Sunday 11 December 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 11/12/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Join our festivities

This week we wander around Trieste for the weekend and proffer some shopping tips for Tokyo and a new recipe from Swiss chef Ralph Schelling. Plus: wines to try this month and a warming playlist. First up with some music to our ears is Monocle’s editorial director, Tyler Brûlé.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Spirit of the season

The sun is out, the temperature is hovering around zero, the crowds are bundled up in cashmere, merino and Uniqlo HeatTech, the raclette is being scraped, Santa is showing live-stream pictures from his village in Finland’s high north and Nancy from Farmers’ Welsh Lavender is doing sampling sessions. Yes, dear reader, The Monocle Christmas Market (London edition) is in full-swing and it’s all feeling very “of the season”. We’ll venture through the market in a moment but before that, let’s head south.

Three days ago, while lunching at Le Lagon in Dakar, all of this felt very far away as waves crashed on the beach, massive lobsters were being devoured at tables all around and fit French gents sauntered about in clingy swimwear. Despite candy cane and snowman illuminations and the odd Christmas jingle, it’s hard for a city in the tropics to conjure up a Yuletide vibe, no matter how dedicated the hotel management or determined the visual merchandisers. Dakar on Wednesday afternoon had more the feeling of an escape from the chilly temperatures of Paris and Brussels as loungers seemed to be occupied by visitors enjoying a short, sunny jaunt before an intense few weeks of family and 2023 financial planning. Off the back of Chanel’s Métiers d’art show and a special talk hosted by our very own Emma Nelson, we made a slight nod to Christmas with a round of drinks with friends from the Swiss and Canadian embassies before making the trek out to the airport and various flights back to European hubs.

If you’re still figuring out what you need to do to get into the swing of Nöel then I can highly recommend 36 to 48 hours in Paris

Nine hours later, I walked into the Château Voltaire in Paris, having made a smooth connection from plane to train in Brussels and a speedy ride from Gare du Nord, and was back into the thick of Christmas – French-style. Following a three-hour nap, I was out on the packed streets around the Palais-Royal for a tasty curry udon lunch and a bit of shopping. If I’d momentarily lost my Christmas groove in Senegal, it was quickly restored by the lights of the city, a run around Le Bon Marché and a buzzy dinner in a cosy brasserie. If you’re still figuring out what you need to do to get into the swing of Nöel then I can highly recommend 36 to 48 hours in Paris to satisfy all dietary and drink-related desires, put a dent in your Christmas list and simply enjoy the best of the city’s bookshops: Librairie 7L for architecture and visual arts, and Galignani for English fiction and cookbooks.

The alternative to Paris, of course, is to make your way to 1 Dorset Street in London’s W1 and catch day two of our Christmas market. As this is Marylebone, there is no shortage of French people, so you can almost pretend that you’re on the other side of the Channel and you can pretty much satisfy all your Christmas needs in our sharply run set-up: the Swedish choir is on hand to get everyone singing; there are all kinds of wonderful little companies selling handmade and meticulously selected wares; and chef Tsubsasa-san from Niseko is in the kitchen making his signature Christmas “Japasta” dishes. In a moment I’ll be popping down to join Andrew Tuck, our editor in chief, to sign copies of Portugal: The Monocle Handbook and, if I can kick this cough, I might just lead the gathered crowd in a little sing-song of Tatsuro Yamashita’s “Christmas Eve” – a new tradition we sampled in Zürich last weekend.

Speaking of Japanese Christmas traditions, we’ll be throwing open the doors for a spot of shopping and German Weihnachten classics (courtesy of Schmatz) this coming Friday at Monocle Tokyo. If you’re around and would like to join, then please RSVP with my colleague Izumi Dresen ( and hopefully we’ll see you in Tomigaya under clear, crisp skies. Kanpai!

Top of the Shop / Kyukyodo, Tokyo

The write stuff

Established in 1663 in Kyoto, the company’s Tokyo shop in Ginza sells screen-printed postcards and exquisite washi paper sets. If you want to go further to demonstrate your penmanship, Kyukyodo stocks handmade calligraphy brushes and ink stones too. The Japanese-made incense is not to be sniffed at either.

Image: Kohei Take
Image: Kohei Take
Image: Kohei Take

Don’t miss the Tokyo shopping guide (among others) in our December/January double issue.

