Pealing pears

The PearHouse at Ardagger Abbey

Pears, pears, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. They hang soft and white from the ceiling and are almost a metre wide. When you press your way through the room between the huge fruits, each movement is met by melody and a colourful light show until everything melts into soothing music.

There’s nothing to pick here. I’m wide awake and in Ardagger Abbey, near Amstetten, not far from the Ybbs Valley Cycle Trail. It’s the site of the MostBirnHaus (PearHouse), an interactive centre, and I’ve just passed through the first station. From the Realm of the Giant Pears it’s on to the fruit room and a pear picking game. After that there’s drying, mashing and a test of strength on the pear press. The images of the cellar show the pears fermenting into perry.

At the “Mostviertlerisch for Beginners” station you can learn local dialect words like “Saunursch” (a feeding trough for pigs). Once you’ve mastered the Mostviertel dialect, it’s on to the cinema, where the interactive circuit ends with a short film. I leave the house fully stocked up on pear knowledge.

The modern PearHouse opened not far from the abbey cellars in 2007 and follows in the tradition of the Perry Gallery. Michaela Schmutz is the Managing Director. After some time at an exclusive panoramic bar at 3000 m above sea level in Tirol, she was tempted back down into the Mostviertel region a few years ago. The 32-year-old is one of the most important people behind the redesign of the PearHouse, which was reopened in March 2015. In addition to the world of experience, she and her team are putting even more emphasis on marketing pears, perry and regional culture. The PearHouse experience is now available to visitors from abroad in English, as the location is no longer regarded as a regional insider tip. Whether you have travelled from near or far, whether you are young or old, the PearHouse will awaken your curiosity in everything the Mostviertel has to offer.

Author: Elisabeth Schepe