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Friday, 19 March 2010

Cherrapeño Visits Miele in Germany!

Food, machines and an insight into the Miele company.

Miele flags 7905 R

When you get an email asking if you would like to go to Germany, courtesy of Miele - the high quality domestic appliances and commercial equipment company, don't jump up & down and scream like a crazy person.... take a few deep breaths and calmly hit the send button with the words 'YES PLEASE'!! (Then you can scream with delight!)

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So this is how I came to be on a flight early last week, spending 3 days in Germany with 2 people from Miele, 4 lovely ladies from the press and 2 other bloggers - Dustfluffgrit and Machines That Go Bing. We were flown to the Miele head office in Gütersloh, to visit the museum, showrooms and their state of the art factories; also included was a fabulous active cooking evening. In between, there was plenty of good food, wine and great conversation. We were accompanied by Jörg Huckenbeck from Miele, a very knowledgeable expert and an exceptional host.

After a short flight (just over an hour) we headed to Gütersloh, stopping off enroute at Waldhaus an de Miälkwellen, a very nice restaurant with a delicious menu. As this is a food blog, I couldn't help but take some photos of the dishes that I had while I was there - but by the end of the trip, no one even batted an eyelid! Anyway, I chose what was the best thing I ate during the trip (although later you will see that there were many 'best things'). It was a pumpkin soup with an amazing chilli oil and cream - something I am going to try to recreate when pumpkin comes back into season. This was followed by baked salmon on a bed of creamed spinach, served with roasted potatoes, and although we were all too full to choose a dessert, some German cheesecake was bought to the table. Of course, I had to try it and can report that it was very nice.

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The restaurant

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Pumpkin soup with chilli oil and cream, served with pumpkin bread

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Baked salmon on a bed of creamed spinach

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Cheesecake

Now, on to the interesting part of the trip. You might not think that household appliances could really be that interesting - but when you see how they have evolved through the ages and how we have come to have the equipment that we use today, it is truly fascinating.
The Miele museum, whilst being very modern in design, has some wonderful old appliances that were developed over a hundred years ago. I loved the first butter churners, the wooden tub washing machines and the vintage vacuum cleaners. Everything is beautifully laid out, and you follow an illuminated red line, which means you don't miss anything. I discovered that Miele made bikes and even cars in the early days! The museum is open to everyone, so if you are ever in the area, be sure to visit.

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The company founders

Miele butter churner 7690 R
Hand-operated butter churner. A cog driven shaft beat the cream until it turned to butter. Made for use on smaller farms, it soon found it's way into domestic use

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Early washing machine - the tub was made from top quality seasoned oak, and the base from genuine pitch pine

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Cradle washing machine

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Early cooler for food

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Miele vacuum

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Washing machines in the museum - cute design!

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Miele made bikes...

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Even a few cars!

That evening we went to a delightful restaurant, Glück und Seligkeit, where we had some wonderful food. Unfortunately it was quite dark, I think the lights were lowered and we ate by candlelight, so I was unable to take photos - I was wishing for my tripod and macro lens!

Miele coach 7763 R

The following day, we were taken to the factory at Bielefeld. This is where the main production of the vacuum cleaners and dishwashers take place. I couldn't take photos here, but can tell you that it is an incredible sight, with state of the art machinery and equipment. The vacuum factory houses 83 yellow robots alone, they are almost human and quite mesmerising! We saw the minute detail that goes into the production and how every dishwasher is tested for perfection.

Lunch was at a very popular restaurant called Waterbör and the food was excellent. I had a magnificent platter of appetizers, including a large prawn that had been wrapped in a strip of potato and deep fried, lobster and smoked salmon. I then chose their 'famous' crispy duck, which came with fried potatoes and colourful red cabbage. Both of these two dishes were sublime and could become my new favourites, but then.... there was dessert. Another platter of fruit, fruit sorbets, nougatine ice cream and chocolate mousse. Heaven!

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The restaurant

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Appetizer plate

Famous crispy duck dish
Crispy duck

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Dessert platter

Trying to stay composed after all the food and wine we had devoured was quite difficult, a nap at this time would have been most welcome, but a visit to the Miele showroom and the Professional showroom awaited us. Here, there was much lusting over the household products and for me, it was the kitchen appliances!

The following photos are from the showroom, look how big it is!

