The Organic Traveller
Wednesday, 07 September 2022

Organic Innsbruck: Eat and sleep

Innsbruck was a Saturday-to-Sunday overnight stop on the München-Venezia bike route, so this guide is far from complete! The only thing I can say for sure is that finding a (partially) organic place open on Sundays isn't easy.

Crema

My first impulse for an organic Sunday morning coffee was Cafe Crema in Welsergasse, a few steps from Landhausplatz, but the place turned out to be closed on Sundays. They promise to use a good deal organic produce from Tyrolean farmers. The coffee is only fairly traded, not organic. You may expect home-made cakes and a small range of savoury snacks for lunch or breakfast.

Moustache

With option number two I was luckier: Although the Moustache looked like a decent (American-style) bar for an evening out and quite closed from its street address in the morning it turned out that the proper entrance was from Domsplatz, with pleasant outdoor seating. On Sunday mornings they do not serve the usual falafel and hummus sandwiches, but offer a generous brunch buffet, including very palatable hummus, pancakes and cake. About 90 percent of the food, so the promise goes, should be organic. Unfortunately I was too busy to try all the good stuff on the buffet that I completely forgot to scrutinise the bottles in the adjacent main room. But since the bar looked very well assorted I am sure the bartender will offer an organic gin or more if you ask.

More to try

I love food markets, and had I been in Innsbruck on a week- or Saturday I would have loved to have breakfast or lunch at the Klein und fein cafe in the Markthalle. Their lunch menu sports a mixture of international classics and Austrian dishes, predominantly vegetarian and made with local, often organic ingredients. They also offer ice-cream made from organic milk. Unfortunately the place is going to close mid of September, 2022. Whether their home-base shop is open to the public I cannot say, but it's certainly not a public restaurant.

As the original plan was to eat out late on Saturday night, I had the sister restaurant to the Salzburg burger grill Ludwig on my list. On Sundays the place is closed.

Next time I'll come to Innsbruck I hope to visit Oscar kocht, the vegetarian restaurant of a chef with Mexican roots promising to cook with predominantly organic ingredients. In summer 2022 Oscar wasn't here, and the female duo of Sloe was serving vegetarian/vegan dinner in this location, though not on Sundays.

When I checked for bicycle-friendly hotels on the München-Venezia bike route I found a hotel that I already had on my shortlist of overnight options offering at least partially organic breakfast: the Hotel Schwarzer Adler. Unfortunately our budget wasn't prepared for the price tag they called for that night (more than 300 EUR for the double room), and so the place remains unreviewed here. (The night was spent in a hostel offering organic tea and plant-based drink – not enough to qualify for this post.)

Map of all places listed in this article

2022-09-07 09:45:00 [The_Conscious_Traveller, Austria, Innsbruck, MuenchenVenezia, organic, lunch, dinner, restaurant, cafe, coffee, vegetarian, ice-cream] Link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author: E-mail · Mastodon · Vero · Ello.

Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Verona: Organic cafes, restaurants and eateries

Meat-lovers, be brave in Verona: All the places I found serving organic food are vegetarian or even vegan.

Piu Gusto Bio

Piu Gusto Bio offers organic breakfast, health food for lunch as well as coffee and cake. They have outdoor seating on the main street, so unless the corona virus forces you to avoid closed rooms it's nicer to sit inside in the pleasantly decorated air-conditioned cafe. For lunch there are tasty sandwiches and daily changing plates with wholefood preparations inspired by the suggestions of the Havard School of Public Health for a healthy eating plate. Around 2pm choice was limited, but the broiled zucchini and fennel, the aubergine-bean mixture and the falafel-style bean balls were very nice and not as bland as health food often uses to be. All food is vegetarian, most of it vegan. While the coffee was nice (well, it's Italy after all), the chocolate cake was dry and crumbly.

More to try

Satisfied there was no need to proceed to the Ziga bar north of the Adige river, in the neighbourhood of Borgo Trento which promises a little more elaborated vegetarian, though only partially organic lunch and dinner, natural wines and organic beer.

For vegan sweets, coffee, a soup or savoury snack I have Dulcamara bakery cum self-service day cafe on my list, but my time between two trains did not allow for more than one lunch and an ice-cream.

For vegan organic pizza and pasta try La Laterna. Their signature dish is bigoli (thick "spaghetti-like" pasta) alla carbonara, and I'm curious how they interpret this rather un-vegan recipe in a vegan style.

