Blick vom Rheinufer auf Groß St. Martin - Köln, © Oliver Franke, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Michael Gliss, © Dominik Ketz, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Mi­chael Gliss

Your Am­bas­sad­or of Good Taste for the Köln & Rhein-Erft re­gion

Mi­chael Gliss made his first ap­pear­ance in the world of cof­fee in 1983 when he first en­countered the Medi­ter­ranean cof­fee cul­ture in the South of France. He soon began work­ing and dis­covered his pas­sion for this cul­ture of cof­fee.

Michael Gliss, owner of Gliss Caffee Group, on enjoyment:

"Enjoyment is energy, passion, and my daily personal driving force."

Michael Gliss made his first appearance in the world of coffee in 1983 when he first encountered the Mediterranean coffee culture in the South of France. He soon began working and discovered his passion for this culture of coffee.
The coffee pioneer and his GLISS® Caffee Group are based in Cologne and bring joy and pleasure to coffee lovers around the world. There are now three GLISS locations in Cologne, Bensberg/Bergisch-Gladbach and Frechen – a coffee shop, a coffee bar and a salon of culinary pleasures – which form the heart of the company’s activities. Michael Gliss wants to show connoisseurs that coffee today is more than simply a “pot of coffee with evaporated milk”. To accomplish this, he has engaged all his media platforms, including hosting and producing his own TV series, Caffee & Chocolade, and giving interviews on the radio, on TV and in glossy magazines. By participating in talk shows and developing and hosting coffee seminars at his own locations, plus others on cruise ships like the MS Deutschland – the Traumschiff (‘The Dream Ship’, a German TV series similar to the American series The Love Boat) – and Hapag Lloyd's MS Bremen, he is able to provide coffee lovers with tips on how to better enjoy coffee. Michael Gliss is Ambassador of Good Taste for the Cologne & Rhine-Erft region.

Culinary enjoyment in NRW?
7 questions for... Michael Gliss

Why are you the Ambassador of Good Taste for the Cologne & Rhine-Erft region?
First of all, I am a native of Cologne, born and bred directly in the Südstadt, which has truly shaped who I am today. After finishing secondary school I immediately went abroad and lived in France, followed by various cities in Germany. After being away for many years I have come to notice just how much the passion and feeling of my heart and soul depend on Cologne and the surrounding region. So culinary enjoyment in North Rhine-Westphalia plays a crucial role for me and I want to share this with visitors.

Your opinion: why can North Rhine-Westphalia be described as an epicurean region?
For decades North Rhine-Westphalia has been a region where people from many countries throughout Europe and the world have felt at home. The diversity of their cultural and culinary influences are also an ingrained part of our country and are felt everywhere, and we, the state’s Ambassadors of Good Taste, want to share and discover this together with visitors.

What trait distinguishes an epicurean?
Curiosity, openness and a loooot of energy are vital to epicureans. This comes from within; epicureans are always looking to discover something new and offer up new experiences to others. They enjoy people, love to connect and especially love sharing the things they’ve discovered.

You perform at your very best every day. What do you consider the perfect culinary start to the day?
For me it greatly depends on my personal mood and the season in particular. In spring and summer I like to start my morning taking in the air by the pond in our garden because I love the water. One to two espressos with roasted coffee from Mexico and Ethiopia and a croissant from my favourite bakery or fresh muesli with fruit, mixed myself and preferably with fruit I’ve picked myself. If it’s cooler outside or the weather’s bad, then I like a ‘longer’ and larger cup of coffee from Kenya or Sumatra, maybe with a little soy milk, which I like, and raisin bread with home-made seasonal jam my wife makes. Oh, and it’s often quite tempting, perhaps on a holiday, to light a small fire in the fireplace in the morning, but then it’s hard to peel myself away.

Your dishes inspire your guests and colleagues. Which producers in your region inspire you?
The Bäckerei Mohr bakery in Königsdorf, definitely. Flour from France, French dough-making methods and baguettes and croissants so authentic you’d think you were actually in France. Divine. For meats, although such occasions are becoming increasingly rare for me, Metzgerei Jansen, the butcher's in Porz, where everything is organic/regionally produced/bio-dynamic (Demeter). Perfectly executed, respectful artisanry. For game I do just what my grandfathers did, which is to visit the family that owns Delikatessen Brock, the Rochows, on Apostelnstraße two or three times during the season. They hunt most of their game themselves. Also our organic crate supplier, Bioland Apfelbacher in the foothills, who only delivers seasonal fruit and vegetables – absolutely perfect. Hellers Kölsch, the only organic Kölsch brewery and the only Kölsch I like to drink from the bottle because it tastes sooo good. For cakes, tortes and other sugary temptations I like to wander a bit outside of Cologne: either to Ambassador of Good Taste Markus Podzimek’s Naschwerk in Siegen or Ambassador of Good Taste Erika Bergheim at Schloss Hugenpoet in Essen – both are enticing and unbeatable in their own way. For years my favourite restaurant has been eliA on Bachemer Straße in Cologne. Modern Greek Mediterranean cuisine with a tiny hint of the avant-garde, plus finely crafted wines to boot – it’s enough to make your heart – or even your stomach – melt. Otherwise I buy all of my food at the small organic shop in Veedel or at the larger temma supermarket in the Südstadt.

Do you have any personal recommendations for visitors to the epicurean region of NRW?
Oh how can I ever decide? I’ll keep to my home city of Cologne. My advice is to start with the guided gourmet tour led by the sehenswert agency, which combines a traditional tour of Cologne with exciting gourmet stations, plus it’s educational and entertaining. Follow this with one or several Kölsches at Brauhaus Schreckenskammer, which, dating back to 1442, is one of Cologne’s oldest breweries. The beer is brewed without adding carbon dioxide. This will give you the courage to brave the longest staircase in North Rhine-Westphalia, the 533 steps leading up the Cologne Cathedral and down again. You could then visit the Kronleuchtersaal (Chandelier Room) in Cologne's sewerage system, where concerts are sometimes held. Then on to the Cologne Zoo, which has exciting events on offer all year round to visitors of all ages. And visitors should absolutely visit Imbiss Strohhut in Ehrenfeld for Rievkooche, a local potato fritter speciality. For those looking to shed a few calories after tasting their way through the city, a Segway tour through Cologne may be just the ticket. And then fall into bed!

Last but not least: what is your motto for personal enjoyment?
As Epicurus said, "Avoid aversion."