Packaging Coin Twist Tobacco Tins Part 2.

See here for part 1.

Animation of tobacco pressing cycle – courtesy of Lee’s Trading (Kunming) Co. Ltd – China

Tobacco Press
In the primary tobacco processing cycle, the world over, the tobacco baling press is a one vertical cylinder operation. The moisturised and still warm tobacco lamina (loose leaves without the stems) are conveyed to the press over a conveyor belt and dumped into the press chamber. Due to the absolute disoriented character of the tobacco leaves as the fall into the press chamber the pressing action in a single vertical movement is likely to result in an irregular consistency of the pressed tobacco. Or in other words the single press ram operating in only a downwards direction in the relatively narrow, but very high (5 to 7 metres) press chamber filled with the loosely dumped tobacco leaves results without any doubt in a rather uneven compression of the tobacco lamina. Which consequently results in several “loose” areas, particularly in the utmost bottom corners of the 100-200 kg. tobacco bale or even worse a too forcefully pressed top layer of the bale, giving problems in the secondary process step, when the bales are being disintegrated to feed the lamina into the slicers for the finished product machinery (cigarettes among others). This argument is clearly visible in the animation of the pressing cycle from Lee Trading.

Building extension for a one-direction vertical tobacco press – courtesy of Lee’s Trading (Kunming) Co. Ltd – China

Furthermore, an exorbitant large force must be exerted on the application of a single pressing ram to achieve a sufficient compression of the tobacco lamina in the press box. This large force in one direction enhances the risk of the disoriented tumbling tobacco leaves to break during the pressing cycle increasing the rust of tobacco dust. While it is well-known in the industry, that tobacco is very springy and the chance that the tobacco leaves spring back into the free area as soon as the vertical press ram is lifted back to its original resting position, is very much a possibility, which requires extra pressing time to “deadpan” the tobacco leaves. To make this pressing system more disadvantageous the construction of the exceptionally long hydraulic cylinder to operate in a 5 to 6 m. pressing chamber is very unfavourable, as it requires not only a huge steel platform around it but also the factory building to be some 13 m. high up in the air (as the image shows), which increases the building costs tremendously.

Drawing from patent JPS5341497A

To eliminate all these disadvantages of the existing and well-known tobacco presses I designed, developed and built for Société Nationale des Tabacs & Allumettes (SNTA), a two-step tobacco press (my patent: DE2738663A1 and JPS5341497A) in conjunction with an automatic tobacco lamina crate assembling and filling machine with conveyors, shaping block and pneumatically operated grippers preceding the filling and pressing station (my patent: DE2738664A1). Although the press pushed the tobacco lamina straight into the assembled 100 kg. wooden crates, similar to the idea for Theodorus Niemeyer to press the pipe tobacco straight into the rosette positioned in the bottom of the tin, the similarity stops there and consequently I will not describe the assembling of the wooden tobacco crates here.

Two-step tobacco press – drawing from patent DE2738663A1

Two-step tobacco press
In contrast to the universally implemented tobacco presses with one vertical pressing ram, my tobacco press uses a two-step operation, compressing the tobacco leaves successively by a horizontal and a vertical ram. The press chamber, in which both the horizontal and vertical compressing action is undertaken, is a rectangular parallel-epipedon from which the two side walls are stationary. The back wall is movable as part of the horizontal press ram, which after the horizontal movement forward transforms into the back wall of the vertical press chamber and the front wall, which functions as the stationary wall of the vertical press ram. The top is over a length of 2/3 of the pressing chamber open to allow the entry of the loose lamina from the weighing unit. The other 1/3 is the bottom plate of the vertical press ram.

In the old days tobacco was pressed like this

In contrast to the open top, the bottom of the press chamber is for 2/3 of its length closed and for 1/3 open to allow the vertical press ram to push the comprised tobacco into the under this opening positioned wooden tobacco shipping case. The dimensions of the vertical press ram are equal to those of the tobacco shipping case, so that the press can push the horizontally pre-compressed leaves straight into the shipping case. With both press rams in their rest positions the dimensions of the press chamber is large enough to receive the loosely dumped 100 kg tobacco lamina from the weighing scale positioned on top of the press chamber and fed by a conveyor belt, moving the leaves from the primary processing section of the plant. In addition to the quality of the compression by this two-step pressing device, the whole system has some other very significant advantages compared to the single vertical tobacco press.

