Sunday, 05 November 2023
While buying organic requires only a little extra effort in Salzburg, minimising 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. The covid-19 pandemics marked the beginning as well as the end of the (to my knowledge) only dedicated organic pay-by-weight grocery, GenussProGramm (a pun which can be translated as both, "pleasure by the gram" or "pleasure program") in the neighbourhood of Andräviertel.
So what's left? As in other cities farmers' markets are a good bet: The Medousa market booth at the Grünmarkt opposite Fabi's Frozen Bio Yogurt within Mozart's birthplace offers to fill Italian-style antipasti and other mediterranean and vegetarian delicatessen into your jars, provided you ask for it. Although the market at Grünmarkt is held daily, there are no organic boothes on Mondays and Thursdays; the Medousa booth is here on Saturdays only. On Thursday mornings you can find it at the Schrannenmarkt opposite Mirabell castle.
At the Schrannenmarkt you'll also find the market booth of the
Ökoprodukte Feldinger organic farm which in the past used to run a fully organic supermarket in town. The booth is located next to Ändra church.
Offsite tourist tracks but on your way to Hellbrunn castle or zoo you'll find what until spring 2023 was Salzburg's only branch of the organic supermarket chain Basic.
Prior to its insolvency this organic retailer had a focus on reducing one-way packaging. While
the German Basic supermarkets were bought by the conventional tegut chain, the two Austrian branches
(the second one is located in Vienna) will continue as fully organic supermarkets of the Dennree chain.
However, I do not know whether gravity bins with dry food survived here as Denn's
has never had a focus on refill. As in most organic supermarkets fruits and veges usually are not pre-packaged, and serviced desks for bakery and dairy products allow you to take home products in your own boxes. There's also a slowly increasing range of products in returnable jars and bottles, but unfortunately these are usually more expensive than their counterparts in one-way packaging.
To refill milk around the clock head for the milk vending machine at the Erentrudishof organic 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 spot them.
The most stylish one of them is the Salzburg branch of
Joseph Brot vom Pheinsten with its open baker's workshop a few steps away from the Mönchsberg elevator. Apart from deliciously smelling bread, rolls, cakes and snacks there's a small selection of dairy products, jams and preserves. You can also order organic (coffee) drinks and sit down on a table to have a snack or enjoy their patisserie. The bakery keeps open on Sunday mornings and public holidays.
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: Three 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. On Thursdays you can find it at the Schranne Biomarkt.
Zero waste starts with the food, but does not end there: In order to reduce the amount of plastics ending up as microplastic in our environment and finally in ourselves it's crucial to reduce the use of the (undoubtedly useful) polymers in general: Don't throw them all away at once (as the biggest part of the carbon footprint of goods is in their production), but replace your plastic household items or clothes with plastic-free alternatives as soon as they are about to degrade.
In Salzburg there's a store to help you with that:
Damn Plastic in the Europapark mall in Taxham offers almost the entire range of plastic-free (or recycled) non-food, for inspiration
or replacement. Unfortunately their original shop in the inner city does no longer exist.
[Salzburg, Vienna, organic, vegetarian, zero_waste, unverpackt, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, bakeries, deli, market, breakfast, coffee, snacks, farms, fashion, bodycare, household]
Sunday, 05 March 2023
To find a hotel serving at least partially organic breakfast is nowhere easier than in the Austrian capital – a simple search on the web, and off you go. To book a room in the impressive ivy-covered zero energy building of the Boutiquehotel Stadthalle however, may prove more difficult during holiday seasons. The certified Bio-Hotel serves 100 percent organic breakfast and offers rooms both, in a renovated villa and a modern
recently build passive house, right in the vicinity of the Westbahn train station.
With family-run hotel
Gilbert (formerly known as "ViennArt") there's a second hotel with a green plant-covered facade next to the Museumsquartier art district. They not only offer organic breakfast but also sport a fashionable restaurant using organic produce.
Eco-consciousness isn't enough to make the world a better place – so why not stay at a place which actively works on the transformation of the economy?
Henriette Stadthotel in the city center, located on busy Praterstraße boulevard, is the first Austrian hotel certified as Economy for the Common Good (ECG) company. The family-run boutique hotel formerly known as "Hotel Capri" offers predominantly organic breakfast, and the staff is genuinely, not only professionally friendly and helpful – looks like they really enjoy their workplace. All rooms are decorated individiously, with each floor sporting a different aspect of Viennese culture – and a bench or two seats illustrating the theme, e.g. with nicely restored historic seats from Viennese teatres or garden chairs from the beginning of the 20th century. There's complimentary organic tea and instant coffee on the room.
Even the standard rooms are spacious and un-perfumed, decorated with dried flowers. All bedclothes are made from natural, organically certified materials, and the rooms are eco-friendly cleaned with steam-cleaners.
Liquid soap and shampoo are certified eco-friendly, but neither certified natural nor organic. Defininitely a place to recommend.
