Thursday, 27 February 2020
To buy organic products in Salzburg couldn't be easier: Even the random conventional supermarket has a sufficient selection of it, hence availability is not an issue as long as you are familiar with the EU and the Austrian organic logos (mainly the AMA organic seal, the Austria organic guarantee, and the Bio Austria certificate).
To shop for the arguably most famous Austrian organic brand head for busy Linzer Gasse pedestrian street: at Sonnentor you'll find teas, tisanes, dried herbs and spices, as well as a selection of sweets and natural body care -- the contemporary version of a medieval chemist's shop, with an abundance of products based on herbs grown in Austria itself.
The flagship store of the second famous brand, fair-trade confectioner Zotter unfortunately closed in February 2019, but sweet teeth will find the hand-made chocolate bars all over the city, among others at the Weltladen, a dedicated fair trade shop just a stone's throw away. Step by this nice place to shop for all kind of gifts -- both eatable, wearable, and decorative. There's a second "world shop" in the neighbourhood of Gneis with a focus on fairly traded natural and organic fashion.
If you feel like a coffee during your shopping spree in the Linzergasse area step by
Röstzimmer 15, a small scale coffee roaster's specialising in organic fairly traded traditionally grown
Ethiopian coffee dubbed
"Urkaffee". In addition they sell organic chocolates, tea, and honey from within the city boundaries. Careful with the bread: only a selection is organic. Unfortunately this cosy little shop is closed on Saturdays (and Sundays).
A short bicycle tour along the Salzach river (in southern direction towards castle and zoo Hellbrunn) gets you to the new (opened in 2019) farmshop of the organic Bienenlieb beekeeper's. Along with their own honey (in reusable glasses) and gin you can shop for other bee products, sustainable beekeeping and gardening equipment, bee-friendly seeds, plastic-free food containers, as well as Bioaustria certified local organic products like tea, herbs and more.
There's also a small cafe on the farm, and the honey is also available from the Franziskischlößl hotel shop.
Shoes and fashion
Once home to a vibrant shoe industry there's not much left of artisanal shoemakery in today's Austria. If it wasn't for the "Waldviertler" -- robust enduring footwear which you can buy at Gea alongside fashionable leather bags, sustainably made furniture with a sometimes anarchistic touch, bedding, eco fashion accessories, organic tea and tisanes, or gift items. The company is a major driving force within the Economy for the Common Good movement, and all products are made in sustainably driven, socially conscious workshops by artisans in Austria and its neighbouring countries.
For sustainably produced shoes of play- and colourful designs -- light city wear in contrast to the down-to-earth design inspired by the farm lands of the Waldviertel -- head to the Think! flagship store in the old town.
The founder of this brand also comes from an Austrian shoemaker family, and the company is headquartered in a small Upper Austrian village, Kopfing.
If you want more sustainable shoe brands or are looking for children's footwear, cross Mozartplatz and head for Vega Nova, another Think! affiliate which also offers, among other brands, two favourites of mine: French Arche and Spanish Braco shoes. They also have sustainable chairs, beds and other furniture.
While Gea provides you with socks, gloves, scarfs, gloves and other textile accessories it's not a clothes boutique. For eco fashion you may try Bella Boutique in Linzer Gasse, but check the labels carefully as its entrance area shows off tourist rip-off like cheap Chinese down jackets made from 100% plastic materials. The shop was formerly located in Wolf-Dietrich-Straße, an address you still may come across.
If you love hemp and other re-discovered plant-based fibres head for Eberlin-Frenkenberger Naturmode in Dreifaltigkeitsgasse, a nice fashion boutique with a classical approach.
[Salzburg, organic, fair, coffee, tea, gifts, spices, honey, fashion, shoes, shopping, confectioners]
While buying organic requires little effort in Salzburg, minimizing waste is an entirely different issue. If you wish to carry home your purchases in your own re-usable containers you depend on the cooperation of the shop, which even in organic supermarkets can be surprisingly little. But by the end of 2019 Salzburg got its own dedicated organic pay-by-weight grocery: In the Andräviertel neighbourhood GenussProGramm (a pun which can be translated as both, "pleasure by the gram" or "pleasure program") opened in lieu of the
former Frau von Grün grocery five minutes south of Mirabellplatz which had been offering a good selection of loose weight organic goods.
Stylish and spacious the place has the looks of a cafe rather than of a grocery, but do not be mistaken: you may come here for both, your daily shopping as well as for breakfast, lunch and coffee. A small selection of fresh fruit and veges, dairy products, vegan alternatives and bakery items round up the quite exhaustive supply of dry goods and package-free household items, all nicely presented.
To add Italian-style antipasti and other mediterranean and vegetarian delicatessen to your shopping bag take your jars to the Medousa market booth at the Grünmarkt opposite Fabi's Frozen Bio Yogurt within Mozart's birthplace, and politely ask to fill them. Unfortunately this was the only organic booth at this daily farmer's market I spotted during my visit, and it's there on Fridays and Saturdays only.