The newly built SNTA factory in Algiers. You see on this building no extension in height for the tobacco press

As the image above here shows, the single vertical tobacco press needs a very high compressing chamber, some 5 to 6 metres, and consequently a hydraulic system with a cylinder of another 5 to 6 metres, resulting in a total construction height of some 12 metres and more with a very expensive hydraulic installation to operate it. This requires extra and very expensive building facilities as well as a huge steel construction to secure the operation. The exorbitant hydraulic force required for the vertical pressing of some 100 to 200 kg. loose tobacco leaves, requires a heavy-duty design of the foundation of the press. Remember action = reaction. When you push down with force you have to secure the steel construction on a frame/foundation, which can eliminate the pressing force (if not your press and steel construction is lifted from its feet). This is it. I hope I have clearly explained the operation procedure, as well as the typical advantages of the two-step tobacco press design. Anyway for Theodorus Niemeyer it was sufficient to invite me to consider a redesign in miniature for its 2-oz pipe tobacco tins Flying Dutchman.

Redesign in miniature
In the first part of this article I have already specified the various functions of the automatic packaging for the tobacco tin. Go there to refresh your memory, while here I will concentrate on the pressing cycle. You can argue that the extra costs for the heavy-duty steel construction, the exorbitant long hydraulic cylinder and the extra costs for the height of the building, have nothing to do with the 2-oz tobacco tin, but that’s not quite correct. Pipe tobacco is very springy and the volume of 2 oz (50 gr.) loose pipe tobacco is larger than the volume available by the rosette in its unfolded form. It requires a hydraulic cylinder with significant force to press the tobacco and keep it down into the tin, so that the packaging girl is able to situate the plastic film on top of it, fold the rosette and close the tin with the lid. It is quite a construction (action = reaction) and above all hydraulics are expensive.

Empty Flying Dutchman tin

The automatic line I built was fully pneumatic, including its controls. That means that the two-step tobacco press also was pneumatic, which made it much more cost effective and faster. The front of the horizontal press ram was a half-circle the size of the unfolded rosette in the tobacco tin. Remember after moving forward the front of the horizontal ram becomes the side wall of the vertical press ram. To complete the design the stationary back wall of the press chamber was designed as the other half of the circle, ending up as a full circle when the horizontal press ram was moved forward and the vertical ram moved consequently in a press chamber the size of the inner diameter of the unfolded rosette, pushing the pre-compressed tobacco straight into the rosette situated in the bottom of the tobacco tin. After placing the circular piece of plastic film on top of the compressed tobacco and folding the paper rosette, the top lid of the tobacco tin could be pressed on the bottom and the automatic operation was finished. It was quite a nice design and worked out perfectly.

Anton M. Steeman

Packaging Coin Twist Tobacco Tins Part 1.

Ton, the father of a good friend of mine

As I told in my Humble Beginnings part 1 blogpost one of my influences to start pipe-smoking is Ton, the father of a long time friend of mine. The last half year we spoke quite a lot with each other. We can get along great, I mean, he smokes pipe, I smoke pipe, he likes whisky, I like whisky. ‘Nuff said right? Ton is what I call an old school pipe-smoker. He smokes from just a couple of pipes until they are utterly used up to the point that he has to hold them together with duct tape. As far as tobacco goes he only smokes a couple of blends (preferably Amphora) and that’s it. So I helped him get some other pipes and pointed him towards the blends of Motzek, which have a good price/quality ratio. Ton is a retired packaging engineer so when the subject came up I asked what he had done in the past. To my surprise it turned out that he was one of the pioneers if not the pioneer in the automatization of the packaging of the (for us pipes-smokers) well known coin twist tobacco tin. So I asked him to write a guest-blog about this. Beware, it sometimes gets a bit technical but nonetheless it is a very interesting read!

Flying Dutchman

In the world of pipe tobacco the so called 50 gr. “coin twist tobacco tin” was (and still is) one of the most popular packages for pipe tobacco. One of the well-known brands in this category was Flying Dutchman, manufactured by the Dutch tobacco company Royal Theodorus Niemeyer Ltd. in Groningen, currently part of the multinational British American Tobacco (BAT). In that epoch, we talk about the 50’s and 60’s of the last century, the whole process of filling and packing the coin twist tin was a manual process. During the mid-70’s, when all types of industry were looking into automating manual production processes (particularly packaging consumer goods, as labour costs were increasing) Theodorus Niemeyer invited my engineering company (which specialised in packaging technology) to design and build an automatic packaging line for the Flying Dutchman 50 gr. coin twist tobacco tin.

