Sunday 9 May 2021 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 9/5/2021

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday


Keeping mum

Let’s start this Sunday by being as politically correct as possible and wishing all readers who have children a very happy “people who have given birth day”. Catchy isn’t it? Just when you thought identity politics couldn’t get more absurd, mothers, mamas and Mutters are now under threat because Mother’s Day is not inclusive enough and there are now discussions doing the rounds within various ethics committees about deleting “mother” from official legal language. I’m not quite sure what this means for the people sitting at Hallmark’s HQ in Kansas City and whether there’s been a flurry of meetings about Mother’s Day being cancelled but we can take some comfort in the words of German politician Sahra Wagenknecht and her scolding of lifestyle lefties.

In her new book Die Selbstgerechten (“the self righteous”), the parliamentarian from the Linke party argues that her brothers and sisters in lefty-land should get back to focusing on the core values of socialism and stop wasting so much energy on identity politics and more. No surprise that Wagenknecht has angered many on her side of the political divide but full marks to her for highlighting that it might be time to fight more important battles. And on that note, to all Monocle moms, if you’re celebrating in your corner of the world: happy Mother’s Day!

One more comment on inclusivity (or lack thereof). I was visiting my doctor yesterday for my 1,349th coronavirus test and we touched on the topic of the race for new vax-apps and how memories are very short. It was only six months ago that we saw the sorry state of retirement homes, poor preparedness and the generally shoddy treatment of people over 70 on our screens and on page. The world looked on in horror and there were calls to improve processes and demands that silver society should not be left behind. As borders start to open and governments scramble to roll out digital passes, the senior sector of society is being forgotten once again. “I have a patient in his 80s from the eastern Med. He doesn’t have a smartphone, doesn’t have a laptop and has no way to register for his trip home,” said my doctor. “Again we think that everyone is digital but it’s not the case. All over people are left behind.” Smart airlines, retailers and governments should remember that there are hundreds of millions of active consumers and voters in the bracket. How about figuring out how to make life easier for this part of society (open phone lines, put things on paper, do house calls) and remembering that there’s more to inclusivity than just gender, race and education?

Now, on to the fun stuff. Next week’s little apéro in Merano is a go, and me, Nolan, Nic, Raffi and Linda will all be on the scene on Saturday. Details of our upcoming The Chiefs conference will be announced in the coming week with two parts: Zürich and St Moritz. And finally, for our Swiss subscribers, by now you should have received another email inviting you to a special Venice Architecture Biennale guided safari. If you want to join the trip, act fast. It involves a nice aircraft with limited seating, a good lunch and speedy return back to base. If you’re not based in Switzerland but want to join, drop a note to All comments and thoughts can be sent to me at Have a good week.


Against the grain

Williamsburg has given a warm welcome to a new brewery and taproom called Talea, a portmanteau of the names of founders Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland who met in 2018 working at beer start-up Hopsy.

The vast new space boasts tiled interiors by local ceramicist Helen Levi and 11 taps containing craft beers ranging from fruity IPAs to crisp sours. Those wanting a little less hop can plump for wine from Long Island’s North Fork vineyards.

Subscribe to Monocle’s Digital Editions to access the latest issue of the magazine, our back catalogue and regularly updated tips for exploring key cities – such as this editor’s pick from our New York guide.


Basque in the sun

While we’re ambivalent about the spike in (sometimes dubious) low- or no-alcohol drinks, the deft packaging and refreshing taste of Ama Brewery’s fine fermentations caught our eye and appealed to our palette. Dreamed up in a San Sebastián backstreet by a team including winemakers, chefs and scientists, these two new brews are an altogether more refreshing prospect: sparkling pét-nat-style creations that wouldn’t look or taste out of place at a lively summer shindig.

Made with water from the Izarraitz massif, the Bat bottle (luckily not bat flavoured) is made with sencha tea leaves from the family-owned Moriuchi Tea Garden in Japan’s Shizuoka prefecture. The Bi, meanwhile, takes its notes from lemongrass grown in the Uva Highlands of Sri Lanka. And the trifling matter of taste? Let’s just say we wouldn’t sniff if we were offered a chilled glass after a long day.


Hammer down

Opened in Stockholm more than 150 years ago, Bukowskis is one of the leading auction houses in the Nordics. Its sales include fine art and collectibles and it also has outposts in Helsinki, Gothenburg and Malmö. Since taking the reins as CEO in 2016, Louise Arén has diversified into digital auctions that have led to a boom over the past year: a record number of bidders joined Bukowskis online sales in 2020. Altogether, the company represents 60 per cent of Sweden’s auctions market. It’s been a busy time for Arén – but on Sundays, she still makes time to relax and reset. Here’s how.

Where do we find you this weekend?
Outdoors. If you live in Sweden, it’s good to take the opportunity to be out when it’s light, warm and sunny.

What’s the ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle start or a jolt?
Though I often hum Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning”, the lyrics about “driving slow on Sunday” don’t quite match my experience. Sundays should involve something different to other days – something more inspirational. As a parent, this often involves match days and sports activities.

Soundtrack of choice?
Swedish pop should not be underestimated. I often listen to women such as Zara Larsson, First Aid Kit or Tove Lo.

What’s for breakfast?
I don’t eat breakfast as I’m rarely hungry in the morning. I occasionally visit the Fabrique bakery to get the city’s best sourdough bread and cinnamon buns – there are also Fabriques in London and New York.

