year are on sale now, at
• Organised by Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS)
• Advance Tickets £12.50(£10) Children under 15 go free
• Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston
• Free Parking
• Opening times: Friday 12noon-8pm Saturday 10am-6pm Sunday 10am-5pm


  1. Why have I never heard of dugs'n'pubs?! I agree that's crucial information! I'd love to be a secret food critic! Sounds like a good even this weekend, enjoy

    1. I don't even have a dog! I'll report back after the weekend on the event ;-) thanks!

  2. Lucky Fanny. I LOVE haggis but of course there is none to be had in this nation of 'French ragout ... or fricassee'. I am certainly not one of those who 'looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view on sic a dinner.'

    1. Really? Fanny - being half French - says Haggis is actually French too, so I'd expect to see it everywhere! I can send you her Scottish and French recipes if you are able to get hold of a sheeps stomach?!

  3. What a lovely article, I'd never heard of Fanny's love of haggis before now. And we're a small Scottish firm that sends haggis all around the world.

    1. Thanks so much! Fanny really was a haggis fan, she mentioned it a lot as one of her favourites, and it clearly cured her of all sorts ;-)