Monday, 10 April 2023
A university city and a cultural hotspot in Norway it does not come as a surprise that Trondheim has a number of places to source
organic and eco-conscious products. However,
although the availability of organic products had been increasing
in the years before the covid-19 pandemics, the political will to foster planet-friendly consumation is low. As a consequence it requires a lot of individual effort to plan every-day life in the city if you want to restrict yourself to organic and sustainable food and goods.
Many inhabitants get some of their organic groceries (if omnivore also their meat) from market gardens, community-supported agriculture or farm subscription schemes, but since I do not live here this is beyond the focus of this blog.
Organic groceries and general stores
There are only three all-organic groceries in town, all crammed and pleasant if you like small owner-run shops, with friendly shop assistants who usually have time for a chat, often the owners themselves. All three of them have been here for many years, with ups and downs, sometimes at the edge of bankruptcy. You may expect to find all types of dry and a good selection of canned food, all you need to fill your store cupboard, sweets, natural body care and sustainable cleaning products. If available fresh fruits and vegetables are not pre-packaged in plastics.
The city's first address for zero-waste shopping is a crammed organic dry food shop, Zana: Bring along your bottles and boxes to refill organic detergents, grains, pasta, herbs and spices, sweets, dried fruit and more. In addition there are shelves crammed with pre-packaged preserved organic food (including vegan alternatives), household chemistry and body care products.
The shop started many years ago under the name Etikken, with a focus on fairly traded organic products, and due to its nice interior design had the air of a signature store. Despite its stylish appearance it was a not-for-profit company partially run by volonteers. In a period of time the shop was run by one of the founders under his name, and continued to be
a reliable source of organically certified make-up, skin and hair care, organic wipes, tampons and menstruation cups. In 2023 there was again a change
in the economic foundation of the shop, the window front got a new and fresh decoration, advertising it as organic mom-and-pop store.
For fresh food head for the city's organic pioneer, the Helios convenience store in Prinsens gate. At the end of 2016 the shop closed down but was taken over by new owners immediately and is now as reliable as before. You will find all daily necessities – food, toiletry, detergents etc. – in organic quality, including frozen pizza, ice-cream, unhomogenised fresh milk and Norwegian caramelized brown cheese. The frozen "lefser", Norwegian "pancakes" topped with butter, cinnamon and sugar and folded together, are not organic but nevertheless worth trying – simply defrost and enjoy.
Outside the city centre, a few minutes from the Rotvoll trainstation,
you find a small organic farm shop cum general store, the
Rotvoll Landhandel. It's part of the antroposophically driven Camphill village and biodynamic farm, an inclusive project of people with and without disabilities. The shop in a small farm house with light and wooden interior does not only sell products produced on the farm (among others tasty organic juices, cookies, bread and textiles), but also offers all you need of organic dry food, sweets and preserves, both of Nordic, European and international origin as well as detergents and body care. There's a freezer with bread and rolls of the village bakery and a fridge with dairy products, occasionally also meat. During the harvest season there may be fresh organic vegetables, too.
Make sure to have sufficient cash with you as the card reader refuses cards issued by foreign banks (at least none of mine were accepted, an issue often experienced in smaller shops in Norway, probably due to a
restricted service subscription).
At Trondhjem torv a farmers' market, Bondens marked is being held every second week on Saturday. Local small scale farmers sell their produce, but it takes a little effort to find the organic ones.
None of the above mentioned organic groceries are what you would call economic success stories, some of them were even about to shut down in the past. Likely the biggest economic success in the Norwegian organic sector is Godt Brød, a bakery which started here in town, as of today with three cafes cum bread shops in town. There's also a artisanal bakery, Isaks, attached to Sellanraa bar using organic ingredients.
Organic food at conventional food retailers
In conventional supermarkets you cannot expect to find all you need in organic quality, usually you will have to shop in different supermarkets and see what you are able to buy. Moreover organic vegetables are often wrapped in plastics, to
separate them from conventual produce.
At the beginning of the century
the (now) Meny hypermarket Solsiden offered an impressive range of organically certified food seen with Norwegian eyes. However, there has not been any noteworthy increase for the past years, and there's no effort to guide you towards organic products.
