The Organic Traveller
Monday, 24 October 2016

Munich: Organic coffee and tea houses

To find a self-respecting restaurant or supermarket snack bar not equipped with a restaurant-size Italian espresso machine can be difficult, and even the tiniest organic corner shop will try to offer you ubiquituous Italian-style coffee drinks. Likewise you can have organic tea bag teas and infusions of usually decent quality. But for the modern nomad on the job, the afternoon chat with friends or the traveller in search of a undisturbed place for a break or observations, the dedicated coffee or tea house is a far more appropriate place to spent hours. Common for all the places listed here that they are closed in the evening -- usually around 6pm, some keep open until 8pm. Note that weekend opening hours may be even more restricted.

Viennese style coffee houses

The headline is misleading -- even if an increasing number of cafes see themselves in the tradition of Viennese coffee houses when it comes to the stuccoed interior, the dark wooden furniture, a selection of daily newspapers as well as the menu, they will usually serve Italian-style coffee drinks. The perfect place for breakfast and a coffee break at any time of the day, you will also be served lunch and snacks throughout the day. Expect however to order more of the deliciously handcrafted cakes than you initially intended to.

My favourite is Cafe Reichshof in Haidhausen, covered in detail in my ice-cream post.

Organic to a much lesser degree -- they promise to serve organic milk and eggs throughout their menu, i.e. also as ingredients in drinks, cakes and dishes -- is Kafehaus Karameel in Neuhausen, opposite the terminal loop near tram stop Neuhausen. Romantically decorated on two storeys connected by a flight of winding stairs it's the perfect place to have a look at their impressive selection of daily newspapers, let time pass by and have a Viennese-style coffee. Crowded on weekends, so book your table in advance. During the warm season a generous number of outdoor tables overlooking the tram tracks and a little park will increase your chances.

Oriental style coffee

The best Turkish coffee in town in arguably made on Orleansplatz in Haidhausen. Iunu is a perfect place to meet a friend for a chat or have a recreational lunch or coffee break (they also serve espresso, cappuccino and latte). The mainly organic meals are vegetarian and ayurvedic, good wholesome food which tastes of its ingredients, however with quite restricted use of herbs. If you rather feel for a chat with the owner have your seat at the coffee bar and enjoy her irresistible cakes. With a small but carefully chosen range of wines, delicatessen and selected household items the place will also save you when in need for an unplanned last minute gift. On Saturdays Iunu is often unexpectedly closed due to arrangements, so check in advance.

If you happen to come in vain, take the short walk along Breisacher Straße where another hidden gem, Saladins Souk will quench your thirst for an oriental style coffee.

Italian style bars

Pop in, have a coffee, a chat, a sweet, and pop out again -- the Italian bar is the hotspot of a neighbourhood. And so is the Emilo coffee bar in the self-proclaimed Northern-most city of Italy, run by a small scale local coffee roaster of the same name. Though it is situated only a little walk from Isartor or party hotspot Gärtnerplatz in the hip Glockenbach neighbourhood it's mainly frequented by regulars whom the barista, Mr. Filser with his rustic Bavarian charme greets personally. Since only a selection of their coffees is organic you may wish to order organic coffees explicitely. They use organic milk throughout the menu, and the eggs and spelt flour used in their rustic but yummy Bavarian home-made cakes are all organic, too (the only exception are the croissants made by a French bakery). Apart from Italian style coffee drinks you can also order cold brews and shop from the roasters coffee specialities. An insider's tip all worth the detour from your usual route through the city. They also have a second branch on Odeonsplatz.