Map of all places listed in this article

Probably closed

Some years ago I found the following pizzeria in Borgo Trento on the web, but all references to opening hours have been gone, so I suppose that the place shut down:

2022-08-31 18:00:00 [Verona, organic, biologico, vegan, vegetarian, breakfast, lunch, dinner, restaurant, eatery, cafe, coffee, bakeries] Link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author: E-mail · Mastodon · Vero · Ello.

Friday, 26 August 2022

Bremen: Organic restaurants and fast food eateries

Bremen offers plenty opportunities for an organic lunch ranging from a cheap and simple meal at a refectory to the posh organic business lunch. For dinner there's significantly less choice – you may opt for fast food or a friendly place to meet friends, but to have an organic candle light dinner will be difficult. Don't expect highly sophisticated international cuisine – Bremen restaurants are best when it comes to local dishes based on regional ingredients (which are totally different from e.g. the meat-centric Bavarian cuisine) and rather adapt international influences than aim at an – whatever the definition may be – authentic experience of a foreign cuisine.

Krishna

Indian

The food served in "Indian" restaurants in Germany usually does not have much in common with the food actually served in India – and the Punjabi food served at the – to my knowledge – oldest organic restaurant in Bremen, the Krishna a short walk from the Southern end of either Wilhelm Kaisen or Bürgermeister Smidt bridge is also adapted to this idea of how Europeans are likely to like Indian food. This is probably not a surprise since the restaurant generates its main business from its delivery and take-away service. The good news about it – there's always a spare table in the restaurant which now after more than ten years looks a little worn, resembling actual restaurants in India.

Since the main ingredients of the pakoras, curries and tandoori dishes – meat, dairy products and vegetables – are organic the food is much more palatable than in conventional "Indian" restaurants. You can choose between rice and naan bread as a side dish, and each curry comes with a salad (dressed with a balsamico-based dressing) in advance. The menu hasn't changed much in all these years – lamb, chicken, fish, cheese (paneer) and/or vegetables in a gravy, and as a recent addition gravy with tofu as a vegan alternative. You might wish to start your meal with an (organic) yogurt drink (lassi) and finish with a cup of chai or hot saffron milk. There's also a selection of cold organic drinks available. If you have the chance take a chat with the friendly Punjabi owner, but do not expect much flexibility from his staff which often even cannot remember the dishes and will ask you for the number on the menu when ordering. Note that the restaurant is open evenings only.

Biten

Italian

For an organic pizza slice, a chili stew, sometimes pasta and fairly traded organic coffee sailed from Honduras to Europe and transported by bicycle pay a visit to the Biten food truck at the farmer's market at the Domshof in front of Markthalle 8. Mind you that the truck leaves early in the afternoon and some days simply won't be there.

Noras

Clean and raw

Formerly located inside the Markthalle 8 food court Noras Deli took over the location of the Lei in the Viertel neighbourhood and now is simply dubbed Noras. The place was refurbished in lounge style, and although the menu starts with two savoury dishes – a very palatable Buddha Bowl and a properly spiced chickpeas curry – it's more of a cafe during daytime turning into an American bar in the evening. It offers coffee drinks, breakfast, pancakes, smoothie bowls, freshly made juices and shots as well as healthy sweets without refined sugar (don't miss the filled dates by the piece), both to eat here and to take away. There's a small range of carefully choosen wines and fully organic cocktails. You can sit outside and indoors.

Regional – International

For a coffee or lunch break you have another opportunity in the vicinity: the Bio-Biss im Alten Fundamt, a recreational place which has been offering organic food for many years, formerly under the name "Mundart im Alten Fundamt" and now in the second generation of tenants, as "Bio-Biss". In summer it's a pleasure to eat outside in the large backyard, with a kindergarden and a home for the elderly as neighbours. The menu changes daily and offers tasty seasonal food using predominantly local ingredients from their own farm or other organic farms nearby. The dishes are based on local food traditions or derived from Italian or Oriental cuisines, and always served both, as a regular and a small portion. You may also have an organic ice-cream from the Kaemena farm.

A less sophisticated yet filling organic lunch for a cheap price can be had at the Leckerbiss refectories run by the Bio-Biss caterers on the Radio Bremen campus in Vahr and within the refectory of the Bremen Senator for Children and Education in the city center. On weekdays you can choose from two wholefood dishes, one of them vegetarian, and a soup. In addition there is coffee and some snacks. Not all ingredients and drinks however are organic. The Bio-Biss refectory on the University campus opposite Universum unfortunately was closed in 2020, probably due to covid-19 restrictions.