In Coop supermarkets watch out for the Änglamark own brand (see also here), in Rema shops for Kolonihagen, but most supermarkets do not stock more than a very basic selection, with the notable exception of Coop Mega shops like the one in the Sirkus shopping mall at the Strindheim bus hub where I found such exotic products as organic aubergines, cream, not homogenised milk and lime.
To avoid green-washed products and misleading marketing while cherry-picking through supermarkets check for the "økologisk" keyword and organic labelling (mainly Debio, KRAV and the European organic label, but you will also find Soil Association and USDA certificates). Dairy products by Røros meieriet, meat products by Grødstad Gris (though no longer certified organic as this decreased their ability to sell their products), ice-cream and beer from Reins Kloster, "Helios" and "Manna" products as well as "Go green" grains and pulses are all safe. Some of them can also be found in Sunkost or Life healthfood shops.
Before the covid-19 pandemics there were two cosy special shops offering organic
body care and wool products, but unfortunately none of them did not survive:
[Trondheim, organic, fair, vegetarian, vegan, zero_waste, grocery, market, supermarkets]
Sunday, 09 April 2023
As a university city Trondheim has had a few places offering partially organic lunch for almost a generation, both, of the home-made vegetarian food kind, and those with a fine dining approach. Some of the pioneers closed their kitchens only a year ago, others re-opened in larger locations after a closing period and fostered an entire cluster of restaurants based on ingredients from organic farms in the greater region. Coffee houses and cafes serving fairly traded coffee drinks with organic milk have been coming and going, but if you put a little effort in where to go you will find both, places for a quick coffee or sandwich, places to have a great time with friends, and inspiring eating experiences.
For a lunch or breakfast sandwich head for the cafe in the backroom of the organic Godt Brød bakery near Nordre gate,
one of the pioneers of organic food in Norway. Choose the filling of your sandwich or savory bread roll (all ingredients except the Italian-style salami cut are organic), have a decent coffee drink (the milk is organic), tea, a sweet organic bread roll ("bolle"), and/or an organic juice (e.g. from the nearby Rotvoll juicery in Ranheim which has its own organic grocery on their premises). About half of the cold drinks are not organic, so check for the "økologisk" keyword. During the warm season, treat yourself with a pre-packaged organic ice-cream from Reins Kloster. Everything is offered to take away, too. Notable fact for vegans: The dough for the sweet bread rolls is dairy-free, the bakery uses porridge made from oat and water and rapeseed oil instead of milk.
The company has expanded vastly in the past few years, with shop openings in Oslo (which by now also hosts the headquarter), Stavanger, Bergen and a few other places and last but not least at its birthplace: If you cannot find a spare seat in the cafe where it all began simply walk a few more steps to Dronningensgate. With its upmarket shop front it's the perfect place for a coffee date.
A short stroll over the bridge there's a third branch by the waterfront, inside the
Solsiden shopping mall with even longer opening hours. They have a spacious sitting area outdoor, although its use is limited due to the ever changing weather in Trondheim. Good to know: All Godt Brød branches accept anonymous payments without data traces, using cash.
Heartier food like organic egg and bacon for breakfast or lamb burgers for lunch or dinner, together with organic softdrinks can be had at Ramp Pub and Spiseri at Svartlamon. Vegetarian options are available. Service at this shabby-homely place may be a little slow, and not all of the ingredients are organic.
Formerly entirely furnished with formica tables and chairs the interior has improved since, but gentrification hasn't replaced the proletarian chic yet.
The kitchen closes at 9 pm.
For pizza and beer head for Selma, one of the many pubs in the former ship repair workshops at Solsiden. Unfortunately none of the drinks (apart from a fresh cassis-flavoured nordic sour) is organic, and most of the food isn't organic either, but they use organic flour for the best pizza dough in town and have some organic ingredients among the toppings. Their store cupboard being a part of the interior you can see that they, among others, use both, organic and conventional tomatoes, organic vinegar and syrup. Some of the fresh herbs are organic, although the basil wasn't at my visit. The best pizzas here aren't the classical Italian ones but their own creations which go extremely well with beer. They happily omit the meat toppings if you ask so but expect to pay the full price anyway.
