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]
Monday, 06 January 2020
What would a visit to Paris be without tasting a crêpe? These thin pancakes come in two varieties -- galettes with savoury toppings make a perfect lunch while sweet teeth will prefer a crêpe with sweet toppings. For the real thing head for a crêperie, a specialized small restaurant serving no other food (apart from perhaps a salad), and you should do this for lunch as the better owner-run shops will usually close early in the afternoon.
My favourite place is Crêpe de la Joie, a family-friendly 100 percent organic owner-run crêperie near
tube stop Censier Daubenton.
The buckwheat-based galettes have savoury fillings, often with an egg on top, while the sweet crêpes are made of wheat.
All crêpes and galettes (except the one of the day) are dubbed after mythological figures like elves, gnomes and fairies and all of them are vegetarian or even vegan.
The friendly owner prepared food for us even though we arrived ten minutes before her closing time. This will surely not be the rule but a little broken French and a friendly smile helped us to get a perfect start for our visit.
The shop also sells
Hildegard of Bingen food products.
within the Marais does not observe the usual French rules for opening hours but serves crepes and galettes all day. The place with its rough wooden interior does
not use organic ingredients as a rule, but the flours for both, the galettes and the crepes are always organic.
More to try
The following organic creperies I found in preparation of my stay but did not have time to visit. If you come there I'd love to hear about your experience.
[Paris, organic, lunch, creperie, restaurant, coffee, French, vegan, vegetarian]
Sunday, 05 January 2020
No carbon and nuclear power, no GMO
-- the window front of the more than 20 years old budget hotel Solar Hôtel features Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace and makes very clear the convictions guests are expected to share or at minimum to tolerate. Located in the 14th district near metro station Denfert-Rochereau this welcoming, family-friendly place offers the luxury of
eco-certified cleansing agents and solar-powered illumination of its facades, but not necessarily of Paris elegance.
If you have a room on the upper floors you may even have a glimpse of the top of the Eiffel tower -- unfortunately the ugly Tour Montparnasse is in the way for a beautiful view.
The family rooms are marked for one to three persons, but can be easily used by a family of four as long as two children share a smaller double bed.
The hotel's interior emphasizes on longevity and recycling, not necessarily on natural materials (though the towels are made from organic cotton), with headboards and tables made of recycled wood which have been there since 1992, and still do not look shabby. On the other side you may be disappointed to find (re-used) plastic cups at the bathroom and blankets made from 100 percent polyester.
Visitors are encouraged to use the narrow, blue-painted spiral staircase instead of the lift to save electricity and asked to separate their waste into the bins in the entrance area.
You may also ask for bicycles.
The fully organic French-style breakfast consists of tea or coffee and delicious croissants and baguette with jams and butter. In addition you may help yourself with apple juice, yogurt and breakfast cereals.
There's a sister hotel (more precisely: an annex) dubbed Le Lionceau nearby where organic tea and coffee are promised to be available in the rooms.
If you are on a romantic vacation or have the budget for ordinary Paris hotel prices there's a number of more luxurious places to spend the night and wake up to a sumptuous
organic breakfast. Although I verified the existance of the hotels below I haven't stayed there (yet) and am interested in your experience.
The first ones on my list are the two Green Hotels Paris certified with the European Ecolabel: Hôtel Gavarni and
in the 16th district which promise 100 percent organic and/or fairly traded breakfast.
In the 4th district, near Place des Vosges Hôtel Turenne does not promise 100 percent organic breakfast, but some (perhaps most) of the
fresh items, pastries and cold cuts should be organic. It comes at additional 14 euros per person (7 euros when you book your room at the hotel's website) and at no extra cost for children below 12 years.
Breakfast on the room is being served without an extra charge.
And finally: As you righteously may expect from a carbon-neutral luxury hotel the Eden Lodge
in the 11th arrondissement is reported to offer fully organic breakfast,
although the hotel website only promises organic fairtrade coffee, tea and eggs. The place is located
near Bastille and the Père Lachaise graveyard.
[Paris, organic, hotel, accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bar]