Wednesday, 15 August 2018
The rough and pittoresque sandstone hills of Saxon Switzerland did not only inspire painters and componists of romanticism, but have been valued for centuries by both, alpinists as well as walkers and ramblers. Located at the border to the Czech republic it takes an urban train ride from Dresden (or a bicycle tour along the Elberadweg cycle route) to get here, either for a wee day out in the countryside or for a vacation inside the
National park. If you get off the S1 urban train in direction Schöna at the
stop Hirschmühle Schmilka, and take the ferry to the Northern shore of the Elbe river you'll reach the village of Schmilka which, to a large degree, has been developed into an organic resort during the past years. The ferry is operated on demand, so simply go down to the landing stage and wait until the coxswain will see and fetch you.
The nucleus of the organic village is Hotel Helvetia which you will find, turning West (i.e. to the left), after a five minutes walk along the river shore. Its organic cafe and restaurant dubbed Strandgut ("stranded goods") serves fine seasonal food drawing from the kitchen traditions of the region. If you stay overnight the hotel bar will be able to provide you with an organic nightcap. The hotel reception serves as check-in for all
eco-friendly overnight options in the village, among others
Villa Thusnelda next to the ferry stop with its luxury rooms.
The latter houses a
certified all organic, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant and cafe, historical Café Richter with its air of a classical spa coffeehouse. Here they serve organic pasta, crepes and light lunches as well as tarts, cakes and (vegan) ice-cream made by the confectionery in house.
Off-season (and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) when the cafe is closed a sign will guide you to the
village's operating water mill, the Schmilk'sche Mühle further up the road in the direction of the forest, with its rustic mill restaurant, the Mühlenstube of Gasthof zur Mühle at the right hand side. Hearty local stews and soups (one vegetarian, one omnivore), pizza, bread and cake from the artisanal organic bakery opposite and tasty, heavy beer from the Braumanufaktur brewery which you cross on the way from the river are served here, either inside or in the beer garden. Order at the bar inside where you also can buy beer as well as bread and cakes to take home.
The bakery itself is open to the public, opening at dusk, and what hasn't been sold on closing time will be sold by the Mühlenstube. Opening hours of the brewery however are restricted to the guided tours on Wednesdays and Sundays. If you stay overnight at the mill (or another place within the resort) a small tour inside the mill and the brewery is included in the package.
- Hotel Helvetia, Schmilka 11, Bad Schandau
- Cafe Strandgut, Schmilka 11, Bad Schandau, daily from 12, closing time depends on weather and season
- Cafe Richter, Schmilka 24, Bad Schandau, opens mid of May, Tue-Mon 14-19, check opening hours here
- Gasthof zur Mühle, Schmilka 36, Bad Schandau, daily from 12, closing time depends on weather and season (off-season usually until 5pm)
- Bakery Schmilk'sche Mühle, Schmilka 36, Bad Schandau, daily 6–17 (or half an hour after sunset)
- Braumanufaktur, Schmilka 36, Bad Schandau, guided tour Wed,Sun 11–12
- Hotel zur Mühle, Schmilka 36, Bad Schandau
[Dresden, Bad_Schandau, Schmilka, Saechsische_Schweiz, Saxon_Switzerland, organic, vegan, coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, restaurant, pub, cafe, bakeries, breweries, hotel, accommodation, ice-cream]
Monday, 16 July 2018
If you fancy a freshly made organic ice-cream in Bremen be prepared to work out -- hope for good weather, rent a bicycle and do as many locals do: Set out on a 15 kilometers ride, first in direction University, and then on the
dyke safeguarding the land against the river Wümme to a dairy farm run by friendly family Kaemena in Niederblockland.
On the embankment cars are allowed with a special permit only, but an astonishing number of locals come here by bicycle, foot or skating to enjoy an organic ice-cream (the scoop goes for 1.50 EUR), filtered coffee or cold organic drink and enjoy the farm and the countryside. There's a nice playground for children, and if you want to stay longer (minimum one week) the family rents out several pleasant holiday apartments (but make sure to book well in advance for holiday seasons). Opening hours on pleasant summer days may be longer than announced. Don't miss the poppy seed ice-cream and the varieties based on buttermilk.
On the farm
you can also tap raw or pasteurized milk into your own bottle, the liter for 1.20 EUR.
If you did not bring one you can buy a returnable 1 l milk bottle for the price of 80 cent.
While the milk vending machine is serviced throughout the year the ice-cream parlour is closed in winter.
When Markthalle Acht at Domshof square opened in 2017, the Kaemenas started to offer their ice-cream from a mobile ice-cream booth placed inside the market hall, a few meters away from the Schlüsselkorb tram stop in the city center.
The booth has disappeared since, but the ice-cream has not: Two or three flavours are now available from the Lütt Köök Huus day cafe which offers modern local lunch from noon to 3 pm, both vegan, vegetarian and omnivore, using organic milk and eggs.
[Bremen, organic, ice-cream, cafe, accommodation, farms, zero_waste]
Saturday, 30 June 2018
Cities with major universities have had organic shops long before the arrival of the big organic supermarkets, and Göttingen doesn't make an exception:
Probably the eldest still existing organic cafe in town is
serving tapas, sandwiches and small dishes with a Bolivian touch to it, or at least what a students' cafe is offering as such: good and filling due to proper organic ingredients, but far from any ambition for authenticity. The "Inti-Tasche" for example isn't a corn tortilla wrap but a plain white ciabatta-type roll filled with Italian-style antipasti. Needless to say that they offer Italian-style fairly traded coffee drinks and yummy cakes, and what's even better: They serve breakfast until 2pm. A welcoming place all day around if you like places with a liberal collegiate atmosphere whereof there are quite a number in the city.
