Becky from our bakery team went to Kulmbach, Germany as part of a group of bakers from BAKO Wales (one of our suppliers) and IREKS. Here she writes about her experience.
"We had an amazing meal together, it was fascinating talking to people from other bakeries around the country, both big and small and specialising in different areas. Everyone on the trip was lovely, welcoming and open to discussing new ideas together.
We started bright and early to visit Kreuzer’s Bakeria, in Kulmbach. After a breakfast of local delicacies (including some pastries not dissimilar to the ones you see at Brød) we got a behind the scenes tour and unique insight into the crazy, yet brilliant, mind of owner, Jochen Kruezer.
Jochen told us how he's created a successful business when local bakeries are closing in that area due to supermarkets. After that we visited a bakery museum, giving an incredible insight into the history of baking in Germany, in particular its links to the brewing industry.
We went to Bamberg, a stunning, UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the only remaining true medieval cities in Germany. We were taken on a tour by lovely local guide Dirk, no mean feat in the 36°C heat! Luckily chilled refreshments were found on the way in the form of a local type of smoked beer (think frazzles crossed with Guinness!).
Final day and beerfest!
We went to the gigantic IREKS factory based in Kulmbach and were given some very fetching safety gear to wear. We saw the production plant which has robots driving huge vats around, collecting various ingredients to prepare specific products.
I enjoyed visiting the labs and seeing first-hand the ultra-trace analysis quality control checks, which are performed on each and every product both before it enters and leaves the factory.
After a trip around the test bakeries and sampling a very large number of products, we headed off to Kulmbach’s annual Beerfest. We enjoyed some delicious traditional German food and drank Kulmbach’s finest brews! Safe to say there were a few sore heads the morning after!
I had an absolutely incredible time, mainly due to the hospitality of everyone involved at IREKS, IREKS UK, Bako Wales, and of course my fellow bakers.
Massive thanks go to Maurice van Tongeren and Tak-Zing Yuen from IREKS, and Lee Pugh from IREKS UK for putting together such an unforgettable few days and Betina for sending me on the trip. It was a truly eye-opening experience in an area of the industry which as a small-scale artisan I have very little experience (but is totally brilliant - Editor).
I definitely came back with a few new product ideas and a new appreciation for what it means to be a baker!".