Packing the old way in the 3 Nuns factory

The packaging line had the following operations to perform:

  • Picking a tin bottom from a large box in which they were freely stored and align it properly into the conveying system of the packaging line.
  • Separating one single paper rosette from a fiercely pressed stack of rosettes, (we used an air stream to separate the rosettes from each other) and place the rosette into the bottom of the tobacco tin.
  • The third step was the most important and complicated one. Weighing 50 gr. loose pipe tobacco and nicely press it into the rosette placed in the bottom of the tin in such a way that after pressing the rosette could be folded close, like flower petals close for the night. As said this was the most critical step as tobacco in general is very springy and tends to return to its original volume (which was larger than the volume of the unfolded rosette), consequently making it almost impossible to fold the rosette over the tobacco and close the tin.
  • In the manual operation the packaging girls could correct by holding the hand press down for a longer period and put the cap of the tobacco tin immediately on top of the bottom using the cap as second press to keep the springy tobacco under control.
  • As the automatic packaging line had to replace a row of packaging girls, we didn’t have the luxury to hold the pressed tobacco down for an extended time. And that brings us to our patented tobacco pressing system. More about that in a minute, as it’s the heart of the development and based on one of my patents.
  • The last steps of the automatic packaging line are the positioning of a thin circular piece of plastic film to cover the “open space” on top of the tobacco after the paper rosette is folded closed.
  • And finally the selection, aligning, positioning and pressing down of the lid of the tobacco tin.

Royal Theodorus Niemeyer tobacco factory in Groningen

It is important to keep in mind that it was the 70’s of last century and there were not yet available any electronic devices, no pc’s or plc’s, no computerised automatization. Everything had to be executed either pneumatically, mechanically or electrically by means of relays and similar devices. This made for huge and complicated control panels. I have a second observation to make. As I designed and built this Theodorus Niemeyer packaging line, as well as the two tobacco packaging lines on which this was based, some 50 years ago, I have unfortunately no technical drawings or photographs to show any more.

The invitation by Theodorus Niemeyer to design and build the tobacco packaging line had a prelude, as I had just finished a large project for the design and construction of two tobacco packaging lines for Société Nationale des Tabacs et Allumettes (SNTA) in Algeria. Although the Algerian tobacco lines were large installations for the leaves and stems tumbling out of the primary processing section and pressed and packaged in large 100 kg. wooden folding cases, Niemeyer obviously had the impression that the revolutionary pressing cycle I had developed for the Algerian lines could be built in miniature for their 50 gr. Flying Dutchman tobacco tins.

And that brings us to the heart of the problem of packaging loose tobacco. In other words I have to explain the special design of the press cycle for the Algerian lines to justify the reasoning that Theodorus Niemeyer thought a miniature design for the 50 gr. Flying Dutchman was feasible to solve its problem. I’m well aware that most readers of this blog have at least basic knowledge about processing tobacco, but it is essential for this article to know something about tobacco processing and consequently I take the liberty to include a section about this topic. Note: As I said before I have no photos, images or drawings of the original SNTA packaging lines I developed. It’s too long ago and by wandering throughout the world I lost all of my archives, documents and much more. To illustrate this article I use some images from Lee’s Trading (Kunming) Co. Ltd in China. I have no experience with this company, so don’t see it as an endorsement, there is no commercial interest involved from my side. The pictures are for illustration purposes only.

Tobacco Processing
Tobacco leaves undergo a number of processes before they finally become the finished product, as a cigarette, rolling tobacco, pipe tobacco or another tobacco product. Whilst there are commercial variations in tobacco processes, particularly in respect to the different consumer products, the basic process steps can be divided into two distinct phases:

  • Primary processing where tobacco stem is separated from the leaf (lamina) and both leaf and stem prepared to the stage at which it is ready for inclusion in the finished product.
  • Secondary processing includes forming the cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco or any other consumer product and packing.

Some factories at which tobacco materials are produced undertake both primary and secondary processing. Others undertake either one or the other alone, either sending the tobacco which has been subjected to primary processing elsewhere for secondary processing.

