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March 21, 2017 Chris

Amore

Being huge fans of Italy we naturally fell right in love with the Amore store and friendly owner Kerstin Finger, who carefully sources Italian products with exceptional branding & packaging design. Focusing mostly on food produce in the first room, her second room features eccentric umbrellas, quirky beach towels and wonderful tableware. What we adore about the Amore Store is how each of the food products from retro boxed salt & colourful tinned tomatoes to eye-catching pastas & Panettone boxes look soooooo pretty in their packaging, that they’re worth buying if only just to decorate your kitchen with if not to actually enjoy eating! Of course, we had a few questions to learn more!

You’re German yourself, so what made you decide on the concept of ONLY stocking beautiful Italian products at Amore?

I love Italian cuisine and I am a big fan of the traditional packaging design that some of the products still have which you can find in Italy. As I was a graphic designer before, Amore Store is the perfect mix for me of both food and design.

The idea came to me after having a nap during our summer vacation, and I envisaged the details clearly in front of me: the store would have to be called Amore, written in red neon writing and I will showcase products that Berlin doesn’t know yet, or that are hard to find. From there on, everything developed very quickly.

What do you feel the Italians do different in product design to other countries?

Looking from a traditional graphic design perspective, Italy has a rich history, which is unfortunately more forgotten these days, and only a few young people can relate to this successful era. In this previous age, Italian designers were very good, world renown for typography and they were also brave with colours!

If you shop at my store it’s often beneficial for me to enter into a dialogue with you, as most of the products packaging doesn’t explain itself; mainly as there are no pictures of the content inside, but simply beautiful illustrations or wonderful typography that communicates with you in that way.

Do you have a favourite part of Italy to visit, and what do you like to do when there?

Bologna is my favourite city at the moment, as it’s not too touristic and still perfect for exploring.

It’s wonderful to discover the city through the 37km long arcades whilst enjoying a pistachio-nougat gelato!

When there, I always have to stop off at nearby town Riccione (thanks to wonderful childhood memories and private connections) and from there on explore the area of  “Le Marche”.  

My absolute highlight was sitting on Monoblocs in a green meadow enjoying lunch at an Agriturismo near Sirolo! 

Which products are you most in love with at Amore at the moment? 

The candles from Graziani – they originally were developed for fishermen and don’t spill when the sea is a bit more rough

The hazelnut wafer-thins from Aostatal, with or without chocolate.

And I’m really looking forward to stocking the new espresso and cappuccino cups from Ancap, they’re made out of porcelain and have a lovely red and blue border.

Everything in the store looks so pretty and neat, but having tried a lot of the products ourselves, we know the quality is really high too. How do you source them?

I travel to trade fairs and exhibitions like Salone del Gusto in Torino, organised by Slow Food Italy.

And of course I can find a lot through the internet or small supermarkets with local products during the holidays.

What’s the hardest thing about owning a shop like Amore?

Not being able to eat everything every day! Haha.

No, to be honest, working on Saturdays – my family hates me for that.

But really thinking about it – Nothing! I love my job and having worked as a graphic designer for 10 years I am really happy to have opened Amore Store in 2015

And what advice would you give to someone thinking of opening up something similar?

I’d recommend keeping in mind that buying stock takes up a lot of your money, and is something I completely underestimated at first.

When I look around other shops sometimes it really dawns on me how many tens of thousands of euros are kept just in their stock.

It’s tough to give real advice as everyone looks at things differently. I personally very much jumped into cold water: I had no idea about retail, not a lot of money to start with and opened quickly.

I only followed my instinct without a real business plan, but that’s okay if you have enough patience.

Looking back on it, I should have done so much more PR work in my first year – that’s something I can definitely recommend.

You’ve got a fridge with some wonderful cheese, wine and specialist Italian meats too. We heard you’re looking to expand this somehow soon?

Yes, right now I have a fridge filled with buffalo mozzarella, burrata, parmesan cheese, salami from Lake Garda, salsiccia, the most intense chocolate cake from Tuscany, yogurt from South Tyrol and some delicious refreshment like Chinotto and apple-mint juice!

But I want to expand and also want to offer freshly cut deli meats like prosciutto di Parma & San Daniele, rosemary ham, fennel salami and many other delicious things.

When I have all the cut deli meats, I’ll also be stocking the Italian sourdough bread from Pane Amore e Fantasia again. 

What else have you got coming up in the Amore store this year?

As soon as the Berlin weather is better again we’ll have Aperitivo Style “Bar Latte” evenings every first Saturday of the month!

Also cooking events, wine tastings and I would love to have some art exhibitions….. Are there any Italian artists in Berlin who would be interested?

Where do you like to eat, drink and relax in Berlin?

I am a bit afraid of hip places, so I spend most of my time off in the Tempelhof Bezirk having coffee at Bioladen Grünschnabel or dinner at Kang Feng – an excellent Chinese restaurant.  

When I miss my favourite pizza, I go to Papa Pane in Mitte and on my day off I love to hop on my bike and have a coffee in Double Eye in Schöneberg.

Complete the following sentence ‘ For me, Berlin is…”

…. a colourful bouquet of flowers! Some of them have gone off already but only help the others to shine even brighter!

We really, really recommend you pop into the Amore Store and say hello to the always-lovely Kerstin – as these photos prove the products here are so beautiful you’ll want most of them displayed in your kitchen just to look incredible, we promise you!

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