Shabby chic and homely places

You might expect this type of recycled art garden house furnished place in the university quarters, but here you are on Rosenheimer Platz, opposite the Vollcorner supermarket, to find Die Kaffee-Küche. A pleasantly mixed audience populates the chairs, tables and shelves partially made of wooden wine cases, and you may find that the place is popular among young mothers with prams. They use organic milk and partially organic coffee by a local coffee roaster, and before ordering a coffee drink to take away in a disposable beaker consider buying a bio-degradable dishwasher-prove multitrip cup right away. If you come with your own cup to take away your coffee or tea you will receive a discount of 0.50 EUR. On the menu are home-made cakes, sandwiches, salads and a soup dish, most of them suffering from the absence of organic ingredients. A generally nice retreat, especially recommended during the advent season while the Christmas market on Weißenburger Platz keeps open. (Their mulled wine and other warm alcoholic drinks are of superior quality when compared to the market booth fare.) Occasionally there are small concerts. Another nice service: The ladies' restroom will help you out with (conventional) hairspray, handcream, tampons and other toiletries if needed.

A much smaller, and (apart from the softdrinks) seriously organic cafe with do-it-yourself charm is just a five minutes walk away (although you have to cross busy Rosenheimer Straße): I'm covering the Cafe Plaisir social enterprise in my ice-cream post.

On your way from "Kaffee-Küche" to "Cafe Plaisir" directly located on Rosenheimer Straße is Emmi's kitchen, a small, decidedly vegetarian place offering smoothies, salads, stews and soups, coffee drinks and cake with a focus on locally sourced, predominantly vegan food. They use organic milk and brown sugar. More organic ingredients may be hidden (the apple used to decorate the yummy still warm vegan cinnamon roll I had was organic), but they won't promise anything. The place opened in summer 2016 and still is a hidden gem where you will easily find a place to sit down, read or work -- more demanding customers may encourage a stricter organic focus. Since the cafe is directly facing the noisy and highly polluted street you may prefer a visit on cold days when the door usually is closed. The owners are still experimenting with their opening hours, so even though they advertise evening opening hours until 20 pm you might find the place closed earlier, especially on Saturdays. If you order by Deliveroo or come to take away without your own food container they fill your meal into disposable containers made from sustainable or recycled resources.

Not far from Ostbahnhof station Kosy*s cafe promises to be "your second living room". As long as you have some tolerance towards cake stands filled with kitschy sweets guaranteed free from natural colourings and a decidedly vintage feel you can have an organic tea or soft drink, a coffee drink made with organic milk, organic eggs and cereals for breakfast or a hearty lunch often entirely made from organic ingredients in a leisurely atmosphere. The good thing is that organic ingredients aren't shamefully hidden -- when it's organic they'll make it transparent on the menu. The bad news: their homemade cakes unfortunately are not organic, not even the eggs.

Another cosy living room dubbed Zimtzicke is tucked away in comparatively quiet Elsässer Straße, this also just a five minutes walk from Ostbahnhof. All their teas, coffees, the milk and eggs are organic. Their lunch dishes, although mainly not organic, are tasty. However, when I inquired about the ingredients of the individual dishes on the menu, the staff wasn't able to tell whether they contained organic ingredients. The tiny place smells lovely of home-make cakes, some of them vegan. A perfect location to warm up after a winter walk in the city, and a pleasant retreat to welcome spring or to enjoy a summer day in the city on a table in front of it.

Another option to mingle with natives is a homely shabby chic neighbourhood cafe cum gallery in the neighbourhood of Au, on the Eastern shore of river Isar near Deutsches Theater. The audience of Café Käthe is mixed, coffee, milk, tea, rolls and cakes as well as most of the softdrinks are organic. They don't serve hot food, but you can have breakfast, sandwiches, cereals, and salads all day. Many but not all ingredients are organic, so ask if you care but be prepared that the service personnel isn't prepared to answer on the spot.

Big enough to almost guarantee a free seat for the visitor-by-chance is Cafe Katzentempel in the Maxvorstadt university quarter. You must however not suffer from a cat allergy as this rather special vegan place is inhabitated by six cats, and the once nice wallpaper on the wall with the scratch pole facing the entrance has already become rather shabby. Most of the softdrinks are organic as are all soy products and the cow milk (on request used for non-vegan coffee and tea-based drinks). The place offers an impressive range of organic nuts and grain milks to be ordered for your latte. The food and home-made cakes may include additional organic ingredients, although they aren't generally organic, just of local origin if possible. Students and apprentices are entitled special prices Tuesday through Friday, and free wifi is available. Depending on your table you may find the slightly aggressive sales presentation of the Katzentempel brand t-shirts disturbing -- overall a place to either love or detest.

