Introducing the best fridge in the world...
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
“It’s the best fridge in the world,” murmurs the gentleman from Sub-Zero & Wolf, who is clearly biased, but backs up his claim with some compelling evidence. As the doors open wide, I am bathed in an ice-white glow. I marvel at the pristine shelves laden with fresh produce, and the unusual but distinct smell of nothing whatsoever. That, I’m told, is down to the NASA-grade air-purification system. “Every 20 minutes it removes ethylene gases, mould and moisture,” he says. “You can keep fruit and veg fresher for a lot longer. Lemons, six months. Strawberries, four weeks. Cut an avocado in half, put it in there, it’ll stay green.”
Such air-purification shenanigans come as standard in fridges by Sub-Zero & Wolf, which has been producing them since the late ’50s. Founder Westye Bakke, an engineer from Wisconsin, built the first one in his garage to keep insulin cool for his diabetic son. This latest model, however, stands more than 7ft tall, measures 48in across, has 607 litres of capacity in the fridge and 213 litres in the freezer. They’re both frost-free (naturally) and run on separate compressors to prevent cross-contamination.
Colossal it may be, but the design is exquisite: solid metal, no exterior rivets, screws or joins. Lighting under every shelf means that all its contents are easily visible, reducing the likelihood of a lump of ginger sitting forgotten for weeks behind a jar of mayonnaise. An automatic “night mode” kicks in after dark, calming the lighting to prevent you being dazzled during midnight feasts. Nano-coated glass stops spills from spreading; instead, they hold their shape like blobs of mercury, just waiting to be wiped up. Its ice cubes are designed to fit perfectly in the bottom of an American whisky tumbler, and if you need lots, “party mode” bumps up the rate of production by 40 per cent.
Regardless of frills and features, it refrigerates like a boss. Open the doors, load up your weekly shop, shut them again, and it’ll be back down to 3ºC within a minute. Less decay. Less waste. Loads of room on the door for magnets. Sub-Zero & Wolf French Door Refrigerator + Freezer, £23,868
Join the fan club
As someone who spends the summer dabbing at a perspiring brow with a large handkerchief, I welcome any gadget that might stop me sweltering. The Coolify2S sits comfortably around the neck, rather like headphones on standby. In “fan mode” it pushes cool air up the sides of the face at one of three selectable speeds, while in “cooling mode” the neckband itself also drops in temperature to provide an additional chill. (In cooler months that can be set to “heat mode”, like some kind of hi-tech scarf.) Having charged it up and worn it while trying to mend a broken trellis in a garden on a warm day – the toughest of tests – I can vouch for its efficacy. Travellers on the London Underground, take note. Torras Coolify2S, from $229
The icemaker cometh
You wouldn’t normally describe something weighing 23kg as “portable”, but given that the Glacier is a fridge-freezer, it gets a pass. More attractive than your average coolbox, its target temperature can be set via the touch panel or the EcoFlow app and reached in a matter of minutes. You can also place a divider down the middle and specify the temperature of each side, from -25ºC up to 10ºC. The killer feature: an integrated ice maker – apparently the first in a machine of its type – which delivers 18 lumps of ice in around 10-12 minutes. It runs for up to 40 hours on one charge, but can also be powered via mains, a car charger (cable included) or solar panels (sold separately). EcoFlow Glacier Portable Refrigerator, £1,268
While studying design at Sussex University, Kevin Jabou dreamed of superseding the ice bucket and plastic wine cooler with a device that could keep an open bottle of wine at a precise temperature. After years of work and finessing by ex-Dyson engineers, the Kaelo is the result. Drop it into any surface with mains power underneath (most typically a kitchen island) and that’s that; no laborious set-up, just touch the rim to choose the mode (white or red), pop in the bottle and it’ll maintain its existing temperature to within 1ºC. (A boost mode can deliver an extra chill if needed.) Not everyone will relish routing a chunky circle out of a worktop, but Kaelo handles all that as part of the deal. Kaelo Plus, £996, kaelo.co.uk
A drop of the cold stuff
Not everyone relishes a plunge into cold water, but growing numbers of people are becoming mildly addicted to the accompanying feel-good hit. Leeds-based Brass Monkey makes a range of ice baths where the water hovers around freezing point, but this barrel and chiller combination – designed primarily for outdoor use – is less hardcore: a low of 3ºC, but adjustable to any temperature you can tolerate. Each barrel, formerly used to age whisky in Speyside, is refurbished, sealed with resin and attached via two pipes to a chiller that lurks nearby, cooling and cleaning the water. A good first step on your “cold journey”, as Brass Monkey puts it. Brass Monkey Barrel & Chiller, £5,750