During my trip to France last (French) summer, I decided to ask Magimix what improvements they had made to their Cook Expert. I went to meet them and they showed me all the great things they’ve done to the machine since I bought it the year before.
They talked about their new steamer project and I got very excited, so they asked me if I was OK to test their prototype! Yay! Of course I said yes.
In the meantime I was lent a Thermomix because I really wanted to see the difference between the two machines (complete article to come very soon). So I thought it was interesting to compare this new Steamer XL with the benchmark: the famous Varoma.
So this is the beast!!! This prototype doesn’t look exactly like the final product. From what I understand, the real Steamer XL will have a more “grey-ish” base and a heat proof handle on the lid.
It is made of three parts. The bottom part is “screwed” onto the Magimix Cook Expert metal bowl the same way you do with its glass lid. It has strange looking 3D holes all over its tray, designed to retain just enough moisture and drip the rest in the bowl. This means that you don’t have to replace top up the water as often. It only serves as a base for the middle part. It’s made of Food grade – 0% BPA plastic.
The middle part simply rests on the bottom part. It is a large steam basket made of stainless steel and heatproof plastic handles.
The top part is a glass and metal lid with 3 holes and a metal handle which will be sold with a heatproof protection.
This is a very similar product as the very classic Magimix electric steamer a lot of French households have in their kitchen.
Voilà! This is your Steamer XL spread out. You can see the three parts. The bottom part on the left, the middle part on the right and the lid at the top.
So now, here is the Thermomix Varoma! (on the left) It’s made entirely of food grade plastic, and according to this article, it contains BPA if it was manufactured before January 2013. It has 3 different parts. The bottom one is just placed on the top of the Thermomix lid. It is not screwed or fixed. It just rests on top which makes its base quite small. It has holes looking like little lines. This “vessel” is deep and can hold quite a lot of piled up food. The middle part is a tray on which you can only put very thin things as it is close to the lid which is the third part. It is transparent but blurry.
You can see the very shallow tray of the Varoma on the right. It’s ideal for a flat long fish in papillotte. Light goes through the lid but you can’t really see through it. Edit (22/12/2016) you can see through it at the top of the lid. The sides are more opaque but there is a circle at the top which allows you to see through. As a result, because it is standing high on top of the Thermomix (and I’m so short) you cannot really see though it while it’s cooking.
On the left you can see the Steamer XL with its large and deep metal tray.
Now let’s compare what they can contain. To do that, I used silicon patty pans. I could fit 7 of them in the Steamer XL above.
I could fit 4 of them on the Varoma. I didn’t attempt to put any on the top Varoma tray because it’s way too shallow.
Now to make this comparison complete, let’s check the internal steam baskets that both machines provide. On the image above, you can see the Thermomix plastic steam basket sitting inside the Magimix’s metal steam basket. This metal basket comes with a metal “shelf” which allows you to steam two layers of food on top of each other inside the bowl.
This is the Magimix internal steam basket which can contain 4 patty pans, lightly squeezed ;) You will have to take off the metal shelf for that.
And this is the Thermomix’s internal steam basket which can contain 2 pretty squeezed patty pans.
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As a conclusion, both steamers give excellent results for fish, chicken, vegetable, fruits and cakes. The Steamer XL is much larger than the Varoma. They take both the same space in width on your kitchen bench but due to its narrow base, the Varoma has can cook less volume and its bottom part cannot hold many spread out items such as steamed cakes, yogurts, eggs cocottes, soufflés, etc. You will need to pile things up to benefit from it smaller volume. The Magimix Steamer XL is made of metal where the food it placed. It has a see-through lid. The Varoma is entirely made of plastic. Its lid is not see through. They can both share the incredible number of recipes the Thermomix and Magimix community accumulate online. They both have 3 possible levels of simultaneous steaming.
My personal favourite is the Steamer XL because of its size and the fact that it’s metal. I actually asked Magimix why they couldn’t do a completely non plastic steaming system and they told me that they needed a fixation that could be screwed to the bowl and that could only be made of plastic. Also the base’s special holes are only possible if moulded in plastic. I like the idea that the food is cooked on metal rather than directly on plastic, which is the case here.
It’s important to note that the Varoma is sold with the Thermomix, it’s part of the package. The Steamer XL is an option. It doesn’t come with the Cook Expert. It is sold separately.
I hope this little article helped those amongst you who are keen to get a thermo-machine and want to compare the two leaders of the market. And also the lucky ones who have a Magimix Cook Expert and who are considering getting this optional tool.
According to Magimix it will be available in Australia first half of 2017.
I made a very quick video (sorry about the quality) just to give you more of a live view on both products. I’m holding the camera very clumsily and moving lids and parts at the same time…
Music: Hep Cat Jive from www.purple-planet.com
This post is not sponsored as I haven’t been paid for it however the prototype was shipped from Paris to Sydney by Magimix for free. The Magimix Cook Expert is mine :)
My Cook Expert “opening of the box“.
My complete review of this machine.
Magimix Cook Expert improvements for 2017