Sunday Roast / Debbie Pappyn

Home fires

Debbie Pappyn is a Belgian-born, Portugal-based travel writer and journalist with bylines in magazines including Monocle (from our very first issue, no less). She has also published several travel titles, such as 150 Hotels You Need to Visit Before You Die and Remote Places to Stay. Her new book with her husband, photographer David de Vleeschauwer, is called Remote Experiences and is published by Taschen. Here, she tells us about her favourite Portuguese restaurant, visiting local wineries and the joys of a wood-fired oven.

Your ideal way to begin a Sunday? A gentle start or a jolt?
The weather in Portugal can be glorious even in the winter. I like to get up early to catch that time of the day, working a bit in the garden or the olive grove of my house in Alentejo, before going for a stroll with Rosie, my rescue dog.

What’s for breakfast?
Fresh juice made with lemons and oranges from my garden, Japanese genmaicha or green tea from a new plantation in the north of Portugal called Chá Camélia, owned by wine-maker Dirk Niepoort and his wife, Nina Gruntkowski. Then sourdough bread from Beja, fresh goat cheese from the nearby village of Santana and a sunny-side-up egg with Kampot black pepper that I bought in Cambodia.

Lunch in or out?
Out. I have my list of the region’s best tavernas and tascas, often with nice terraces so I can take Rosie. One of my favourites is Cozinha d’Aboim in Portel, a century-old, restored stable with a glorious terrace where they serve the best bacalhau (dried cod). In the evenings, I prefer my own wood-fired oven, which heats up the whole kitchen when the temperature drops outside.

Walk the dog or downward dog?
Rosie has a lot of space here. Sometimes we go for a walk but mostly she’s as free as the swallows roosting around the castle tower in the village.

Your Sunday soundtrack
Fleetwood Mac, Roxy Music and JJ Cale.

A Sunday culture must?
In the deep south of Portugal’s Alentejo region, small adegas (wineries) open their doors every year around November and December to let people try their new talha wine. After going to the small mercado in Vila de Frades to buy local cheese and charcuterie, I might check out a couple of tiny wineries, where sometimes the older locals come to sing and play music and bring their own petiscos (snacks) to share.

What would you like to find under the tree this Christmas?
An Australian colleague, Sam Vincent, recently published a book called My Father and Other Animals: How I Took on the Family Farm. I would love to read it and give it to friends who have also changed their lifestyle from urban to rural. Also, Portugal: The Monocle Handbook.

The best and worst presents that you’ve received?
My dad once gave me a signed LP by Kate Bush, my all-time favourite singer. I still don’t know how he got it but it was wonderful. The worst? Probably one of those decorative things that are obviously bought at a huge discount and are not only ugly but useless.

Recipe / Ralph Schelling

Braised veal in port jus

“If you don’t like veal you could try Pata Negra cheeks from acorn-fed pigs,” says Ralph Schelling. “You can also prepare the dish the day before by letting the veal cool in the liquid before straining the stock. Reheat it the next day then thicken it with butter. The veal becomes more aromatic if you let it steep in the stock.” Using cornstarch also keeps the dish gluten-free.

Serves 4

150g carrots
1 large white onion
100g white cabbage
2 stalks of celery
4 veal cheeks (about 250 grams)
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp tomato purée
250ml red wine
150ml port wine
400ml beef broth
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp butter, cold


Cut the carrots, onion, white cabbage and celery into small pieces.

Heat the oil in a roasting pan. Season the veal with salt, pepper and cornstarch. Fry the meat on a medium heat for two to three minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the pan and leave to rest.

Sauté the carrot and onion in the dripping for about five minutes. Add the tomato purée, stir to combine and then deglaze with the red wine and port.

Add the broth, cabbage, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and veal. Bring everything to the boil then reduce the heat.

Cover and simmer over a low heat for two hours until tender. If it gets dry, add a little more broth.

Remove the cheeks from the liquid. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve into a new pan.

Put the pan on a medium heat to simmer while you cut the butter into small pieces. Stir it into the sauce with a whisk. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Arrange the cheeks with the braised vegetables on plates and pour the sauce over them. Serve with buttery polenta and a lightly dressed bitter-leaf salad.

Pick up a copy of the December/January double issue on newsstands or online today for Ralph’s full festive feast. Or subscribe to Monocle so that you don’t miss an issue.

Weekend plans? / Trieste, Italy

Port of call

“When I first came to Trieste in 1993 it felt rather sad,” says Algerian-born Abdelkrim Aoudia, senior research scientist at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). Indeed, this port city that was once the gateway to the Austro-Hungarian empire must have felt very different 30 years ago. Close to the Slovenian and Croatian borders, almost cut off from the rest of Italy, it had long had a certain air of faded grandeur that writer Jan Morris described in her travelogue Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere. But now, as he sits at a table outside of a lively canal-side bar, Aoudia takes stock of the vibrant city that he still calls home.

