The Fragrance Route | PROEbags

From Hay Box To PROEbag

Inventor Karl von Drais developed the German hay box during the first part of the 19th century and this “fireless cooker” has been used ever since. Originally hay or straw were the commonly used insulators: pots of food would be brought to a boil and placed in a box with hay or straw under, around and on top of the pot. Nowadays even sleeping bags and backpacks are used by campers and hikers to ensure a hot meal at the end of the day.

A hay box, straw box, fireless cooker, insulation cooker, retained-heat cooker, wonder oven, wonder box, wonder bag… whatever the name, this simple way of preparing food has been used by many generations all over the world. The “hay box” concept is tried and trusted: food is heated to boiling point, well insulated, and then “slow cooks”. Food can’t burn and the cooking method seals in healthy nutrients and wholesome goodness.

Newsflash: Another version of this product made the Time Magazine “top 50 genius products worldwide” list in October 2018!

The new design PROEbag

To celebrate the beauty of shweshwe two different fabrics are used for each bag, one outside and one inside. The colour combinations are endless and so is the look achieved, which can vary from classic to funky to minimalistic.

Handles have been added so that you can carry the versatile PROEbag back-pack style or swing it across a shoulder. The polystrene granules we use provide excellent insulation. We help to upcycle (getting rid of the off-cuts of polystyrene used in the building industry is quite problematic for the companies involved) and this waste product makes our bags light and washable.

At home you don’t have to hide it: display your colourful shweshwe PROEbag on top of a cupboard to make a statement. And if you like entertaining buffet style, buy a few because PROEbags are perfect for such occasions. Keep the “hat” in position and the hot or cold food well insulated inside until required. Then open, fold back the edge at the top, heat food again if necessary, add a serving spoon, and dish up straight from the bag. Put the “hat” back afterwards – handy not only to help preserve temperature but also to keep insects away.

PROEbags are for sale at the Shweshwe Stop in Friemersheim, at the Great Brak River Museum, and at the annual Plettenberg Bay Hospitality Trade Fair. You can also order your own: special deals are available for corporate sales – choose your own fabric and add a personalized tag to your bag!

Contact details for orders and enquiries (please send one e-mail to BOTH addresses): Rosanne de Kock (George) @ and Nelma Ruschioni (Mossel Bay area) @

Looking After Your PROEbag

New shweshwe has a distinctive prewash stiffness and smell: the answer lies in its production and history, when during long sea voyages starch was used to preserve the fabric from the elements. After washing, the stiffness disappears to leave behind a beautiful soft cotton fabric. The 100% superior quality cotton will dry quickly, especially on a windy day, and will last for many years.