Canova

For a romantic evening out or whenever you are in the mood for fine (but not pretentious) Northern dining visit the Canova restaurant behind Kunsthalle. Many of their supplies come from organic farms in the greater Bremen area, among others from a gardener cultivating ancient and forgotten local herbs and vegetables. There are a few vegan/vegetarian and meat-based courses, but the focus is on responsibly sourced fish and seafood. The four-course menu was absolutely perfect after a leisurely day in the countryside; for the six-course menu you should probably come hungry. Of course, you may freely choose from the menu, too. During the warm season don't miss the pleasure to sit on their serene terrace.

The team also runs the Cafe Sylvette inside the art museum.

In the covid-19 pandemic summer of 2021 there was a food truck in the Wallanlagen park opposite of the Kunsthalle, run in co-operation with the Kukoon cultural center which was relocated to the park at Leibnitzplatz in 2022.

Speaking of fine local cuisine: After a visit to the Universum Science museum near the university, the restaurant Wels ("catfish") inside the hotel "Munte" serves fish from North-German shores and game from nearby forests, with organic vegetables. The vegetarian and vegan options also contain organic ingredients, but are usually inspired by international cuisines. The place, however, opens on Friday and Saturday evenings only.

Cafe Heinrich

Directly located at the Contrescape park, at the edge of the picturesque Fedelhören neighbourhood with its small owner-run shops Café Heinrich is a popular day cafe serving classic German dishes like potatoes in their jacket and internationally inspired ones like Flammkuchen, the Alsatian pizza, predominantly made with ingredients from the region. The menu lists organic soft drinks and promises organic cheeses, bread and salami, but you should probably take these promises with a grain of salt and ask beforehand: When I was there the milk from the free-ranging cows of a farm from the region turned out to be conventional supermarket-fare of the "Frischli" brand.

The place used to be open until 6 or even 8 pm, but staff shortness lead to early closing times in summer 2022.

Fastfood

If you rather opt for fast food aim for the city's central shopping area. Opposite the back entrance to the Kaufhof department store you can find 1885 Burger, a self-serving American-type diner using organic beef and bacon in their burgers. Start queuing at the left side and choose the type of patty and home-made bun you prefer. While the patty is being grilled before your eyes move to the right and specify the sauces, vegetables and condiments as well as your drinks (I'd suggest the organic Störtebeker beer). Some of the veges are organic, too, and most of them as well as the cheeses are sourced locally. Vegetarian cheese and vegan lentils patties are available, but you have to enquire whether they are organic. Pay at the till in the middle of the restaurant when you're ready to leave. Although the place is popular among supporters of the local football club Werder Bremen, it should be noted that there's no TV screen.

Map of all places listed in this article

More to try

Here's a list of (partially) organic restaurants and eateries I found during my research but did not have time to visit. Your impressions are appreciated!

Closed for Covid-19 pandemics

Closed

2022-08-26 11:00:00 [Bremen, organic, coffee, lunch, dinner, snacks, restaurant, burgers, pizza, fastfood, takeaway, Indian, Italian, vegan, vegetarian, raw, covid, corona] Link

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Sunday, 14 August 2022

Organic Bremerhaven

Located at the mouth of the river Weser, the port of Bremerhaven has been ensuring the hanseatic city of Bremen's access to the sea for sea-going ships since the 1820ies. While the container port (and unfortunately also the cruise ship terminal) continue to be important sea hubs, the historic ports of the Havenwelten ("port world") with maritime museums of all kinds make the family-friendly city a perfect destination for everyone interested in science, ships, and (e)migration.

A destination of the easy-going Weserradweg bicycle route Bremerhaven can not only be reached by regional train from Bremen, but also comfortably by bike.

Speisesaal

Eat and drink

Since the Findus cafe and restaurant re-invented itself as an organic bakery during the covid-19 pandemics and staff shortage prevails in 2022 there's currently (to my knowledge) no place to have (predominantly) organic dinner. But during the day take the chance to visit Deutsches Auswandererhaus, a museum dedicated to German emigration to the Americas. The museum has a pleasant cafe cum restaurant, the Speisesaal, with a spacious outdoor terrace facing the quays of the so-called new port in the Havenwelten area.

Their menu consists of two parts: Fully organic, predominantly vegetarian international lunch classics like pasta, stews, and gratins, and not necessarily organic maritime classics like fish soup or fish'n'chips. The organic dishes and beverages are all marked "bio" and can be recognised by the red font colour on the menu. Fish and seafood come from responsible sources. Naturally the milk for coffee drinks is also organic. 2022 staff shortage leads to occasionally slow service, so enjoy the view and be a little patient.