Muesli and more

On the Eastern edge of Viktualienmarkt, a few steps from Marienplatz you'll find the Munich branch of a very special chain -- MyMuesli, a web order shop for organic cereals and porridges which keeps opening offline branches throughout the German-speaking countries. No cakes to be had here but Italian style coffee drinks, juices, and of course mueslis, porridges and cereals in case you are a little hungry or in need for an organic breakfast. The major aim of the shop is of course to sell their products but for a quick WLAN or coffee break in the busy heart of the city the functionally styled place isn't a bad option. They also have a second shop (offering free WLAN though without cafe) on ground floor of the Pasing-Arcaden mall in case you are stranded on München-Pasing train station.

Self-service coffee house chains

See here.

Tea houses

For those seriously into tea the ultimate target in town is Tushita Teehaus in the Glockenbach neighbourhood, near the Western exit of tube station Fraunhofer Straße (and a five minutes walk South of Gärtnerplatz). To taste their around 150 organic and often fairly traded tea and tisane varieties (which aren't exhaustively listed on the menu) can take some time, but you can buy them to take with you. With every order the staff will hold a microscopic tea ceremony for you, and hot water for a second extraction is served in a small thermos aside. In the past they often used too hot water for some of their delicate green teas resulting in a bitter beverage, but this fortunately had changed to the better at my last visit. In addition they serve small vegan dishes as well as yummy home-made cakes, all organic, and there's a Japanese touch to both, the decoration, the food and the subtle focus on Japanese tea and matcha. Consequently the place is frequented by visitors of Japanese origin as well as the occasional Indian gentleman or the German hippie or university professor reading their daily. Given how frequented the place often is there's a quiet, pleasantly concentrated atmosphere to it.

2016-10-24 15:00:01 [The_Conscious_Traveller, Munich, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, organic, coffee, tea, lunch, snacks, fair, cafe, ice-cream, restaurant, Italian, Japanese] link

Creative Commons Licence
This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Munich: Organic Ice-cream

Every organic supermarket big enough to be equipped with a freezer will sell you iced-lollies or pre-packaged cups of ice-cream, at least during the warm season. But for the real thing you need to know where to find your small scale artisanal organic ice-cream parlour. Fortunately there are sufficient options to check out for your favourite, unfortunately none of them serves their fare in organic cones.

Arguably the best ice-cream in town is made by former shoe-pusher Thomas Bartu and his crew in Schwabing. Just like the best ice-cream parlours in Italy they cover their 24 types of ice-cream hygienically instead of displaying them for show-off. All ingredients are listed on big and nicely layouted wallpapers, leaving no questions open for vegans or people with allergies. Children pay less for the scoop than adults. You can also have a good (though not organic) cup of Italian-style coffee or an organic soft-drink, and -- except on Tuesdays -- have a yummy organic pizza. If you haven't had enough you can choose from an ever changing selection of Bartu ice-creams to take away in reusable containers. And the best: They don't close their shop during the cold season. On the other hand don't count on opening hours longer than the regular 10 pm.

Where would you expect organic and vegan ice-cream to go if not in the university quarter? A two-minutes walk from the Northern exit of the tube station "Universität" in the Maxvorstand neighbourhood you'll find IceDate serving date and cashew-based ice-cream varieties. I prefer their strong flavours like chocolate-ginger, chocolate-mint or wild berries; the more subtle ones like peanut or nectarine still need polishing. During their winter break (ending in April) their ice-cream can be had in in small cardboxes from Cafe Katzentempel. A scoop goes for 2.20 EUR, and every serving is topped with a small quantity of an additional flavour. Bad weather is no issue since they have a pleasant indoors sitting area.

