Meet Prince. Bill Prince, international Man of Mystery and Deputy Editor of British GQ Magazine since 1998, and based in London, has travelled far and wide and frequently enough to know that beyond silk-knitted ties and a Felisi attaché, what matters most on a trip is that first meal of the day.
WE ALL HAVE OUR FAVOURITE SCENE FROM A JAMES BOND FILM. It might be the car chase in Live Or Let Die, or the downhill ski battle in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Mine comes quite early in the action of From Russia With Love, and involves neither cars nor gadgets.
“Breakfast for one at nine, please. Green figs, yoghurt, coffee, very black.”
It occurs as 007, recently arrived in Istanbul, returns to his hotel room and, before retiring for the evening, puts in his breakfast order. “Breakfast for one at nine, please. Green figs, yoghurt, coffee, very black.” Wow. What elan! Check the savoir-faire! And the healthy appetite!
Now, wherever I am in the world, and wherever I’m staying I’ve become a stickler about how I start the day. And for me, Bond’s ‘when in Rome’ attitude is essential.
“The food can and often does go every which way”
So it’s black coffee and focaccia in Liguria, black coffee and pan con tomate in Marbella – or baguette grillé if I’m in Paris. Of course, in the US, it’s you-know-what and the quintessential American heart-starter of scrambled eggs, wheat toast and crisp-to-the-point-of-crackling bacon.
But you get my drift: from here on in, the food can and often does go every which way (although a trip to the northern shores of the Mediterranean without risotto or a paella would be a crime), but breakfast remains the cornerstone of every trip, long or short.
The ‘best ever’? Probably the honey-sweetened pancakes brought across dew-dampened grass in the high Atlas Mountains many years ago – perfection.