Make sure to place your orders at the bar (and pay at once), taking with you the drinks. The food will be served.
Real organic food, vegan and vegetarian, is served at neighbourhood Cafe Stammen in Kongens gate. Unfortunately their opening hours are rather limited, so I haven't been able to pay a visit yet. Let me know about your experience if you happen to eat there before me.
Simple seasonal lunch with the little extra, home-made predominantly from produce of small-scale organic (though not necessarily certified) farms from the Trøndelag region, sourdough bread of traditional grains from the adjacent bakery, coffee and books, this is
Sellanraa next to the city library and Kunsthall museum. Unfortunately they do not serve dinner and are closed on Sundays.
Fine dining based on local organic produce started with restaurant Credo in an old narrow street in the city center of Trondheim many years ago. The place had to close, but after a break, master-mind and chef Heidi Bjerkan started anew on new, formerly industrial locations in Lilleby. There are now three restaurants for various budgets, and a bakery: fine dining at Credo, informal rustic brunch, lunch and dinner at Jossa, and ramen soups with a Norwegian touch at Edoramen, run
by different chefs who all share the love for unadultered, sustainable food.
All places are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as during the Easter holidays.
At the airport
Airports generally aren't the place for a conscious lifestyle, but if you cannot avoid to fly from Trondheim Airport Værnes you may at least have an rganic coffee past security at
Haven next to
Permanently closed or no longer organic
The following places are either closed, with references remaining on the web, or ceased to offer organic items:
- Credo, Ørjaveita 4 (partially organic gourmet restaurant, re-opened on new location)
- Kafé Soil, Nedre Bakklandet 20d
- Makro Buffet og Restaurant, Prinsens gt. 4c (partially organic macrobiotic eatery)
- Trondheim Mathall, Prinsens gt. 30 (partially organic restaurant and delicatessen)
- Persilleriet, Erling Skakkes gt. 39 (one of the pioneers of organic vegetarian food in Trondheim, replaced by a vegan lunch bar, Erlings, where you perhaps also will find some organic items if you ask)
- Persilleriet St. Olavs Hospital, Olav Kyrres gt. 13
- Dromedar Kaffebar (various places, do no longer have anything organic)
[Trondheim, organic, fair, vegetarian, vegan, bakeries, cafe, takeaway, coffee, ice-cream, snacks, lunch, dinner, pizza, airports]
Saturday, 18 September 2021
The idea was simple: Instead of flying – why not travelling climate-friendly? Most certainly this would take some time, but travelling Oslo–Berlin–Paris took time for the famous painters, writers and artists more than a hundred years ago, too.
Upfront research showed that it would have been possible to reach Trondheim within a little more than two nights and a day during the summer 2021, but we were restricted to travel in the first half of September by the date of a family festivity, limited days off from work and the end of the Bavarian school holidays. With only 10 minutes connecting time in Hamburg and, in case of a miss, the next possible connection one week later due to change of timetables on the Swedish part, we gave up on the plan of the fastest possible route. Instead two additional nights, one in Hamburg, and one in Copenhagen, would not only give us a little leisure to re-visit these cities, it would also increase the amount of money to spend: If you decide to travel Europe by train and do not have all the time of a university break a reasonably priced Interrail ticket simply won't suffice.
Finally the travel itinerary came up to
Altogether four nights and about three and a half days involving six train companies – most of them not co-operating. Had we had the time and money for a return trip it would even have been possible to take bicycles on the tour (at least to the Norwegian border).
Amidst the covid-19 pandemic a new privately held German train company took the courage to re-establish over-night travel by train on the North-South line through Germany, one part of the train departing from Salzburg, another from Konstanz by the lake Bodensee to be united on their way to the island of Sylt via (among others) Munich and Hamburg. The train is operated two times per week and tickets can be booked online only. The company informed by e-mail that the departure of the train wouldn't be visibly announced at the train station, but sent time, platform and car location for all stations on the route.