A little further north there's also a traditional Italian ice-cream parlour near Elisabethplatz square: Trampolin. All of their dairy ice-creams are made with organic milk. Apart from standard varieties like vanilla or chocolate they also offer less common flavours like guava or dried prunes and lavender, the scoop for 1.50 EUR. Unfortunately the place is closed from late autumn through spring, but on warm crowded summer evenings they often keep open significantly longer than the announced 10 pm. In addition to ice-cream they also sell Italian-style coffee.

In the neighbourhood of Haidhausen you have the choice of three possible targets: Cosy though buzzing Cafe Reichshof a five minutes brisk walk from Ostbahnhof station offers home-made ice-cream spring through early autumn, though you may be tempted to indulge yourself in one of their gorgeous cakes instead (or have both?) The stuccoed ceiling with a candelabra play well together with the wooden shelves of the bakery display, making for an inviting yet not overwhelming interior. During the warm season you may prefer to sit outside facing relaxing Bordeauxplatz. The cafe is the latest branch of Bäckerei Neulinger, an organic bakery with two older shops in the neighbourhood of Neuhausen where you can equally tempt yourself, though not on Sundays. Be prepared to queue on nice-weather days, but since the service is swift, efficient and friendly waiting will usually take shorter time than expected. The Neulinger's ice-cream season also ends in autumn. A scoop goes for 1.20 EUR, and since the shop participates in the Brot am Haken ("bread on the hook") campaign you may buy a coffee, ice-cream, bread or cake voucher for someone in need as you go. For take away ice-cream is also sold in nice returnable preserving glasses, with a deposit of 2 EUR.

Less frequented and just around the corner of Rosenheimer Platz you will find tiny Cafe Plaisir serving organic crepes, cakes, cookies, tin soups and coffee drinks apart from usually eight types of ice-cream (1.20 EUR the scoop). During the cold season they have home-made chocolates, and you might ask for the one type of ice-cream still hidden away in the freezer. Be patient and kind if the serving personnel does not respond immediately -- the shop is a social enterprise run by longterm-unemployed persons.

If you fancy an ice-cream during your evening stroll head for fancy True & 12 opposite the Gasteig cultural center. Unfortunately only their milk is guaranteed organic and locally sourced, but it's all natural and yummy and they come up with interesting flavour combinations. The scoop goes for 1.50 EUR, and for an additional euro it will be served in a hand-rolled cinnamon-flavoured cone. To much regret also this place is closed from late autumn to mid of April.

In Neuhausen organic ice-cream to go can also be had from Cafe Ruffini, described in my restaurant post.

The classical Italian ice-cream parlour -- ice-cream to go, and not much ado -- you'll find with Gelateria Artefredda in Giesing near Ostfriedhof on busy Tegernseer Landstraße. On the right-hand side of their display you have their organic varieties for 1.50 EUR the scoop -- about eight ones to choose from. The unpretentious eco-styled walls make it a light and pleasant place to have a short coffee break. Closed during the cold season, usually during November through March. On bad weather days they often open up to a quarter of an hour past their announced opening time, nice weather provided they will often keep open longer than announced.

If you happen to be on Viktualienmarkt during the warm season step by Beim Trübenecker, the organic grocery booth offering the best selection of organic fruit and greens on the market. On the Northern side of their booth facing Frauenstraße you can choose from six to eight fully organic, innovative and extremely palatable diary as well as vegan ice-cream varieties to go, made by an artesanal ice-cream maker in the vicinity of Munich. The scoop goes for 1.50 EUR.

In addition Munich hosts a franchise of the French-Italian ice-cream chain Amorino in the Karstadt department store's window front a few steps outside Hauptbahnhof. They claim to use organic eggs and otherwise only natural ingredients, and the ice-cream, though rather expensive, is indeed delicious and lovingly made into flower-shapes. The menu promises two certified organic sorbets (chocolate and a mixed citrus fruit variety).

If you happen to attend a street festival in Munich like the biannual Streetlife on Leopoldstraße or the annual Munich Sports Festival on Königsplatz watch out for a pink-blue food truck selling Cramer's Speiseeis in cones. The Cramers run a family-driven organic bakery cum pastry shop in Gauting near Munich, where they also make their ice-cream, so be brave when you're in the vicinity and give their spicy ginger or chocolate-chili varieties a try.

