This week lunch is on us. We tuck into orecchiette with ‘pomodorini’ and burrata washed down with the best wines from the Benelux region from a new shop in Amsterdam. We’re also counselling on the good of the world according to an eminent British philosopher and hearing about the Sunday rituals of a Mexican gallerist. First, to paint us a picture of the world this weekend, Tyler Brûlé.
I may not be from a circus family but I have a vague understanding of what it feels like when the big top comes down, the elephants are corralled into their trailer and all the wigs, grease paint and sequinned jumpsuits get packed away in a worn-out trunk, all prepared for another performance. The Monocle Quality of Life Conference farewell breakfast wrapped a few hours ago at Paris’s Musée Carnavalet and I’m feeling a bit like an exhausted ringmaster – just without the top hat, tails and whip.
After 40 hours of meeting and greeting, mingling and moderating, the Monocle staff have dispersed. Many are off to Salone del Mobile in Milan for our next event at a puppet theatre on Monday night. Some of our delegates are also Milan-bound but most will soon head back to London, Munich, Des Moines, Riyadh, Antwerp or Helsinki. This year’s conference was by far our best to date and I’m sitting here on the TGV wondering what we’re going to do for an encore and which city will play host in 2023.
I could give you a rundown of highlights here but you might be better served soaking up the mood of these pictures and tuning in to today’s edition of Monocle on Sunday for all the highlights. Enjoy.
Even before Bali fully reopened this spring, Mosto had amassed a loyal following and remained booked-out most nights (writes Naomi Xu Elegant). Still looking fresh since the opening in January, the interior is a tried-and-tested mix of whitewashed brick walls, dark wooden furniture and large windows to let in the breeze from the tree-lined street outside.
The menu is a melee of classic French and Piedmontese food with the occasional Asian flourish. Dishes include beef tartare with miso egg yolk and cannellini beans with bottarga and kaffir lime. Mosto, which is named after the Italian term for the fresh-pressed grape juice made before the fermentation of wine, offers plenty of organic and biodynamic bottles, including a pét-nat by Lazarus Pulp, the Balinese natural wine launched by Mosto’s founders in 2021.
“We were inspired by the bistros of Paris and Italy,” says Mosto and Lazarus Pulp co-founder Isabella Rowell. “We’re doing our spin on certain dishes, it’s a bit rebellious.”
“Our passion for wine and cheese developed over the years during a number of working-holiday sabbaticals on farms and vineyards across Europe, Israel and Australia,” says AJ Pawlikowski, a translator who emigrated to Japan with partner and cheese specialist Malory Lane in 2010. The US-born partners moved to Amsterdam in 2019 with the idea of starting a wine-and-cheese business and began by visiting every wine-maker they could find within 400km of their new base (writes Josh Fehnert). Despite the tough timing of launching a business during the first lockdown, the pair found a charming space in December 2020 and started The Benelux Wine Co.
“Just consider that the majority of emissions tied to any bottle of wine are connected to the distribution process,” says Pawlikowski. “In Amsterdam, how sustainable is a bottle of low-sulphite, spontaneously fermented wine sourced from New Zealand, or Sicily, for that matter?” Fair point. So what’s on offer? Most of the reds come from Luxembourg, a few from the Netherlands’ regions of North Brabant and Limburg and some from Belgium too. With the idea set, the couple sought a space and settled on an old shop in the central Jordaan district a 10-minute walk from their home. They tapped Amsterdam architects Ninetynine to spruce up the bright, brick-fronted space and turn the small kitchen at the back into a lively tasting room, with the help of carpenters Houthandel van Steen.
“We put on events every Thursday evening in our tasting room, with a different theme every week,” says Pawlikowski, who, with Lane, is comfortable keeping the business small. “We also hold some tastings on canal boats and these allow us to foster an inclusive drinking community in and around the shop. The concept of running a family business, similar to the kind you’d see in Japan, is something that we’ve always respected,” he says. beneluxwine.com
Three Benelux bottles to try
Wijngaard Dassemus, Ceci N’est Pas un Orange
“The 2021 vintage, set for release this June, is the fifth edition and will most likely sell out in the first few months,” says Pawlikowski.
Clos d’Opleeuw, chardonnay
“One we’d choose in a serious blind tasting, specifically against white burgundy,” says Pawlikowski. “Peter Colemont is a precise and passionate Belgian wine-maker who works his magic with chardonnay.”
Maison Viticole Schmit-Fohl, Pinot Noir Ahn Gollebour
“Proof that the region can make serious reds – and proof that pinot noir is a serious red,” says Pawlikowski. “A fresh and juicy pinot noir made with carbonic maceration – the same technique used in beaujolais – from the 11th-generation Schmit brothers in Luxembourg.”