News or not?
In breaks, I check local and international sites such as Wired, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and sometimes Vanity Fair for pleasure.

Some exercise to get the blood pumping?
Sweden has turned into a kayak- and canoe-paddling mecca but when everyone else takes up an obsession, I always become less interested with it. So, I keep swinging my kettlebells while thinking about this paddle phenomenon and wondering what I’m missing.

A glass of something you’d recommend?
A bottle from the champagne producer Jacques Selosse. Its richness reminds me of a great montrachet with hints of brioche and nougat. You can see why it’s called a “burgundy with bubbles”.

The ideal dinner menu?
Something healthy: a hot or cold vegetarian meal, which I’ll most likely mess up in terms of its nutritional value by adding freshly baked bread with butter.

Who’s joining?
We’re trying to have dinners together as a family every Sunday. The hope is that further down the line we’ll continue to see the younger ones on Sundays as they become young adults, along with their partners and friends. Hopefully, they’ll start to see it as a special occasion.

Sunday evening beauty or betterment routine?
Throughout the weekend I make sure I get a significant amount of sleep and have a well-organised home, which can withstand the pressures of an intense working week.

Will you lay out your look for Monday morning? What will you be wearing?
Yes. The right look on Monday is essential but it’s not limited to dressed up or dressed down – just dressed right, usually with my favourite brand Totême.


French toast with peaches

This week we demanded a little sweet indulgence from our Swiss chef. This simple dessert (or sweet breakfast) is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. Word to the wise: dispose of the star anise after baking the peaches so it doesn’t end up in the dish. Enjoy.

Serves 4


For the peaches:
4 peaches
Sugar, for dusting
½ tsp cinnamon
30ml water
1 star anise

For the creamy topping:
80ml single cream
150g mascarpone
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the French toast:
300g brioche (or 8 thick slices)
4 eggs
1 tbsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
150ml single cream (or milk)
1 pinch of cinnamon
30g sugar
3 tbsp butter, melted

To top it off:
Maple syrup, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 200C.

  2. Cut the peaches in half, remove and dispose of the stones and place the peach halves skin-side-down on a baking dish.

  3. Sprinkle evenly with sugar and the ½ tsp of cinnamon. Pour over the water, place a star anise in between the peaches then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

  4. For the creamy topping: mix the single cream with the mascarpone, maple syrup and vanilla extract.

  5. Cut brioche into about eight thick slices.

  6. Mix eggs and 150ml cream. Season with the remaining pinch of cinnamon, salt, vanilla extract and white sugar and soak the bread slices on both sides in the mixture.

  7. Melt the butter in a pan on a medium heat and fry the bread slices on both sides until golden brown; this will take around 3 minutes each. You may need to do this in batches.

  8. Serve two slices of bread per plate, remove peaches from the oven and roughly slice, dividing evenly between the four plates.

  9. Add the creamy topping and maple syrup to taste.


Shrink raps

Scribbler and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips’ CV is enough to make even the most accomplished people seem like slackers (writes Josh Fehnert). He was formerly the principal child psychologist at London’s Charing Cross Hospital but is now a psychoanalyst and a visiting professor in English at York University. But what does he do after breakfast, I hear you cry? He writes literary criticism, edits collections on Freud and pens thoughtful books on everything from the subjects of sanity to kindness and my personal favourite, On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored (don’t read into that, mind; I’m not the one on the couch here).

His latest, a slim volume entitled On Wanting to Change, is published by Penguin and contains essays that tease out society’s current fascination with the notion and commodification of change (from fitness to diets and therapy). The upshot? While our lives are in constant flux and we’re buffeted by the winds of change and chaos, many of us cling to stories about positive progress and myths about growth. Needless to say our Panglossian penchants belie much of the complexity under the surface but also much of the intrigue. At 160 pages it’s a swift but rewarding read – here’s hoping his wisdom can seep into the collective consciousness. You don’t need to be an overachiever to see that our capacity to change has never been more timely.


Get happy

What do entrepreneur David Grutman and musician Pharrell Williams have in common? A rather fetching new hotel in Miami Beach for one (writes Josh Fehnert). The pair opened the Swan and Bar Bevy in the Miami Design District back in 2018 but upped the stakes on this 266-room city block-sized chunk of South Beach. New York’s Morris Adjmi Architects took care of the building – a bright cube that riffs on the neighbourhood’s art deco delights – while designer Ken Fulk handled the interiors (some deco but with unrestrained oomph and zhoosh including pastel pinks and the occasional splash of utter oddity).

To eat there’s Mediterranean fare from restaurant Strawberry Moon, a peachy-pink bar called the Library (perhaps not the place to unfurl that paperback) and the crowning glory, a vast pool beset with striped parasols and fringed with palms. The landscape design was completed by the aptly named Raymond Jungles: it’s perhaps no accident that the whole thing feels rather filmic.


The art of advertising

In our penultimate feature on pristine post-war posters (and where to buy them) we profile some simple crisp copywriting for an alcohol brand, inspired graphics for a German exhibition and some escapism commissioned by the Greek tourist board in the early 1960s. Good design, remember, remains a simple sell. Pick up a copy of our out-now May issue for the full unfurling.

Pictured, left to right:

“Don’t be silly, drink Perilli” reads Cioma Schönhaus’s design for the vermouth brand.

A 1965 exhibition at Germany’s LGA-Zentrum is the focus of HW Kapitzi’s composition.

Frederick Vincent Carabott designed this poster in 1961 for the Greek tourist board.


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