Tobacco lamina after threshing

And that was the situation in Algeria. The new to-be-built plant in Algiers, the capital of Algeria at the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, was a typical primary processing plant and distribution centre, supplying the pre-prepared and pressed tobacco in wooden boxes to the secondary processing plants (cigarettes) spread throughout the country, even in the far south halfway the Sahara desert (I had a beautiful trip to visit this plant going over the Atlas Mountains). The preliminary processing of tobacco involves curing the leaf (either by air, heat or sunlight) followed by threshing to separate the lamina and the stem. The tobacco is first subject to a conditioning process using steam to ensure that the tobacco is sufficiently pliable to allow the subsequent processing steps to be completed without damage to the material. In some circumstances additional materials may be added at this stage for flavouring the tobacco.

Horizontal threshing unit – photo courtesy of Lee’s Trading (Kunming) Co. Ltd – China

Although the composition of tobacco threshing and re-drying varies due to different factories, all threshing and re-drying lines include three basic procedures: threshing, lamina and stem re-drying and the pre-pressing and packaging procedure. The threshing unit is one of the key equipment in the primary process step and it has decisive effects on the quality of finished products. Precise separation and counter-flow winnowing ensure good lamina-stem separation results. Following the threshing cycle the loose and pre-processed lamina are conveyed to the pressing and packaging system, where the lamina with required moisture and temperature is pressed into shape, then packed and strapped in bales for easy storage and transportation. The system has a metering check weighing function.

See here for part 2:

Nothing tops Groningen

dutch pipe smoker nothing tops groningenAll the way in the North-East of The Netherlands lies the province of Groningen with its capital (also called) Groningen. Very handy when I had geographical tests in primary school, never got it wrong. Groningen is an old city, once a member of the German Hanseatic League, with a rich tobacco history, of which sadly little is left.. On a cold, windy but dry Saturday Ellen and I embarked upon a journey to the North. For most Dutch people Groningen feels like the other end of the civilized world. Since we are already living halfway The Netherlands for us it just was a 1.5 hour ride with the train. Before we went I already looked up (cultural) places to visit and found them: the Groninger Museum, the Universiteits Museum and the Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum.

Art by Joost van den Toorn

Art by Joost van den Toorn

We started at the Groninger Museum since it was near the beautiful train station. Just look up if you are there, then you will know what I mean. The entry-fee for the museum was cheaper than normal. It turned out they were between expositions. Luckily there was still enough to see. The museum tends towards modern art (normal-wise not my favourite) but to my delight they had some interesting pieces. I especially had to laugh when I saw some sculptures made by Joost van Den Toorn. I mean, a statue on birds legs of the naked upside down part of a woman with a big cross put in the vagina is bound to bring a smile on my face. There also were some older paintings and like always I did my game of “spot the smoking pipe”. And I found some!

img_5495After a warm cup of tea and a cappuccino for Ellen at one of the many coffee-shops in the city centre (no not that kind of coffee-shop you potheads..) we slowly walked to the Universiteits Museum. The entrance lies a bit hidden but luckily Ellen did not have her eyes in her pocket and spotted it. The best thing about this museum is that it is free! That always makes this miserly Dutchman happy. If you are looking for mind boggling art, don’t come here. The museum has an array of objects like medical specimens, models to scientific instruments and ethnological objects. It also has the consultation room of Aletta Jacobs, the first female student in the Netherlands, the first female doctor and the first woman that obtained a doctorate. The most impressive was the anatomy room, where anatomical preparations are organized as an anatomical theatre. A kind of creepy but certainly interesting.

Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum

Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum

The last museum we visited was the Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum. It is located in one of the most beautiful medieval buildings in Groningen, a big merchants-house with a Gothic façade dating back to the 15th century. Until 1 January 2011 it housed the Niemeyer Tobacco-museum. Sadly, in 2010 it was decided to close the tobacco-museum because Niemeyer withdrew their funding for it. It did not fit in British American Tobacco’s (owner of Niemeyer) policies for the future of the company.. Without their funding it was not feasible to keep it open. The collection of the museum has been split up. Articles that the museum had received as a gift or were on loan from people have been, as much as possible, returned. Other important pieces became part of the own collection of the Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum or went to other musea. Most of the then remaining items have been sold at an auction at Christie’s in Amsterdam. The few articles that remained are kept in the archives of the Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum for safe-keeping. But to my delight I discovered that quite a few of smoking related items were exhibited.