While the Speisesaal is open to the general public, the Cafe südwärts inside the Klimahaus 8° Ost a few steps away can only be accessed with a valid ticket to the museum. The museum features places located on the same lattitude like Bremerhaven as an interactive journey through the (changing) climate zones of the earth and as such is highly recommended by itself. The cafe can be accessed after you come to the river landsacpe of Cameroon and offers organic egg, pasta, orange juice and bionade lemonades. The fish also carries MSC certificates, and there are no meat dishes.

The museum's shop is accessible for non-visitors from the entrance, the so-called Havenplaza. It offers environmentally and socially resposibly produced gifts and dry food, but unfortunately does not serve (fairly traded) coffee.

To have an organic coffee not connected with a museum you have to walk longer south, to the Fischereihafen ("fish port"). Here you'll find a small owner-run café, Grethe's, directly located at the quay. All coffee and milk is organic here, as are most of the ingredients for their cakes and vegetarian food. You can have burgers, pasta dishes, soups and stews, and most drinks apart from a few spirits are organic, too. Unfortunately also this presumably lovely place with its art gallery located in a former motor workshop closes at 6 pm and does not keep open on Mondays and Tuesdays.

For an organic coffee or snack until 8 pm the only opportunity I've seen so far is the self-serviced cafe of the ALECO Biomarkt in the neighbourhood of Lehe, an urban train stop away from the main station.

Food and necessities

Glückswinkel package-free shop organic and responsibly produced small-scale regional food, fresh organic produce of the Findus organic bakery a few steps away, sustainable household items and cleaning agents, clothes for babies and toddlers, repair sets, nice gifts and more.

While the Glückswinkel is located in the centre of the old town, there's no organic convenience store in the mall of the Havenwelten area. Luckily the Grünschnabel Biomarkt is located only a few steps away.

The organic supermarket nearest the main train station is Der Bioladen in the streets around Holzhafen, the part of town that from 1877 for about half a century was used to land and process timber. Note that these two traditional organic supermarkets close at 6 pm and are closed on Saturday afternoons.

To find an organic supermarket with more liberal opening hours you have to go to the neighbourhood of Lehe: There you find a branch of the regional ALECO Biomarkt chain which runs many organic supermarkets in the North of Germany.

Map of all places listed in this article

Closed

Bremerhaven's only fully organic day cafe Findus resettled its activities during the covid-19 pandemics and became an organic bakery only. There are however plans to re-open the cafe, so check on location and ask at the bakery.

2022-08-14 10:30:05 [Bremerhaven, Weserradweg, organic, vegan, coffee, lunch, cafe, supermarkets, grocery, bodycare, zero_waste, unverpackt, fair, corona, covid] Link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author: E-mail · Mastodon · Vero · Ello.

Friday, 05 August 2022

Bremen: Zero-waste

When dedicated zero waste convenience stores started to bloom in bigger cities like Munich in the covid-19 spring of 2020 Bremen already had three established package-free shops, with a fourth one that opened its door early in 2020 and plans for two more. Back then some of the shop keepers were afraid that there might be too many to survive in a city of the size of Bremen, but a year later they are all alive and kicking. Even when you run out of food on a Sunday you can grab your jars and boxes and set out for refill.

L'Epicerie Bio

All you need for the day

My favourite is crowd-funded L'Epicerie Bio in the Neustadt neighbourhood, just across Wilhelm Kaisen bridge. Lovingly decorated in the style of an old colonial shop you'll find an abundance of food, spices, sweets and wine, body care and household items here, including fresh fruits and veges and pet food by the gram. There's no separate customers' scale, instead the friendly shop owner wil take the tax weight of your boxes and jars. As you marvel at the interior you may buy a coffee or refreshment, but there's no real cafe corner. In 2021 they even startes to sell frozen organic food by the gram: samosas, falafel, French fries, veges, berries and more.

Fuellkorn

While L'Epicerie is as far as you get from the carrots-and-dungarees cliche of a traditional organic grocery of the 1970ies, the second package-free shop in the Neustadt looks exactly like a traditional Bremen organic cornerstore 2.0: The dusty shop window of Füllkorn, with some wilted potted plants makes it difficult for passers-by to even spot the place. Inside everything is spotlessly clean of course, and there's also a coffee and refreshment option. Unfortunately the shop was closed when I was there, but I'm sure it's friendly and welcoming, too. They have a milk tapping machine from the Kaemena farm.

