Our monthly guide to what's hot in the shops. This month: the latest Panasonic Lumix camera, typeface Top Trumps, hand-me-down canvas bags, a Lebanese cookbook and an Italian Lemonade.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1/Camera
Both amateurs and professionals are reaching for this new Lumix DMC-G1. It has all the trappings of a traditional D-SLR, including removable lenses, yet it is still light, handy and compact. Its LCD display lets you see how your aperture and shutter speed setting will affect the final picture before you have even pressed the button.
Type Trumps/Card game
The nostalgia-inducing card-game Top Trumps has just turned geek, thanks to self-confessed typophile Rick Banks. Beat your opponents hands-down with the highest-scoring Helvetica card and keep your memory fresh on who designed which typefaces in which year.
Papier d’Arménie/Incense strips
Papier d’Arménie incense is a staple of French pharmacies and grocery stores. The 120-year-old brand has just launched a new accessory, Le Kit, designed by UK-based François Clerc. The kit includes a booklet of paper incense strips and a box of yellow-tipped matches.
Despite investment from Timberland, Howie founders Dave and Clare Hieatt still retain creative control and their high quality Welsh provenance. The pair’s latest project is the “Hand-Me-Down” range of jackets in pure Scottish tweed and bags designed by Chad Yonkman, intended to be handed down from generation to generation.
Bon Doux/Chocolate Kinokuniya – Japan’s finest and most internationally focused food store – has launched a home-made chocolate brand, Bon Doux. We are partial to the Select Sweet Blend dark chocolate made from ariba – reputedly the finest cacao bean in the world.
Abbondio/Soft drinks In the arena of soft drinks, Abbondio is a David battling the Goliaths. Yet this niche bottler from northern Italy, now in its 120th year, packs plenty of punch thanks to its traditionally formulated beverages. Its signature “Bianca” soda, made from five varieties of Sicilian lemon, is sure to put you off Schweppes for life. Bottled in glass, its range includes a non-alcoholic bitters and chinotto, a classic digestif served throughout Italy.
‘Amoul – Some family recipes’ by Amal (Amoul) Oakes/Cookbook
Amoul delicatessen in London’s Maida Vale is the culmination of Lebanese owner Amoul Oakes’ dreams. She learnt to cook at a girls’ Evangelical school in Beirut and the dishes and products at the deli mirror her interest in Mediterranean cuisine. This cookbook of her favourite recipes from herself and her customers is a family affair – written by Amoul and art directed, photographed and illustrated by her children Zeina, Ziad and Jad.
Atomic Floyd /Headphones
The founder of Atomic Floyd, James Strong, has created audio accessories for some of the world’s electronics giants. But spurred on by his frustration at the low-quality, over-priced headphones on the market, he decided to create his own brand, offering five models of steel headphones.