Pamela Echeverría cut her teeth at the Museo Tamayo and Carrillo Gil Art Museum in Mexico City before opening her own gallery, Labor, over a decade ago (writes Monica Lillis). Its mission remains to include provocative, research-based work that engages in ongoing social and political issues. Here Echeverría talks to us about her perfectly private Sundays.
Where will we find you this weekend?
You won’t – the weekends are mine.
Ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle or a jolt?
Definitely a gentle start. Cuddling in bed for the first hour is the best way to start a Sunday morning.
What’s for breakfast?
Chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican breakfast, accompanied by a strong cup of coffee – always in pyjamas.
Lunch in or out?
I love going outdoors and using my grill. Mediterranean and Mexican meals are my go-to.
I enjoy a very hot yoga session.
A Sunday soundtrack?
I like the vibes of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon.
Sunday culture must? A market? Museum?
La Lagunilla, a flea market just north of the centre of Mexico City. I’m usually on the hunt for vintage furniture.
News or not?
The news is part of my routine, now more than ever.
A glass of something?
Pox, a Mayan aguardiente made of corn. It is sweet and earthy at the same time. It tastes like a cornfield after a brief tropical shower when the sun is coming out. Pairs perfectly with roasted popcorn spiced with smoked chilli salt.
What’s on the menu?
Esquites, a smoky, sweet and spicy charcoal-grilled corn salad lathered in a creamy sauce. A taste of home.
Sunday evening routine?
I like to open my planner and organise the schedule of the upcoming week so I can disappear again on a Friday evening.
Are you preparing Monday’s outfit?
No. I wear my seasonal uniform, a well-fitting pair of jeans styled with a comfortable T-shirt, so I don't waste time on that.
Our Swiss chef’s lively take on the ear-shaped Pugliese pasta with tomatoes, nuts and fresh burrata. “I also like to use slightly dried tomatoes,” says Schelling. “And I always grate some lemon zest on top and add an extra dash of the best olive oil at the end.”
Serves 4 as a main
6 tbsps olive oil
3 tbsps ground almonds
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp salted capers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 or 4 turns of black pepper from the mill
2 handfuls of fully ripe pomodorini, halved or pressed
300g orecchiette, dried or fresh
Lemon zest (optional)
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the almonds, chilli flakes, capers, garlic and pepper on a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Cook the pasta in salted water according to the instructions on the packet and, just before it is al dente, drain it, reserving 250ml of the cooking water.
Add the cooking water to the tomatoes and continue to cook the drained pasta in it for 1 to 2 minutes until it is al dente.
Season again if necessary and arrange on a large platter or plates and add the burrata and basil, parmesan or lemon zest as desired.
We love to hear feedback, tips and recommendations from readers but it’s still fairly rare for our editors to receive a pile of gifts as we did recently. A kindly and thoughtful subscriber sent in a stack of press-fresh copies of UK philosopher AC Grayling’s book For the Good of the World, published by Simon & Schuster, for us to mull over. Our sincere thanks for that.
The broad point of the book is to examine how challenges, from climate change to nationalism, threaten our survival and prosperity, and the stumbling blocks that keep us from pulling together to solve them, including a lack of focus and consensus. The book poses the question of how humans might seek to balance short-term personal interests with shared concerns and suggests some techniques for doing so.
Our insight to add? That sharing ideas, books and goodwill is an excellent start and a canny way to nudge opinions and change minds.
Enric Sagnier designed more than 300 buildings in the Catalonian capital. Now Barcelona-based architecture practice Turull Sørensen has transformed his former residence and studio into a 51-key hotel. Its opulent restaurant and terrace on Rambla de Catalunya are already popular with the city’s residents. Look out for art installations by Elefante studio and lamps by Sagnier’s nephew, Miguel Milá, and head up to the rooftop for a view of one of the architect’s best-known works, the temple on the Tibidabo.
These days a smartphone is often our camera of choice, so Oneplus is putting Swedish brand Hasselblad’s know-how into its phones (writes David Phelan). The Oneplus 10 Pro 5G has a camera panel that dominates the rear of the device, with three lenses and a ring light. The main sensor is a 48-megapixel camera; there’s also a 50-megapixel ultra-wide lens and an eight-megapixel telephoto lens. Be warned: they’re easy to smear. The battery life is impressive, recharging from flat to full in 30 minutes. The latest Oneplus comes in an emerald-green matte finish or volcanic black. Have a super Sunday.