It was back in the 1960s when Roger Daltrey of The Who first belted out the classic "I can see for miles". It’s the sort of song that pops into your head walking round Iba, the world’s biggest bakery show.
And why is it that, in the one place you’d really like to see those foot-massaging gadgets with cold bubbling water, they are totally absent. Also absent to a certain degree were British visitors. They did come and visit the nine large halls and the good news is that most came to make a purchase decision. But fewer came to browse, according to several exhibitors.
By now you will have gathered that the show was very large indeed. In fact, according to the organisers, there were over 1,050 exhibitors 71 more than last time, in Munich three years ago.
President of the German Bakers Federation Peter Becker said the fact that bakery and confectionery represents one of the oldest, most important trades in the world was reflected in Iba’s home town of Düsseldorf this year, which has 2,479 bakers and confectioners and where every single inhabitant spends almost E200 (£186) a head on baked goods per year.
But what were the trends? In machinery it was flexibility and energy-saving. Do you want your dough straight or curled from the same line? Do you want faster, easier-to-clean machinery? Would you like energy-saving insulation in the ovens, more effective distribution of diverse heat to bake different products at the same time? Or do you want to recycle oven heat to power other equipment in the bakery?
In breads it was more about seeds and grains. And did you know, for example, that the Spanish are becoming very keen on crustless bread, while the UK is waking up more to the fact it has a market in care homes for the elderly.
In yeast it was all about using ultra-violet light to encourage natural development of vitamin D, currently making the headlines as a health necessity. And in confectionery it was the brightest, most sparkling glazes imaginable.
Finally, back to machinery and remote diagnostics well it now comes complete with a camera so you can really see what the hiccup is. In future issues, we shall look in more detail at the launches British Baker managed to see in our two days.
But Germany itself, the host country to Iba, is proud of its baking traditions. German ingredients and mixes manufacturer Ireks had a huge stand that was packed to the rafters with visiting bakers who had plenty of breads, cakes and desserts to admire. Maurice Van Tongeren of Ireks said: "We had our busiest weekend ever, with visitors up over 25% compared to the last show in Munich. Shortly we will be hosting another visit by the UK’s National Asso-ciation of Master Bakers to our premises at Kulmbach."
Conscious of the fact that British tastes are different, Ireks introduced three new products for the British market. An Artisano mix for rustic-style country breads with a taste and aroma profile of malts and sourdough, gives a moist crumb texture and a crispy crust. A confectionery mix, Croccante needs only to be blended with nuts for example, almonds, hazelnuts, or peanuts for an instant Floren-tine base that can be used in the traditional classic recipe, or shaped as a cup base or made into a heart. It can be filled or topped with fruit or chocolate, mixed with seeds and even be used as a tasty biscuit. Adding water gives it a good shine.
The macaroon mix, Mon Macaron, can be used for the traditional style macaroons or the currently popular multi-coloured mini bite-sized versions, containing pistachio or chocolate or champagne or raspberry flavoured fillings. These make a good treat with coffee or lovely presents, instead of wine. They can be wrapped in attractive packaging and also make an excellent Christmas gift idea.
Van Tongeren said: "Our motto is: ’Time for more.’ More creativity, more individuality." And of course, more time for the baker to have to himself."
British Baker visited Iba on the Wednesday and Thursday, following the show’s opening on the Sunday. It was still busy, but it was also possible to meet exhibitors in a quieter environment than on the busy Sunday.
The next Iba will be in Munich 2012 just enough time to order in the foot spas, then.