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Time to Chill

I thought I’d heard just about everything…but I have just learnt there are parts of the finer side of life that I’m just not yet acquainted with. I’m talking about cigars and the pastime and culture of enjoying them.

Maybe for me there is no enjoyment here as I find the smell unpleasant, but for many they are an indulgence, and for these people I have found the perfect accessory.

The Gaggenau IK66 wine storage and temperature control cabinet. Yes, this cabinet stores both wine and cigars in an ideal constant climate. In each of the three climate zones, the temperature can be precisely regulated from 4 to 21 degrees Celsius, at two humidity levels.

Cigar storage is catered for by way of an optional humidor. The beautiful Irish hand-crafted humidor allows the cigars to remain fresh over time, or mature at leisure. The cabinet’s internal shelves are purchased separately in accordance to your storage needs. This is truly the ultimate must-have for cigar smoking, wine drinking aficionados.

Interestingly enough, the Gaggenau brand and mastermind behind this extravagance was named after the town of Gaggenau where its factory was established in 1683 – obviously the refrigeration side of the brand developed a little later! The town is situated on the northern edge of the Black Forest in Germany.

Gaggenau’s rise to an internationally acclaimed brand of luxury began after World War II and continues to be a popular choice for the discerning.

However, there is more to choosing an appliance than brand only. For many, energy efficiency is a consideration. You may have noticed large stickers placed on appliances that provide a “star rating”. This rating has been developed to provide consumers with an easy way of comparing the energy efficiency of different models of appliances that do a similar job. The rating system has a minimum of one star and a maximum of six, shown in half star increments. Each star means an extra 10% or more savings in running costs. As many consumers are now well educated on, and indeed look for, this rating, it is in a manufacturer’s best interests to improve their products to gain the best possible star rating.

In terms of appliances that “chill”, the refrigerator is the single biggest power consumer in many households, with fridges and freezers utilising around 20% of total residential electricity consumption. A typical refrigerator uses between 600 and 900 kilowatt hours per year, and almost all households have at least one refrigerator, many two, and a large portion housing an additional separate freezer.

There are several basic points which can make a refrigerator draw more power. Two-door refrigerators with a top or bottom freezer are generally more efficient than side-by-side models. Automatic ice-makers and through-the-door dispensers will increase the energy used. If, say, you are comparing two different sized refrigerators that use the same amount of energy, the larger model can be considered more efficient because it keeps more space cold with the same amount of electricity – ah yes, there are lots of things to consider when comparing refrigeration appliances.

Appliance technology just keeps getting better. These days, the products you wish to cool will influence your choice of cooling appliance. Each brand has their own name tag for the different types of cooling and climate zones within their appliances.

Liebherr, for instance, have developed what they call the “BioFresh” system. The “BioFresh” drawers provide the perfect climate for keeping fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy products fresh and vitamin rich.

According to Liebherr, foods stored in the “BioFresh” compartments retain their appearance, flavours and vitamins for up to three times longer than in normal refrigeration. The ice-maker function within these fridges is permanently plumbed in and produces a constant supply of perfect ice cubes for every occasion. Once frozen, the cubes are automatically dispensed into the storage bin. The function is fully automatic, turning on and off as the bin fills and empties.

GE, which has designer options within their Liberty refrigerator range, has an ice-maker function which sits inside the refrigerator. I find this appealing as there are no bulky parts and cavities on the outside of the machine. It’s also interesting to note this range has a custom cool-bin which is great for food that needs to be thawed. The food thaws within hours inside the bin – very hygienic, especially for food like chicken which needs to be handled carefully at an appropriate temperature.

To reduce the risk of cross-contamination and odours, Electrolux refrigerators have the anti+bac™ bacteria protection system on all interiors that have direct contact with the food. This inhibits the growth of bacteria on treated surfaces for the life of the appliance. Another feature of Electrolux refrigerators is the Fresh Logic™ in-built deodoriser, which absorbs odours through a special deodorising filter. The deodoriser operates in conjunction with the normal operation of the refrigerator and will enhance further freshness of the appliance and contents inside. Now that’s smart thinking.

It’s very normal now to have access to freshly made ice somewhere in the kitchen or galley. If you use ice in large quantities, then the Hoshizaki Ice Machines are a must see. The free standing units make volumes of ice which is then dispensed into bins within the machines. The bins take varying capacities from 30kgs up to around 180kg and can produce from 60 up to a staggering 544kg of ice a day. That’s enough ice to sooth the bumps and bruises of a sports team for an entire season.

The only ice involved in drinking wine should be found solely in the ice-bucket containing the bottle, so there is no large ice making facility required here. However, the storage of wine is always a hot topic with wine buffs. For the serious collector and wine connoisseur Liebherr manufacture outstanding wine cabinets.

Now you can store champagne, red, and white wines all together in the one cabinet, in separate temperature controlled zones. This allows for perfect drinking temperatures for each type; or you can use one zone for your long term cellaring needs and the other two zones to store wine at ready-to-drink temperatures.
Talking about ready-to-drink temperatures, small bar fridges are very handy and popular for drinks and bottles that are used regularly.

They’re also ideal for boats as they can fit into small spaces such as the cockpit of an alfresco dining area or in the flybridge. Sometimes you wouldn’t even know they were there, as most models can be easily integrated to match with other cabinetry.

While new appliances are being developed constantly for our convenience, this wasn’t always the case. Take the chest freezer, for example. As a child I often remember being dispatched to get something out the freezer. I hated this, as the freezer was in the basement of our house, miles from anywhere – come to think of it, this was where everyone’s freezers were! The lid was really heavy, and always seemed to be sucked down hard. When I did manage to get the lid up (on tip toes), I was always scared of falling in. And why was it that whatever I had to get was always at the bottom? Thank goodness things have changed… and I have gotten taller. Freezers can now be found at home within the kitchen. The Side-by-Side scenario of an upright fridge alongside a freezer is a good choice.

What’s great about today’s freezers is that they have defrost functions and pull-out drawers and trays. Unfortunately this doesn’t stop the frozen peas from escaping, but it does save on the big trip to the basement or garage.

As appliances go, there always seems to be a great deal of emphasis placed on the overall aesthetics, probably because they are highly visible and often bulky items. Over recent years we have seen styles change from soft curved edges and handles to the more contemporary look of square edges and square handles.

Finishes have also changed. Once available only in white (it’s probably how the term “whiteware” came about), now on offer are the increasingly popular versions of stainless steel finishes. While some people like their fridge on display, others prefer everything hidden. GE has a rather smart looking fridge called the Manhattan 251AG. They boast that it can be individually customised to suit your needs with their designer integration features. Any colour/design finish can be achieved so the refrigerator can match your cupboards, splash back or interior paint colour.

It’s best to stay “cool” when choosing your appliances as they commonly affect surrounding cabinetry, and to replace an unsatisfactory appliance can be a real inconvenience. The best places to get good advice on appliances are those that have a decent variety of goods. You’ll generally find that the sales people are well informed and can help you compare what you are purchasing.