Het wapen van Rotterdam

Het wapen van Rotterdam

But first a small history about tobacco in Groningen. Once upon a time there were many smaller and larger factories in Groningen which produced chewing or smoking tobacco. During the years a number of them were swallowed by Theodorus Niemeyer, but most companies threw the towel into the ring after a short or longer time. Now once well-known names like Lieftinck, Gruno, Kranenburg and Koning only live forth in memory or on commemorative stones on façades. In 1854 there were (according to an old address-book) 28 tobacco manufacturers in Groningen under which F. Lieftinck and Th. Niemeijer. Both had been active for only a short while. Theodorus Niemeijer started in 1848, after he took over the wholesale business and shop “Het wapen van Rotterdam” from his father.

Gruno tobacco factory at the Winschoterkade, ca. 1926

Gruno tobacco factory at the Winschoterkade, ca. 1926

In 1849 (or 1820, I don’t know precisely..) Franciscus Lieftinck lets his sons, Franciscus jr. and Jan Harmannus, lay the first brick for a tobacco factory in the Raamstraat. Later, in 1893, a bigger one called “Pakhuis De Nijverheid” was build. Franciscus jr. and Ipoje Kranenburg marry 2 De Witt sisters. They are not the only tobacco manufacturers who got mutually related. Also Th. Niemeijer got his (second) wife from the tobacco environment. His marriage to Tettje Heckman offered him the opportunity to take over the business from her deceased nephew Hayo Willem Heckman in 1874. The tobacco industry grew and the manufacturers were erecting new company buildings. E.F. Rost was building a cigar factory and drying room on the corner of the Eeldersingel and Paterwoldseweg. Niemeijer also expanded by taking over the company of J. Swaagman in 1887 and by building a big warehouse at the corner of the Rotterdammerstraatje and the Nieuwe Kerkhof. In 1898 tobacco manufacturer Jan Gruno does exactly the same at the Winschoterkade. Gruno, just like Lieftinck and Niemeijer, was a company that went from father to son. Father Jan Gruno sr. began in “De Blauwe Haan” at the Damsterdiep as a merchant and tobacco-carver. Son Jan jr. moved the company to the Winschoterkade and his sons John Henry and Julius managed the business from 1921.

1922, Theodorus Niemeijer factory, Paterwoldseweg

1922, Theodorus Niemeijer factory, Paterwoldseweg

Companies that did not stay in the family sometimes kept their company or brand-name. This way names of tobacco manufacturers Pieter Koning and Ipoje Kranenburg live on after the take-over by R.A.J. Loot. He starts in a building in the Oosterstraat in 1887 in which first T.B. Kolk and subsequently P. Koning made tobacco. After Loot took over the company of Kranenburg he used the name of Koning as well as the name of Kranenburg for his tobacco factory. The new company building “De Tabaksplant” at the W.A. Scholtenstraat got a tiled painting with the P. Koning name on it. Niemeijer was one of the first to make cigarettes in 1909. At first in the new factory building at the Paterswoldseweg but later, in 1918, from the old Noack meat-factory at the Emmasingel. Despite that this factory closed in 1929, Niemeijers expansion at the Paterwoldseweg continued. Amongst other things the acquisition of Lieftinck in 1932 added to this.

1966, Theodorus Niemeyer factory, Paterwoldseweg

1966, Theodorus Niemeyer factory, Paterwoldseweg

In the 1930’s and during WWII several tobacco companies called it quits. For Gruno the liberation of Groningen city meant the end. This because the Germans entrenched themselves in the high building, so it was destroyed and burned by Canadian artillery fire. Niemeyer (like it is spelled today) was the only tobacco manufacturer from Groningen that remained, but it was no longer a family-company. First British company Gallaher became the owner in 1973 and in 1990 it was sold to Rothmans (who also owned Gruno), who have been bought by British Amercian Tobacco in 1999.

img_5513Back to the Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum. When we had hung up our coats and paid the very reasonable entrance fee we headed for the basement where there was an exposition about 100 years of advertisement by some Groninger companies. One of the first things I saw were beautiful billboards from Niemeyer where you could recognize art movements like Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) and Art Deco. Just walking through the old building is an experience in itself. If you are larger than about 1.70m, watch out for your head! Back in the day the people were not very large.. If you follow the designated route you are being led to an array of rooms. Everywhere bits and pieces of smoking related items are displayed like nice old snuffboxes from Scandinavia and beautifully decorated clay pipes.