Ceased to exist

The following places do no longer exist, even though you still might find references to them on the web:

2016-10-17 13:00:00 [The_Conscious_Traveller, Munich, Haidhausen, Schwabing, organic, ice-cream, coffee, cafe, Italian] link

Creative Commons Licence
This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Munich: Zero Waste

Organic groceries, supermarket and market boothes offer a large selection of non-prepackaged fruit and veges to take away in your own basket or bag, and as long as you hand your bag over the counter, making it verbally clear that you do not need a paper bag, you can avoid paper waste when buying bread and rolls. Independent shops as well as the Vollcorner supermarkt branches will fill cheese and meat products into your own box, but you have to insist. Unfortunately the staff of the Basic supermarket chain has been advised to reject appropriate requests for hygienic reasons. But since Vollcorner received an official permit by the Munich Department of Public Order (Kreisverwaltungsreferat) in autumn 2016 things may change.

Most cafes serving organic coffee are sufficiently aware of the coffee beaker waste issue that they will fill your own cup without hesitation. Some like Die Kaffee-Küche will even give you a discount for sparing the environment.

As long as you restrict your shopping of dairy products, juices and soft drinks to returnable glass bottles you're safe. Some organic shops offer even a small selection of wine in deposit bottles. But what about sweets, dry goods, detergents? Some years ago Mutter Erde in Maxvorstadt was still offering refill for cleansing agents and washing liquids, but no longer. Although the zero waste movement is getting momentum, few Munich shops are actively supporting a waste-free lifestyle. Unsurprisingly these shops also give you a vacation from logos and trademarks.

Farewell to plastics

The zero-waste pioneer in town is Naturlieferant, usually referred to as Plastikfreie Zone, a pleasant intimate shop in Haidhausen near Max-Weber-Platz where you won't find any plastic item but a lot of sustainable alternatives. Don't forget to bring your own bags, glasses and boxes for potatoes, pulses, nuts, flour, jelly-gums or the best Indian pepper in town. If you forget them your purchase will be packed in paper bags, or you can choose from reused glass containers for free. The main focus of the shop, however, is not food but an ever increasing range of sustainable household items, ranging from tooth brushes and toilet paper to glasses, lunch boxes and jute strings. You may also refill washing-up liquid, shampoo and liquid laundry detergent.

No wrappings

February 20th, 2016 the city's first and only zero-waste supermarket Ohne ("without") opened its doors in the neighbourhood of Maxvorstadt. Pleasantly furnished with wooden benches and self-made dispensers this modern version of a generously spaced mom-and-pop store is offering bread, rolls and cakes from local Neulinger bakery, dairy products in returnable bottles, a small selection of fresh fruit and greens, a few spices, a huge selection of pasta, legumes, flour and cereals, but also baking powder, locally distilled gin and bitter, oil, and solid shampoo. There are also refill stations for washing liquids and cleansers, and you can shop from a small range of household and bodycare products (including environment-friendly condoms which are the only items in shop which are prepackaged in non-reusable wrapping). Preserves (like mustard, pestos and pickles) are sold prepackaged in reusable glass containers.

From the dispensers you fill your own glasses, boxes and bags and pay by weight. If you forget to bring your own packaging you can buy reusable glasses and organic cotton bags on the spot. This crowd-funded supermarket is strictly organic and vegetarian. When the shop is crowded waiting time at the till is a little longer than you might expect, but take your time and have a coffee and roll in the small cafe corner. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11 am.

2016-10-15 09:00:00 [The_Conscious_Traveller, Munich, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, organic, vegetarian, zero_waste, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, lunch] link

Creative Commons Licence
This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author.