Social responsibility combined with eco-consciousness are
also the pillars of another centrally located hotel:
Magdas. The name of this place, opened in 2022, is a pun: "mag das" means "I like this", and Magda is a common female name. If you love being surrounded by people and furniture of all colours, this is the place for you: The hotel offers work and qualification for refugees, and the entire place is equipped with upcycled furniture. There's a garden instead of a parking lot, and organic, partially fairly traded food and drinks at the restaurant where you, in a positive sense, can "eat the world". Needless to say that locally generated renewable energy is part of the concept. Do not be confused if you find sources stating Laufbergergasse as the (no longer valid) address: The place was located in the Prater until it re-opened at its present location near the University of Music and Performing Arts.
Traditional Viennese hotel luxury certified against the eco standards of the Austrian Eco label for Tourism can be found at the hotels of the Schick family, Viennese hoteliers of the fourth generation and owners of Vienna's oldest hotel "Stefanie". Use of organic and fairly traded as well as local agricultural products in the kitchen are part of the requirements, but don't expect too much. Three of the five hotels have restaurants on premise: At Stefanie only the courses from the separate menu based on pork of the Labonca farm are guaranteed to include certified organic meat. In addition the wine menu offers a few organic ones. For other organic ingredients or drinks you have to ask the waiter/waitress. The gourmet restaurant Das Schick does not mark anything organic on its menu, but being a 3-toque restaurant one may expect frequent use of organic ingredients. The menu of the third restaurant, Wiener Wirtschaft marks an assortment of wines and a beer as organic, and use of Zotter chocolates hints a few more organic ingredients in the kitchen, but here you are on your own, too.
A carefully yet sparingly decorated, not over-designed semi-eco conscious modern business hotel a few steps from the main train station (Hauptbahnhof), the Zeitgeist is for you if you prefer a professional, suitably semi-anonymous design hotel with a small outdoor workout space and garden in the backyard (the green lawn however is artifical).
The breakfast here offers organic bread, eggs, milk, coffee, tea and cheese (not the slices though, only the Austrian "bio" cheeses served in cubes) – neither organic yogurt nor fruit nor preserves.
The Pergola hotel bar (open to the public between 12 and 23) allows you to combine four different gins and four different tonics, among them the Austrian O gin and the Red Bull Organics tonic which make for a 100 percent organic lightly herbal and refreshing combination. If you buy refreshments at the vending machines you'll find organic soft drinks of the Höllinger and Vöslauer brands.
There are free bicycles, but check the brakes before setting out for a ride as the staff does not seem to.
For single travellers the three Ruby design hotels Sofie in the Weißgerber neighbourhood, Lissi in the inner city and Marie in Neubau offer zeitgeist-compliant luxury and probably still partially organic breakfast (the keyword "organic" disappeared from their self-descriptions somewhen between 2018 and 2022).
Rooms can be booked on-line only, with credit cards as the only payment option,
and even at the bar they won't accept cash. There are
no family rooms available.
If you prefer to stay away from the urban buzz in quiet surroundings head for the family-friendly Umwelthotel Gallitzinberg about 40 minutes from Stephansplatz if using public transport. Take tube no. 3 to Ottakring and change to bus no. 46b in direction Wilhelminenberg to Hansl-Schmid-Weg. The European ecolabel certified hotel's organic breakfast buffet is open not only for hotel guests but also for those heading out for a walk in the Wienerwald, from 6:30 on weekdays and 7:30 on weekends and public holidays.
The bike-friendly hotel "Am Praterstern" is currently being transformed into an environment-friendly apartment house. It is expected to reopen as the
in June 2023, including a vegan-friendly vegetarian cafe which is expected to be using herbs and greens from vertical farming on premise.
[Vienna, Wien, organic, hotel, accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bar, restaurant]
Wednesday, 22 April 2020
Fortunately an increasing number of small-scale organic cattle farmers find creative ways to survive for the good of all of us -- and with some dairy cow farmers like the Kaemenas in Bremen or the Greisslers in Lower Austria the good is simply the best -- mouth-watering artisanal ice-cream!
In the case of Eis-Greissler the ice-cream isn't fully organic -- it's made from organic milk and often flavoured with organic Sonnentor spices. The home-base for the ice-cream parlours with the chequered, pastel-shaded doll's house interior is Vienna, and usually you will be able to recognise the
tiny shop near Stephansdom by the queue in front of it. The blackboard with the ice-cream flavours you'll notice when queueing from the right lists only the vegan flavours, there's a second blackboard left to the entrance listing the dairy varieties. A small scoop comes at 1.60 €, two flavours at 3 €, three at 4.20 €.
Prices however aren't the same everywhere: The bicyle-powered mobile ice-cream boothes (supplied with fresh ice-cream by cargo bikes) on the grounds of Schönbrunn castle and zoo charge a hefty 2.20 € the scoop.
More to try
During my research I also found the following ice-cream parlours trustworthily using organic ingredients, but I did not have the time to try them myself. If you do so let me know about your experience!
[Vienna, Wien, organic, vegan, ice-cream, cafe, coffee]
Friday, 12 June 2015
The Austrian capital is perfectly linked to most of Europe by the
railway network of Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB). Comfortable night trains run to (among other destinations) Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Hamburg. In 2022 Westbahn started to run rapid day connections between Vienna and Munich.
[The_Conscious_Traveller, Austria, Vienna, Wien]