*Drools* Too bad of the wire-mesh..

*Drools* Too bad of the wire-mesh..

In a corner of one of the bigger rooms I discovered a cell, closed off by wire mesh, with inside all kinds of vintage Dutch (pipe) tobacco packs of brands like Rode Ster, Friesche Baaitabak and Friesche Heeren Baai. I don’t like stealing but if I had a wire-cutter then… Another great find were 2 smoking chairs from 1870. On such a piece of furniture you don’t sit normal. You sit backwards with your arms on the backrest that can be opened. There are 2 compartments in which one can put tobacco. Also the woodcarving on the back is very nicely executed. In conclusion I would like to say: visit that museum!

Tabaksspeciaalzaak Homan

Tabaksspeciaalzaak Homan

What I also would like to visit was a tobacco shop. Unfortunately there are not many left in Groningen.. Sadly the oldest tobacconist, A-Kerk, closed its doors last year. Really a shame because the store-building dates back from 1445 and since 1916 a tobacconist has been active there. But a very good alternative is Tabaksspeciaalzaak Homan at the edge of the old city centre. For 54 years the old, now sadly deceased, owner Klaas Homan sold his smoking wares there. Now a young team is active and I think they are doing a fine job. Immediately when I entered the shop I was friendly greeted. I explained that I was a smoking pipe / pipe tobacco blogger and asked if I could snap some pictures. No problem at all. The assortment of the store was impressive! All in The Netherlands available pipe-tobaccos, pipes of brands like Peterson, Vauen and Big Ben, short- and longfiller cigars, cigarettes, hookahs and all kinds of smoking requisites.

Rode Ster

Rode Ster

I asked the good looking female shop assistant, who turned out to be in charge of the team, if I could have a better look at the pipes. A glass panel was opened so I could take some pipes in my hand. They had some nice Petersons but I managed to restrain myself. I asked the girl what her best selling pipes were. “Surprisingly not Big Ben (a Dutch brand of course) but Vauen is our high seller.” We walked towards the pipe-tobacco corner and she expressed that she was sad that the Scandinavian Tobacco Group are discontinuing several brands. “We have many pipe-smokers here that just like 1 brand and soon we will have to disappoint some of them..” Of course here I also asked what brand was the high seller and it was W.O. Larsen Golden Dream and the Troost tobaccos. Suddenly my eye fell on a pouch of a long discontinued (well, at least a couple of years now) brand that I saw earlier that day in the Noordelijk Scheepvaartmuseum: Rode Ster. It was Homan’s last and probably one of the last in general. So I bought it. Rode Ster was a brand made by Niemeyer and was already popular in the 1930’s. It consisted of Virginia, Maryland and some burley.

Schweinhund pizza, best I ever had!

Schweinehund pizza, best I ever had!

Outside the store I met Ellen again, she had not gone inside with me. It was time to relax and have a drink. Nearby was a brewery and I was yearning for a good glass of dark beer. On the lower floors of the Martinus Brouwerij the beer is brewed and on the upper floor you can drink it. There a hip café is located which even had a vinyl turntable that played relaxing smooth jazz. I can recommend their brown beer and pale ale! Around 5 o’clock our bellies began to rumble, dinnertime. My friend Jaap who is living in Groningen now for several years recently had opened a pizzeria there: Lux. But it is not just a regular pizzeria, no, everything is 100% fresh and handmade. No fat soggy big chain pizzas there. Also pretty unique, they have vegetarian and vegan pizzas and pastas. I did not tell Jaap that we were coming so he was pretty (pleasantly) surprised to see us. We had not see each other for some time so while he was cooking and baking we chatted along. I ordered the so called delicious Schweinehund pizza. Tomato sauce, Gouda cheese, onion, ham, salami, bacon, roast beef and a baked egg on top of a golden baked crispy yet chewy hand-knead dough bottom. In all honesty, the best pizza I ever had. Thank you Jaap! With our stomachs filled we thanked Jaap and his charming girlfriend Lana and went for one last drink at an Irish Pub, where I had some tasty Kilkenny beer and Ellen a red wine. Content and happy we toasted on what had been a great day in Groningen.

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