With this information at hand I didn't get nervous when the display at platform 6 in Munich Ostbahnhof announced that all trains would depart from platform 11 or 12 (presumably due to the strike of the Deutsche Bahn train drivers in the summer of 2021). Some fellow passengers found out that this also applied to the Alpen-Sylt-Express, and the entire crowd moved over.
What didn't show up in time was the train by the time of arrival and not even by the time of departure, and as announced, there simply was no information. A helpful staff member of the Austrian train company ÖBB reassured us that the train would arrive here, and finally it appeared on the platform display and, by about half an hour delayed, arrived.
From now on everything went smooth (at least until we reached the Norwegian border). Due to the pandemic no strangers were booked into the former Deutsche Bahn couchette compartment which came at a price of 300 EUR for the two of us. The interior as well as the common wash and toilet facilities were clean, though a little worn. The almost doubly priced (or, in luxury class even more expensive) sleeper (with private room) is of French origin, and there's a very competitively priced seat car (starting at around 70 EUR).
On the train it would have been possible to order a pair of organic soft pretzls, organic tomato soup and organic porridge for dinner and breakfast, though no organic drinks.
Clean sheets were provided for all six sleeping places, and despite being a German train the proper way of sleeping was the Southern way wrapped into the sheet and covered with a blanket. Needless to add that in the couchette car you are expected to make your bed yourself. Complimentary drinking water to brush your teeth was not provided.
Danske Statsbanen (DSB) and Deutsche Bahn (DB) co-operatively run the city connection between Hamburg and Copenhagen via the Storebelt bridge, so buying tickets more or less spontaneously and without providing personal data, at a German or Danish train station usually shouldn't be an issue. The direct IC train runs four times a day to and fro and keeps waiting at the platform in Hamburg central station between arrival and departure. Unfortunately you aren't allowed on board more than fifteen minutes before departure – the train will be closed while the staff is having their break.
There are more connections where you have to change trains, but with almost all of them the journey takes around five hours.
The direct Intercity train is comfortable and – just as the night trains – has capacity for bicycles. Ticket prices vary, depending on whether you have a Bahncard discount card, as well as on how long in advance and where you buy it.
Effectively an urban train line over the Öresund bridge tickets for the Öresundtåg regional train can be bought from the ticket machines at København H – anonymously as long as you see away from the card payment which is the most comfortable payment method if your stay in Denmark isn't long enough to use Danish cash.
Since we travelled during the covid-19 pandemic passports had to be provided in the train which stopped but was closed during the border control.
Malmö–Åre/Storlien on the Snälltåget night train
As far as I know night trains between Stockholm and the Swedish-Norwegian border at Storlien have been running for ages, and quite recently the privately held Snälltåget has extended its network to Berlin (via Copenhagen and Hamburg).
During the summer we could have travelled Munich–Berlin with Deutsche Bahn, with four hours the fastest train connection within Germany, and taken the Snälltåget from there, but as the Swedish company changed to their autumn timetable this connection did not work out.
The ticket for two in a private couchette came at 4000 SEK (about 400 EUR) and had to be booked on-line. Due to covid-19 restrictions the remaining four beds weren't filled up, but we were given all six complementary packs of drinking water. The choice at the restaurant car dubbed "Krogen" was limited due to the pandemic, and did not include any single organic item.
Washing facilities in the couchette car are limited to the common toilet.
The beds are a little wider than on the Alpen-Sylt-Express which might have been the reason for that my sleep was deeper and less disturbed during that night. On this train we were given duvet covers.
The train is provided at Malmö C in good time before departure, so we were able to board almost an hour before.
By the way: The train company's name, Snälltåget, is a play on words. The Swedish word "snäll" means "nice" and is a false friend with the German word "schnell" meaning "fast". Before IC and ICE trains took over the city connections in Germany, the then faster trains were referred to as "Schnellzüge", "fast trains".
Åre/Storlien–Trondheim: The last miles
What should have been a 1.5 hours train ride with the Meråkerbanen regional train
from the Snälltåget's final destination Storlien to Trondheim, turned out to be a show stopper for climate-friendly travel as well as a tedious money sink.