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The Professional showroom

Miele steam engine 7914
There is even a steam engine (no. 1241) on display! It was in use until late 2000 for backup generation to cover peak demand

We were then treated to a very special presentation, something that was one of the highlights of the trip. It was the CAVE - a fantastic "Computer Aided Virtual Environment", that allows products that do not yet exist in reality to appear in a virtual world. With a cost of approximately 1.6 million Euros, the CAVE is a highly sophisticated system and you can read more about it in this press release as it's too technical for me to explain - I can say that it's a very weird sensation to be able to put your head inside a washing machine that isn't there!!

There were a couple of hours of free time and I explored the town of Gütersloh, buying some Easter eggs from a chocolate shop.

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Dinner was lots of fun - an active cooking event that we all participated in. I am going to do a separate post for this and will include a little on a new product - the combi steamer oven.

Our final day was spent visiting the Gütersloh factory, a huge tour including the pre-assembly, enamelling shop, electronics production, final assembly and the high bay distribution warehouse. There is even a train that comes into the plant to pick up the appliances for distribution. We saw the coffee machines being tested and went into an extremely cold testing room, followed by another room that tests products like fridges to see if they could survive in an extreme heat environment.

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Tiramisu for dessert

After lunch at the Miele guest restaurant, we had a presentation of the new combi steamer and were joined by one of the present owners, Dr. Miele! There was a closing discussion with Mrs Portmann from the PR department before departing for home.

Many thanks to the people from Miele for inviting me on the trip, to Zoe and Thom for looking after us, and to all at Miele headquarters for their time and hospitality. I had a wonderful time and will never look at a washing machine in the same way again!

M for Miele! 7678 R

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.
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24 comments:

Bellini Valli said...

What a once in a lifetime experience Nic. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

meemalee said...

Fantastic! I really wish I'd been able to take time off work to come to this!

Choclette said...

What a fantastic trip - a lot packed into it too. Photographs seem good even without tripod etc. Look forward to hearing about the cooking adventure.

Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

How lucky were you!!!

Jules said...

Looks like a fantastic time. Like Meemalee I was also invited but couldn't get the time off work.

I look forward to reading the follow up post.

Joy said...

Fascinating! I love the old machinery! I wish they could still look like that (and work like the best modern ones!).

Jan said...

What a fantastic time you had Nic! All that FOOD!! All those kitchen appliances!
I'm looking forward to your next post about the cooking event.

muralimanohar said...

Ahh! Those appliances are awesome! :D What a cool trip! :D

grace said...

i think the kitchen in heaven must look like that. :)
thanks for letting us vicariously visit germany through you, nic!

WizzyTheStick said...

What an amazing adventure! Every foodie's dream.

Sam said...

That's amazing,I'm so jealous!

I love all those old bikes!

Margaret said...

Brilliant posting Nic.
How lucky are you - it looks as though you had the time of your life.

nipitinthebud said...

how fantastic. Look forward to the second post about the cooking event.

Half Baked said...

WOW to say I'm sooo jealous is an understatement! Lucky you:) It looks like you had an amazing once in a lifetime experience!! Can't wait to see more!

dustfluffgrit said...

You took some really great photos, Nic - and to think I was standing right by you when you took some of them! You make it look so easy! :)

The food on the trip was amazing - I'm struggling to nominate one meal as the best, since they were all so good! My starter and main at the Waterbör Restaurant were two favourites, and the dessert at Glück und Seligkeit.

Dragana said...

What a great opportunity for you and how generous of Miele. All that delicious food - you lucky lady!

Lisa-Marie said...

I am a great big geek, and I love food, so your trip sounds perfect to me. That steam engine is utterly fantastic! If you are ever in Glasgow, you must go to the Trasport Museum, and Summerlee Industrial Museum, I think you'd find it really interesting!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

What an amazing trip, the food looks brilliant.

diva said...

Check out the food cooler! OK i should so have totally went. Why did I turn it down. :) Looks like you had fun and ate well Nic. nice xx

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

What fun!

Great photos, too. Certainly looks as though you had some lovely food...

What was your 'favourite' piece of Miele equipment?

Cynthia said...

Thanks for taking me along, albeit virtually!

Nicisme said...

Thanks for all the comments! Wish you all could have come too.

dustfluffgrit - I've seen your photos and they are fabulous! You should try taking some food ones too!

Lisa-Marie - thanks - I will check out the museum if I am ever up that way.

sforkfulofspaghetti - I have to say that I'm in love with the induction wok! But then, the steam oven is pretty cool - especially for bread....

Anne said...

I am completely green with envy and gutted I couldn't go with you!

Looks like a fabulous trip and lots and lots of lovely food! Glad you had a great time :)

Jamie said...

I have to say that I am fascinated by museums like that. I love peeking into how people lived in the past, eery and exciting all at once. What a fabulous experience you are having!