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A dish from La Rive: Symphonic buildup of flavour 
©LA RIVE RESTAURANT)

It could all have been so different if only they’d phrased the ballot differently. Instead of asking whether or not voters thought the United Kingdom should remain in the EU, they could just have said, “Do you want to go on Graham’s stag night in Reykjavik?” or “How about that mini-break you’ve booked in Barcelona?” The wedding in Tuscany, the girls’ weekend in Marbs, the romantic hop to Bruges, the Christmas market in Vienna, the massive one on ’Beefa? Don’t fancy any of that? OK, vote Leave and shall we see about Eastbourne this year? No-brainer. Because no matter how much we complain about the sadism of Ryanair, no matter that we weigh down our toddlers’ Trunkis with a fortnight’s worth of Accessorize sarongs in order to avoid checking baggage, no matter that the Easyjet gates at Gatwick are basically in Cornwall, we love it. We love being able to hop on a flight for less than dinner at Pizza Express. We love the museums, the sun, the pavement cafés, the sense that we too are sophisticated international nomads. Cheap fares are so ingrained in our national consciousness that we practically see them as a right. When the Farage-niks finally work out that no, they won’t be going to Magaluf this summer, I predict riots.

Why? Well, leaving the EU, through which the regulatory framework for British aviation has been worked out throughout the last three decades (access to the US and Canada was also negotiated through the bloc) will require separation from the seven major EU agencies which presently govern the airline industry. A new set of agreements and legislation will have to be put in place to maintain the third-largest aviation industry in the world, which employs 240,000 people and is worth £22 billion to the UK economy annually. And we haven’t got one. No one knows how the 268 million passengers who passed through UK airports last year (eight times more than the figure for 1970 thanks to the ruling by — er — the European Court of Justice, which liberalised passenger traffic laws in a non-monopoly ruling) will be affected by Brexit. The 54 million people who flew from the UK to EU destinations last year (as opposed to the 26 million who flew from the EU to the UK) — no  one has any idea of the impact on them. Except, I suspect, it might no longer be possible to take the family to Corfu for a week for the price of a KFC mega-bucket and a packet of fags.

I was going to do this column about how British food might look after Brexit, but I couldn’t think of a single joke. So instead I’m going to write about somewhere lovely you could try while it’s still feasible. Gastro-tourism was an impossible concept before low-cost travel became the norm; the idea that one might take a flight in order to have dinner was an absurd extravagance. Yet bucket-list destinations like Noma exist in part because people can, actually, fly to another country in order to visit a restaurant. Amsterdam doesn’t feature on so many gourmet wishlists as, say, San Sebastián or Copenhagen, but this small and delightfully civilised city possesses a serious contender in La Rive at the Hotel Amstel. It’s a big old-fashioned restaurant in a grand old-fashioned wedding-cake hotel. Not hip, not edgy, just very, very good.
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Hugh Eveleigh
November 9th, 2018
4:11 PM
What a shame that Ms Hilton has taken to alarmist nonsense re Brexit. Does she not know that we Brits have been visiting the continent for hundreds of years before the EU was thought of and some of us are even Francophiles or Italophiles or Xphiles? Please, this silly baseless posturing does you harm - stick to food on which I read you with care and interest. If the EU is short sighted enough to start blocking flights to/from the UK with rules and regulations then it is further confirmation that it is not fit for purpose and we, as an independent UK, can soon sort the problem out. Never fear Ms Hilton, we shall gobbling up food abroad as we have done for centuries.

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