Offsite tourist tracks but on your way to Hellbrunn castle or zoo you'll find the only Salzburg branch of the organic supermarket chain Basic which allows you to shop almost all daily necessities without producing non-compostable waste.
To refill milk around the clock head for the milk vending machine at the Erentrudishof farm in Morzg, a pleasant bike ride from the city. There's also a farmshop, of course with more restricted opening hours, where you also can buy eggs, spelt, wheat and rye produced by the farm.
When buying bread, rolls, cake or snacks from organic bakeries you should by now no longer meet strange looks when presenting your bag or container. But organic bakeries in town seem to be afraid of advertising themselves as "bio", so it can be difficult to find the right place.
Elisabethen-based artisanal bakery Pföß has a shop next to the Sternbräu area in the old town.
Unfortunately only the bread is promised to be organic, the white rolls tasted bland as if they were made of conventional flour. On the other hand the Krapfen doughnuts were a real delight, crisp and still a little warm, filled with fruity apricot purree instead of oversweet jam. If you come here for a snack stay away from the conventional softdrinks, and you may wish to ask whether the sandwiches are made with organic toppings.
If you want to be sure to get 100 percent organic bakery products, visit the Grünmarkt at Universitätsplatz: Four days a week you'll find the booth of Bio-Bäckerei Itzinger on its Eastern side, near the Ritzerbogen hallway. The bakery also offers vegan bread and rolls and has a focus on wholemeal products.
[Salzburg, organic, vegetarian, zero_waste, unverpackt, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, deli, market, breakfast, snacks, farms]
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Decent artisanal ice-cream made from organic milk has been readily available in Salzburg's inner city for years, but the first 100 percent organic gelateria opened only in March 2019: Höfingers Eisladen located next to Mozart's birth place at Universitätsplatz may be new as a light and pleasantly decorated ice-cream shop, but the Höfinger family has been making ice-cream in town since 1933. (Given the year I'd expected some historical details on the company's website, but unfortunately there are none.)
At present the ice-cream is being sold from the very plastic containers that the manufacturer also delivers to restaurants like
Organic Pizza Salzburg, but the ice-cream tastes delightfully fresh and creamy and is well worth the 1.80 € the single scoop. Two scoops come at 3.40 €, three at 4.50 €, every additional flavour adds an extra 1.40 € to the bill. As for all other ice-cream makers in this blog post the ice-cream is heavier than you may be used from Italian gelaterie, and there's a range of flavours (like the poppy seed ice-cream) that are special to Austria.
The place is closed during the cold season -- for 2020 most of the ice-cream shops listed here announced to re-open somewhen in the first weeks of March.
The Höflinger shop also sells coffee drinks from a small home-sized coffee automat, but you may prefer to proceed next door to Fabi's Frozen Bio Yogurt located within the very building of Mozart's birthplace which sports a real bar-sized Italian pressure machine. This clean, no-frills ice-cream parlour uses organic milk, both for their extremely tasty frozen yogurt and the Italian-style coffee drinks.
In addition to the plain yogurt they occasionally have a passion fruit variety. Unfortunately the organic promise in the name of the place is restricted to the milk. Neither the toppings (with a notable exception of some caramelized nuts) nor the coffee sold here are organic. The yogurt comes in small, medium and large sizes, always in cardboard cups with a plastic spoon. So even if you choose to sit down with your frozen yogurt at one of their tables in- or outdoors you cannot avoid waste. This is not comprehensible as the coffee drinks are being served in creamware, and even worse: you pay less when taking it away in a one-way coffee cup.
During the cold season (which lasts from November through February/March) or on a (very) rainy day the only ice-cream made from organic milk comes from a local chain dubbed Icezeit and is offered by
Cafe Timeless a few steps off the Linzergasse pedestrian area. Prices vary depending on the flavour: Basic ones like coffee come at 1.50 EUR the scoop, more elaborated ones like Rafaello (coconut-white chocolate) at 2.70 EUR.
Icezeit prefers fairly traded and sustainably grown ingredients, and runs several ice-cream shops both, north and south of the river Salzach during the warm season. Creamy, and with a mouth-watering selection of flavours ranging from the usual suspects to greek honey yogurt or peanut caramel, this ice-cream is hard to resist. Avoid the (additional) toppings you can buy on top as none of them are organic.
They also have a frozen yogurt shop opposite the ice-cream parlour in Kaiviertel near Residenzplatz where you pay by weight, and in 2019 a new ice-cream shop opened in the tourist hotspot of Linzergasse.
All Icezeit shops keep open longer than given below when outside temperatures are high while you may find them closed on extremely bad weather days.
Almost side-by-side with the new Icezeit shop in Linzergasse you'll find the Salzburg branch of Eis-Greissler, a Kulmbach-based organic dairy farm producing their ice-cream from the milk of their own cows, often scented with organic spices from the Sonnentor farms (which by coincidence, have a shop next door).