Sunday, 09 October 2016

Kerala: Eco-conscious backwater trips

A backwater trip on a houseboat is an almost obligatory Kerala travel itinerary, and the beauty of the landscape well worth to explore. However, as a matter of fact the waterways in and around Lake Vembanad are quite crowded even off-season (I do not really want to know how jammed it must be during the main season). With nearly a 100 procent diesel-fuelled boats (Most locals react with a disbelieving "What else?" when questioned upon this topic), most of them poorly mocking the look of traditional kettuwallams, and many of them disposing their waste into the water, this grand experience of an eco-system almost seems a no-go for the eco-conscious traveller today.

There is however a niche market for backwater trips on traditionally built houseboats. It requires some effort to find these tour operators, and they play in the upmarket price category.

Diesel driven

A pioneer in sustainable tourism in South India the luxury class hotel and resort chain CGH operates Spice Coast Cruises, offering backwater tours on diesel-fuelled one or two-bedroom boats. Electricity comes from solar panels, and the crew is carefully trained to not at any costs throw waste into the water. (Their relieved looks when it turned out that all we were throwing over board was water -- emptying a glass of drinking water where some insects had been caught -- were speaking for themselves.) There's of course room for improvement: Unlike in the Brunton Boatyard hotel in Kochi where the chain is serving drinking water from a hotel-owned drinking water plant in reused glass bottles, the drinking water on the boat came from plastic bottles, and after the crew had prepared the rooms for the night the AC was running on full power. (Since both, the power switch and the AC control were working we were able to adjust temperature and fan ourselves.)

When I enquired in advance on whether the boats were punted or diesel driven the sales person's argument for the diesel was that this way the crew would be able to sleep during the night. Since the boat was anchoring at the entrance to Lake Vembanad during the night you may question this argument, but in general we got the impression that CGH treats their staff well.

As the Spice Coast Cruises vessels are comparatively small the boats are also cruising some smaller waterways. Compared to all the other vessels on the lake, most of them poorly disguised tourist ferries, our boats were the most elegant ones, displaying mastership in the craft of traditional kettuwallam building.

The tour is easy to book from abroad, but don't be mislead by the information of the starting point -- it is not starting in the town of Alleppey as you may read the announcement. Instead plan for an about 25 km long car or rikshaw drive up north to get to the jetty in Puthanangadi.

Punting boats

Punted houseboats are hard to find, and I have neither seen nor taken one. Here is what I found out -- I'd be happy if you'd give me an account on your experience with the following operators in case you make use of them: Houseboat tour operator Coco Houseboats in Alleppey operates manually driven house boats (among other vessels) which can be easily booked from abroad. I got a quote for "a Deluxe 2 bedroom houseboat Alleppey to Alleppey round for 2+2 persons with tax and food Rs.15,000/- after discount" off season.

Fort Cochin based tour operator Wilson Tours seems to specialize in eco-friendly tours and offers houseboat trips on punted kettuwallams equipped with bio-tank toilets and solar powered light and fan. If you do not order in advance you can step by their office in Princess Street.

Just opposite the street Elite Hotel also advertises "eco-friendly houseboat near Alleppey". Whether they co-operate with Stanley Wilson or someone else I do not know.

2016-10-09 08:00:01 [The_Conscious_Traveller, India, Kerala, Alleppey, Alappuzha, Kochi, Cochin, accommodation, houseboats, hotel] link

Creative Commons Licence
This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author.

Saturday, 08 October 2016

Munich: Chains good enough not to be boycotted

Organic and fair is going mainstream, and you will have to go a long way to find a big food retailer not stocking at least some appropriately labelled items. As long as you avoid the cheapest textile retailers you will also be able to needle-pick organic cotton fig leaves covering up for otherwise not exactly fair, social and environmentally conscious behaviour in many fashion outlets.

So even if you happen to be stranded in darkest suburbia, you will be able to survive somehow. In the Munich metropolitan area however, you have the choice of leaving your money at retailers more conscious than average. Some of them are local chains, others have outlets or franchise takers everywhere in Germany and sometimes even abroad.

