AGA Goes Global with a Trip to China

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China-based British businessman Chris Ruffle has chosen an AGA cooker for his kitchen, after building a Scottish baronial castle next to his vineyard in Shandong.

The AGA brand has long been featured in homes up and down the UK, and is generally favoured by those wanting to create a traditional British kitchen. For the first time however, an AGA cooker has been chosen for the kitchen of a Scottish baronial castle, built next to a vineyard in the Shandong province of China.

The owner of both the castle and the vineyard, coincidentally, China’s first vineyard in granite soil, is British businessman Chris Ruffle. Something of a pioneer, Ruffle is not the kind of person to follow the norm. Having studied Mandarin many years before it became a widely used business language, Ruffle later moved to China with his wife, where he became the first person in China to plant a vineyard in granite soil, explaining that the flavours produced better complement a Chinese palate.

The businessman then chose to build a Scottish baronial castle next to his vineyard. For the kitchen, he chose a claret coloured 4-oven AGA cooker. Although not officially sold in China yet, Ruffle was able to negotiate a delivery and the cooker was transported to Yentai port before being installed by a New-Zealand-based AGA engineer.

Ruffle also purchased matching AGA wood-burning stoves and Fired Earth tiles to complement his claret AGA cooker. In an interview for the new AGA Living magazine, he explains that his kitchen staff, all of whom are well trained in western cooking techniques, had ‘no complaints’ using the AGA cooker and have produced a steady stream of cakes, gateaux and breads.

He told the company that the locals of Shandong have an interesting use for their favoured wood-burning stoves. In the homes of Shandong locals, the pipes of the wood-burning stoves run out of the kitchen and underneath the inhabitants’ beds. This allows them to keep the mattresses warm thanks to the heat produced when cooking food.

Kathryn Lowe, Marketing Manager, said: “We love to hear from our valued AGA customers. When we heard about Chris Ruffle, we were excited to investigate further. He’s one of our more unusual customers and we find it fascinating that an AGA cooker is now being used in the kitchen of a Scottish baronial castle, next to a vineyard in China.”

The full story can be found from page 38 of the AGA Living magazine. To view the full range of AGA products online, visit http://www.agaliving.com/.

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Laura James