“Trieste and the port are the same thing,” says Zeno D’Agostino, the latter’s president since 2015. “You can’t talk about one without the other.” The Italian city’s new dynamism can be attributed not only to the ICTP and the 30 or so other research institutions based here but also to the successes of the port under D’Agostino. Its rail infrastructure, which dates back to Austro-Hungarian rule, has been updated, making it Italy’s largest rail-to-shipping port.

Image: Mattia Balsamini

Trieste might have a thriving R&D sector – a big draw for technology-minded start-ups – and a major port but it certainly isn’t all work and no play here. “Triestini take their free time very seriously,” says art communications professional Max Schiozzi at the exhibition space that he runs in the once run-down Cavana district. Maritime pursuits are popular (the city’s annual Barcolana is the world’s largest regatta), while the forested Carso plateau provides city dwellers with an abundance of green space. Trieste is also home to dozens of museums and galleries, as well as a respected film festival. So it’s little surprise that financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore ranked the city first in Italy for lifestyle.

Aoudia, who has a farmhouse in the Carso where he rears horses in his spare time, agrees. He has met Morris and showed her around; he wonders what the writer would make of the city now that it’s so vibrant again. “She might miss the melancholic charm that was once here,” says Aoudia. “But she would love all of the human activity. There’s real energy now.”

For Monocle’s annual Small Cities Survey pick up a copy of ‘The Forecast’ online or on the newsstand today.

Playlist / Winter warmers

Whiskey sour by the fire

Born in sunny São Paulo, Monocle’s senior correspondent (and our ear to the ground on all matters musical) Fernando Augusto Pacheco has whipped up a wintry playlist. This week he’s helping out our northern hemisphere readers with something soulful and snug to keep you warm.

‘City of Angels’, Ladytron
Sexy electro-rock by the synth-focused quartet.

‘Ich und Elaine (2raum Club Mix)’, 2raumwohnung
A delightfully funky gem from the German duo.

‘Ça va? Je t’aime!’, Hey Cabrera! and Protopapa feat. Emmanuelle
Italian slice of electro pop with a French twist.

‘Ya No Estoy Aquí’, Helado Negro
A melancholy track by the passionate musician.

‘Doone Doone’, Liraz
Farsi electro at its best.

‘Apocalypse’, Cigarettes After Sex
A smoking-hot love song.

‘Melt’, Paige Bea
Hypnotic R&B meets electronica.

‘Jusqu’au bout du cils’, Camélia Jordana
Pure insouciance by the French-Algerian singer.

‘Gang’, Anoraak feat. Sarah Maison
A faster beat with breathless, sensual vocals.

‘Get Out of My Head’, Sofia Bolt
Rocky with a sultry attitude.

Top Cellars / Wines to Buy

Tips for tipples

Monocle and ‘Konfekt’ wine expert Chandra Kurt has reams of recommendations for new tipples and vineyards to try in 2023. This week we’re sampling an orange wine that is giving the genre a good name, some native Swiss grapes and a Californian collaboration with a Tuscan treasure. Bottom’s up.

Weisser Schiefer S 2018Uwe Schiefer
Austria is a great place for hugely impressive white wines such as this seemly blend of welschriesling and weissburgunder. The secret? That it is only produced in very good years and with the oldest vines here (at about 60 years of age). It is a funky number that is dry and rich in nuance. A sniff alone will paint a picture and tell a tale.

Kerner Horn 2020
Hauksson Weine, AOC Aargau
Icelandic-born wine-maker Hoss Hauksson fell in love with the vineyards in Aargau, Switzerland (can you blame him?) and makes this wine from the old grape variety kerner. It is fermented with the skins of the berries and is therefore classified as “orange wine” but it is a million miles from the cidery sludge to which the name is sometimes applied. Decant the wine 30 minutes in advance to give it some air and enjoy its complexity.

Toscana Rosso 2018
La Caccia di San Giovanni
The second vintage of an ambitious intercontinental project, this red is produced in partnership between this Tuscan treasure and Gagnon-Kennedy vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. The result? A vibrant, powerful and yet elegant blend of cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and petit verdot, as the New World meets the Old World.

For the full list of wines to buy and much more besides, pick up a copy of ‘The Forecast’ today or subscribe to Monocle so that you don’t miss an issue. Have a super Sunday.


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00