The second fully organic ice-cream shop in town is located in the neighbourhood of Gneis and specializes in vegan ice-cream: The Veganer Eisladen is affiliated with The Green Garden restaurant, cafe and bar and a pleasant destination for a bicycle tour.
Ceased to exist
The following places do no longer exist, even though you still might find references to them on the web:
[Salzburg, organic, vegan, ice-cream, frozen_yogurt]
Wednesday, 29 January 2020
Pirna, a nicely restored small town a little east of Dresden and the entire surrounding district Eastern Erzgebirge/Saxon Switzerland
may be best known for its bad reputation as a stronghold of outer right-wing extremists, neo-fascists and populists. But fortunately the town also has a strong civil society which cleans up the spitted at windows and works for a humane neighbourhood and the integrity of creation. So whether you're on the road with your bicycle travelling the Elberadweg or take the urban train from Dresden -- have a break to support these brave people and marvel at the town with roots in the stone age, its rich medieval and modern history.
For a coffee break head for Café Bohemia
a little off the market place, located in a restored
renaissance house built in 1480. When the weather is nice you may take a seat outdoors, on the pleasantly quiet cobblestones of Schmiedegasse ("blacksmith's lane"). The Italian-style coffee drinks are made with organic milk, and the rich and lipsmacking home-made cakes contain organic eggs and milk as well as organic fruit and herbs, both home-grown or collected from meadows in the surroundings with scattered fruit trees. As the Saxon cake tradition has it the friendly owner will serve the cake with a dollop of cream.
Unfortunately the cafe is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
On these days, in the morning or if you prefer a hearty lunch proceed to the Vorwerk Podemus organic supermarket you may know from Dresden, with its fully organic bistro.
Another option for a cake or snack is the town's only artisanal organic bakery Spiegelhauer near the train station. The family also had an organic cafe cum ice-cream parlour in nearby Heidenau but this does no longer exist.
Small German towns with beautiful old city centres often have a small traditional organic corner shop in one of the historic lanes, and Pirna is no exception: However, the owners of the former organic greengrocery Naturkosten closed their shop near St. Mary's city church a few years ago and turned it into a beautiful organic bodycare shop, boringly dubbed
There's still another small-scale organic grocery in the south, a little out of town, the Bioladen in Pirnas Grünem Haus.
[Pirna, Heidenau, Elbe_cycle_route, Elberadweg, organic, coffee, lunch, snacks, cafe, supermarkets, grocery, bakeries, bodycare]
Tuesday, 07 January 2020
Walked the Champs Elysees and feel for an easy going, yet high-quality French-style bistro? Continue from the Arc de Triomphe along Avenue Victor Hugo, and you will finally arrive at Place Jean Monnet in the 16th arrondissement. Here you'll find all-day open neo-bistro Jacques, a small friendly place serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and -- on Sundays from 10am
to 5pm -- brunch. Apart from a selection of (generous) starters, salads, soups, and burgers there are two daily changing French-style main courses, usually meat and fish.
All fruits and vegetables are organic; the meat isn't promised to bear an organic label, but it is definitely of high quality. Unfortunately, of the drinks only the coffee and an easy-going Chardonnay white wine are organic, so although the bar keeps open longer than the kitchen (usually until 2 am) you will not get much organic during the night. The home-made potato chips which were served as a complimentary amuse-gueule may be an exception.
The service here is swift, good-humoured and happy to speak English and some phrases of whatever your language is.
While in all the other restaurants mentioned here tourists are the majority of guests, the audience at
a small fully organic restaurant and wine bar
near the metro stop Odeon was clearly local.
Their secret (with well-behaving kids): two of the seats are swings.
As in most French restaurants you order a set menu: a starter and main course or main course and dessert or starter, main course and dessert
Of course you can also order individually but if you wish to order more than one thing it's more economical to take such a combination.
In addition to the menu there's a daily suggestion of the chef -- in my case a hearty stew of calf, green beans and potatoes.
Another tip is the main course salad with a sheet of crips brique dough. All in all
a perfect place for both, omnivores, vegetarians and vegans, and the best: all drinks are also organic!
If you ready for the classical French Haut cuisine try La Ferrandaise.
This is definitely a place vegetarians should avoid, and even omnivores will probably feel to have eaten sufficient meat (and perhaps fish) for the next week after an evening out here.
The classical starter-main-course-dessert (at 37 EUR in the evening) is more than filling -- but absolutely tasty and often offers this magical moment when the known ingredients almalgamise into a higher unity, and you wonder how this taste might have been produced.
The restaurant is a heavy tourist spot -- English was the predominant language, which is probably due to the fact that the place was mentioned in the Guide Michelin.
All vegetables are organic, and there was one really good certified organic read wine on the daily menu. With other wines the restaurant promises that the vineyards work "in the spirit of bio".
Lunch menu (l'assiette du midi) comes at 16 EUR.
More to try
Here's a list of (partially) organic restaurants I found in preparation of my stay but did not have time to follow up. If you visit them I'd love to hear about your experience.
[Paris, organic, lunch, dinner, restaurant, French, vegan, vegetarian]