Another one of them is
Dabis Kaffeestube, an alternative cultural hotspot and meeting place a few steps longer East. Among others, this cafe cum tea room serves
organic cakes from Das Backhaus.
If all you want is a coffee shot head for the city's only organic coffee roasters', the
Contigo. This fair-trade shop cum cafe also sells colourful gifts, fashion items, organic coffee and chocolates.
A fully organic dinner restaurant I wasn't able to spot during my shorter than one-day stay, but
lokal neun, directly located at the market place Am Wochenmarkt serves organic burgers and steaks, and is a pleasant place to enjoy a summer evening outside.
[Goettingen, organic, fair, coffee, tea, breakfast, lunch, dinner, cafe, restaurant, gifts]
Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Right after arrival at Venezia Santa Lucia train station, you may arm yourself for the queueing at the waterbus ticket office with a delicious ice-cream, milk-shake or granita from Gelateria Grom fronting the entrance hall towards Canal Grande. They use organic milk, some organic fruit, only natural ingredients and of course no additives, and have in general a eco-conscious agenda. Above all the ice-cream is gorgeous, and a favourite of the locals, too, as can be seen by the increasing number of often crowded Grom branches in Italian cities. For the ice-cream you have to specify a size -- small, medium or large -- and can choose a suitable number of varieties; up to two varieties for the small, and up to three for medium size. For something special (or if you are vegan) try a granita water ice slush (medium or large), especially when espresso granita is available -- it will easily take you through a summer night.
Grom has three more, in fact older branches in Venice, one of them on Campo San Barnaba square. If departing the waterbus at Ca' Rezzonico stop you can't miss it when following the only way into the open of the square and keep an eye on the left side.
On local websites the owner of Gelateria Alaska, a small whole-in-the-wall shop near Campo Santo was dubbed "king of organic ice-cream in Venice", so I went there to try and ask. While the all-natural ice-cream itself was perfectly palatable he told me that the main ingredients, milk and sugar, were too expensive, but he would occasionally use organic fruit and spices. Unfortunately he couldn't tell me whether any of the flavours on display contained organic ingredients that day.
If you read my post on Rovigo you may be tempted to try Gelato Fantasy in Calle dei Fabbri. DON'T! They are not connected with the Gelateria Fantasy in Rovigo, and they definitely do not use organic ingredients.
Ceased to exist
The following place does no longer exist, though you find still find references on the web:
[Venice, Venezia, organic, ice-cream, coffee, cafe, trainstation]
Tuesday, 29 May 2018
Those with a sweet tooth may feel in heaven when coming to the comparatively ugly urban sprawl which comprises the municipality of Selvazzano Dentro south-west of Padua and north of Abano Terme: In the neighbourhoods of San Domenico and Tencarola, devided by the crossing of the river Bacchiglione you will find a confectioner's shop cum bakery, an ice-cream parlour and finally a supermarket serving customers preferring organic food and delights.
When entering the municipality from the west following Via Euganea your first stop should be at a roundabout with
an artisanal bakery, Viennese-style cafe cum confectioner's shop where all the main ingredients are organic.
At Pasticceria Da Angelo you will find all organic and vegan options clearly marked, and the friendly staff will proudly and often unasked point out what's organic. If you do no feel like a delicate ice-cream or a gorgeous pastry along with an organic coffee drink (with organic soy milk if you prefer) have
a tramezzino sandwich or toast together with a freshly made organic smoothie, or an organic soft drink from the shelf in the backmost corner of the shop. Vegan sandwich options are readily available, the meat items on non-veg versions usually aren't organic. A serving of ice-cream is 1.30 EUR, with each additional scoop for 1.10 EUR. You may also buy a bag of organic cookies to take home, and if you're lucky there's a vegan and 100% organic dinner special during your stay. Advanced booking by phone are required for such an evening.
Not enough ice-cream or arriving after half past nine in the evening? Well, you can be helped.
Gelateria Soleluna a few meters east opposite Hotel Piroga uses more than 80 percent organic, and predominantly locally sourced ingredients for their granite, gelati, and ice cakes. A delight not to be missed,
the first ice-cream scoop goes for 1.30 EUR, each additional one for 1 EUR. Again, vegan flavours are available, but -- making a difference from Da Angelo -- are restricted to fruit varieties. The granite are available in two sizes, for 2.80 or 3.50 EUR.
On bank holidays the shop keeps open as on Sundays.
To fullfill your everyday needs follow Via Euganea in eastern direction, cross both, the bridge over the river, and the street side. Here, on Via Padova (the street changes its name in Tencarola) you'll find a well assorted NaturaSi supermarket where you can get everything organic from fruit and veges over dairy products and vegan alternatives to dry food, natural cosmetics, and more. This would also be the place you had to do most of your organic shopping when living in one of the villages in the vicinity -- your next real options being the NaturaSi in Abano Terme or, naturally, the ones in the city of Padua (e.g. here).
With one notable exception north-west of Selvazzano, in the village of Montegalda half way to Vicenza. Surprisingly it has a small organic grocery, Alimenti biologici Come Una Volta, a few steps north of the gelateria on the central roundabout (which you'd better avoid). Here you find a decent choice of organic dry goods, vegan alternatives and body care, a small fridge with some refreshments, and a handful of seasonal fruit and veges, probably directly from the owner's garden. When cycling or driving through pay a visit to this friendly shop.
[Padova, Padua, Selvazzano, Montegalda, organic, biologico, vegan, ice-cream, supermarket, coffee, bakeries, cafe, grocery]