The newest package-free shop in town is Die Füllerei in Findorff which opened in February 2020. With a beautiful flower-bed in front of it you cannot miss the shop even though I couldn't make it here during their opening hours. Unlike the two shops in the Neustadt there's a vending machine for fresh milk from the Blockland. The soap bars are produced in the very neighbourhood, by Martha's Corner, and the washable cosmetic pads and bags are made by a local plastic-free fashion label, Mamoana, with its the Oceanlovers concept store in nearby Admiralstraße. Just from the looks clearly my second favourite.

The tram stop "Am Schwarzen Meer", (in)famous for a fastfood-and-beer kiosk popular among the city's enthusiastic football fans has become a destination for conscious eaters: At the end of the Steintor road you'll find both, a Sunday-open package-free convenience store and a friendly CSA farm shop.

Selfair

The first one, Selfair, has by far the most liberal opening hours of all package-free supermarkets I've visited so far. It's a pleasant combination of a traditional organic cornershop, a contemporary package-free supermarket and an immigrant shop with a good selection of oriental-style bread, baklava, pickles and mezze. The latter aren't organic, nor are about 3/4 of the fresh fruit and greens. However, there's an abundance of loose-weight and pre-packaged organic food items, spices, sweets, beverages and more. There's tinned food and preserved food and dairy products in glasses, and almost all beverages come in returnable bottles. They also have a section with zero-waste household items and sustainable toiletries, and in general the shop is free from plastic foil packaging. Many of the organic veges, bread and cheeses are bio-dynamic and local, and most of the conventional food is produced in the region, with little agrochemicals.

Solawi-Hofladen

On the Northern side of the tram tracks you'll find a small and inviting farm shop, the Solawi-Hofladen. Despite the name it's not only a pick-up point for the members of the community-supported organic Sophienhof farm, but a cosy farm shop run by two bio-dynamic farms, the Sophienhof and the Lütjenhof, and an artisanal fair-trade coffee roasters', all from the greater region. Needless to say that you can have a coffee after having filled local grains and pulses from gravity bins and bought meat, eggs, cheese, veges and more.

Package-free sale of bakery items and cheeses over the counter, loose fruit and veges as well as dairy products and drinks in returnable bottles and glasses are of course the norm in all traditional organic convenience stores like the city's oldest organic grocery Kraut und Rüben ("cabbage and roots") in the Ostertor neighbourhood, the co-operative Oecotop in the Neustadt or the Kornkraft supermarket in Habenhausen with its day cafe which is part of a small local supermarket chain.

Abakus

Traditional co-operatively driven convenience stores in Bremen are all open to the general public by now, and so is Abakus in Steintor founded in 1998 which in 2020 repeatedly was voted one of Germany's best organic groceries. The shop which doesn't hide its political views doesn't have a working web site, but sells loose-weight grains and cereals. When I was there again in summer 2020 there was however an information that they wouldn't order more muesli unless the demand by members of the co-operative was bound to increase.

Specialist shops for body care

Founded 20 years later in Findorff Martha’s Corner is a heaven for body care addicts – which since 2022 is located in Walle. Don't be mistaken, the owner and mastermind isn't Martha, but Claudia, offering hand-made natural soaps, solid shampoos, deodorants, body and lip butters and more, made here on premise. Bring back the deodorant and cream jars for refill and keep in mind that the shop is closed on production days.

Der Fährmann Antony

During the nice season Der Fährmann Antony ("Antony the ferryman") sells hand-made natural shea and cocoa butter from Ghana on a mobile booth on the Kaemena farm in Blockland. Come with your own jar, and he will happily fill it for you. The opening hours below should however be taken with a grain of salt – when the weather is too cloudy or even rainy Anthony may decide that the effort of his bicycle tour out into the Blockland wouldn't match his sales expectation. In summer 2022 there were also shortcomings as deliveries from Ghana took weeks longer than usual, and during our stay in August 2022 we met him not before 4 pm.

Out of Bremen

If you take a bicycle tour to Lilienthal (which – despite the fact that the Bremen tram no. 4 ends there – isn't a part of Bremen, but a municipality in the adjacent state of Lower Saxony) you have even more options – check out the Lilienthal post.

Closed

2022-08-05 19:30:00 [Bremen, organic, lunch, coffee, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, vegan, vegetarian, zero_waste, unverpackt, bodycare, gifts, butcher, fashion, solawi, CSA] Link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author: E-mail · Mastodon · Vero · Ello.