When planning the journey in June 2021, the timetables of Meråkerbanen were still on-line, although we expected a rail replacement bus service due to the ongoing electrification work on the route (just like on our last train journey from Stockholm to Storlien in 2017). What we did not expect was that there was no public transport service at all!
Locals told us that the connection has not been operated for the entire covid-19 pandemic, mainly because the Norwegian and the Swedish side wouldn't agree on the test and vaccine control procedure at the border.
So we had to hire a cab from one of the taxi companies in Åre: Taxi Åre did not have any cars left, but Topptaxi was willing to drive us from the train station of Åre over the border to the nearest Norwegian village, Meråker, at the hefty price tag of 2100 SEK. Due to an initial misunderstanding on behalf of the taxi operator we ended up paying only 1700 SEK for the 1.5 hours ride which would have been the price from Åre to the border. Given the fact that Storlien–Meråker would have been much shorter, this was probably a fair deal for both parties.
Since it was raining (the expected weather) we asked the taxi driver to drop us in front of the Coop Xtra hypermarket in Meråker where we could wait inside the "cafe" corner for the bus to Trondheim. A little more than an hour later we were heading over to the bus stop at Meraker school from where the bus no. 670 would take us to Trondheim. (Mind you that this 1.75 hours public bus service does not run on weekends.)
[The_Conscious_Traveller, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Salzburg, Munich, Konstanz, Hamburg, Berlin, Copenhagen, Malmo, Stockholm, Storlien, Aare, Trondheim, eco, nighttrains, trains]
Wednesday, 25 August 2021
To put it short: To my knowledge, there are no hotels, motels or guest houses
with a dedicated focus on sustainability and/or circular economy in Trondheim,
not even one offers 100 percent organic breakfast.
Before the covid-19 pandemics the hotels of the Choice chain advertised with organic breakfast items and Debio label certificates in bronce which is awarded to food places offering at minimum 15 percent organic items. In the case of the otherwise boring conference hotel Augustin at the corner of Kongens and Prinsens Gate this allowed for an organic breakfast consisting of apple juice, crispy oat-cerials with a tasty type of sourmilk ("tjukkmjølk") or low-fat milk from Røros meieriet, alternatively soy milk, crispbread with honey, peanut butter, brie and a blue-mould cheese as well as hard-boiled eggs a few years ago.
On a stay at Comfort Hotel Park at the corner of Prinsens gate and Bispegata the 15 percent mixture consisted of all organic coffee and fat-free cow milk (but conventional oat and soy milk), organic Earl Grey tea, dark rye bread and one type of crisp bread, a good selection of organic cerials, raisins, apples, orange marmelade, peanut butter, honey, and boiled eggs. The Park hotel bar's fridge next to the entrance offered organic lemonade and cola (of the "Oskar Sylte" brand) as well as canned organic iced coffee mixes, but all this might have changed in the past few years.
The city's hotel institution Britannia in Dronningens Gate, once a certified eco lighthouse reopened after years of renovation. Before that they offered a small selection of organic veges and bread at the breakfast buffet, but I cannot confirm whether this is still the case – the price tag for a night at the hotel has increased dramatically since their reopening as a pet project of the owner of Norway's biggest food retailer, Rema.
Just a few steps west, crossing Nordre and Jomfrugate you will find Hotel City Living Schøller a budget option which was recommended to me by Alicia from Portland, Oregon after reading this blog. She described her room as having "zero
perfume – none on the sheets nor in the cleansers. The room felt fresh and
healthy, if quite simple." The hotel provides guests with
a 15 percent discount at nearby Godt Brød bakery cum cafe for breakfast, and offers a kitchen for
[Trondheim, hotel, accommodation]
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Although Trondheim can easily be reached by train from Oslo, it is difficult
to come here even from other Scandinavian capitals. Public transport by ATB is much better and reliable now than in the 1990ies, but as a tourist without a Norwegian bank account,
or if you do not want to install a mobile app, buying tickets can be a nuisance as ticket machines are not readily available.