Food and necessities

There's a wide range of organic full retailers as well as smaller organic supermarkets, so chances are good that you will find one in your vicinity. Most malls however, with their exchangeable shops and brands, stick to conventional supermarkets, and -- here's your choice -- a smaller health-food store (Reformhaus), often of the Vitalia chain. Although some of them are up to 80 percent organic, check for organic labels, as up to half of their goods on sale may be conventional.

The DM Drogeriemarkt drugstore chain is being managed according to anthroposophical principles in such a successful manner that new branches have been popping up in almost every newly or re-opened shopping complex during the past years. It has always had a focus on organic and eco-friendly products (alongside the conventional stuff) and is most certainly the reason for that its competitors Müller and Rossmann now also stock a wide range of organic dry food products, sweets and drinks, as well as natural cosmetics. While the big Müller branches stock an impressive selection of natural cosmetics brands and recently stepped in for DM as a reseller of the Alnatura brand, DM has a broader focus, with a series of eco-friendly household items such as nappies, detergents, dishwasher tabs, or organic cotton pads of the "nature" own-brand alongside the own-brands "DM Bio" (food), and "Alverde" (cosmetics and toiletries). In addition DM branches also sell a growing selection of reputable organic and eco brands, such as "Weleda", "Lavera", "IM Berlin", "Dresdner Essence", and "Kneipp" (cosmetics), "Alnavit" (nutrition and allergene avoiding food and sweets), and "Ecover" (detergents), as well as the own brand of vegan supermarket chain Veganz. Since they kicked out Alnatura as their exclusive organic food brand a variety of products by various organic producers has been showing up in the shelves. Fresh food aside you will find everything you need for a daily eco-conscious lifestyle. DM is said to treat its employees fairly, though this may of course vary with the branch management.

Lunch, snacks and coffee

All branches of the Basic supermarket chain have a self-service coffee bar, but the entrance area of a supermarket might not be the place for a read or chat while having a coffee. In the latter case you might opt for a franchise of the San Francisco Coffee Company coffee house chain, offering organic coffee, tea and soft drinks in several of the central Munich neighbourhoods. Their cakes usually are not organic but sometimes there is an organic option on offer, and recently organic croissants and pains au chocolate were added to the menu. Always on sale are organic and vegan nut and fruit bars of the Foodloose brand which make a good (uhm, and healthier) replacement.

The second franchise-based coffee house chain serving exclusively organic coffee is Black Bean. Unfortunately only the coffee itself is organic -- no organic milk or pastries. For early or late birds in the Schwabing/Maxvorstand area they are a good option to aim for as branches usually open as early as 7 am and close about 9 if not 10 pm on weekdays, and they are Sunday-open, too, with (comparatively) liberal opening hours. Both, Black Bean and San Francisco, offer free wifi.

Interestingly one of the major bakery chains in Munich is an organic one: Hofpfisterei outlets will usually sell you organic sandwiches (made of typically German sourdough bread) or pretzl with butter ("Butterbrezn" is not just a children's favourite), but on less frequented locations they may be outsold by early afternoon. In this case you may still shop organic spread (cheese or vegetarian) or sausages along with your breadrolls or opt for a sweet pastry. Most shops offer organic coffee-to-go, mineral water and softdrinks, and the bigger ones usually have a bar table or two. Both Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof train stations have a Hofpfisterei outlet, although the latter one is closed on Sundays. An hour before closing Hofpfisterei offers a discount on breads, breadrolls and pastries, and many branches cater for the early bird, often opening at 7am.


Both, the C&A and H&M chains have been extended their range of products made from organic cotton, recycled and eco-friendlier materials recently, and you will find them easier than a year ago. Basics -- t-shirts, socks and underwear -- are easy to find, and C&A shops label their sustainable collection clearly visible so that it is easy to pick them instead of conventionally produced items. According to Greenpeace both companies are taking serious measures to reduce hazardous chemicals in the production process and to introduce fairer production.

2016-10-08 16:00:02 [The_Conscious_Traveller, Munich, Schwabing, supermarkets, coffee, snacks, lunch, bakeries, fashion] link

Creative Commons Licence
This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author.