The Organic Traveller
Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Dresden: Zero Waste

If you are looking for pioneers in the German zero waste movement you'll find one of them in Dresden's Neustadt neighbourhood: Bring a selection of glasses, containers and bags and stop by Lose ("loose-weight"), a cosy zero-waste corner store in Böhmische Straße. Unlike other package-free supermarkets this one does not only sell dry food, natural body care and household chemicals but also offers veges and has a cheese counter. Although most of the products are organic some are not, so you might want to check the labels on the suspenders for the bio keyword or ask.

Lose

The interior of the shop was refurbished and is now much lighter and seems spacier than before. The reason for this is that the coffee corner which had been there before the corona pandemic has decreased and the serviced counter for bakery products, cheeses, antipasti and coffee moved from the entrance area to the backpart of the shop. Mind you: like other package-free shops Lose does not have an illuminated window front, so be brave to try the door handle – the place may look quite dark even when open.

Supermarkets with zero-waste stations

Moreover all shops of the co-operatively organised local wholesale chain VG Biomarkt offer a good selection of loose-weight organic dry goods (in addition to an abundance of often locally produced fruit and veges and dairy products and drinks of all kinds in returnable glass bottles).

VG Mitte

Their main shop is located near Bahnhof Mitte train station, an entire organic warehouse on the premises of a former newspaper printing plant. Standing back from the main street the first floor is occupied by an organic convenience store supporting your zero-waste efforts. On the second floor there's a well assorted organic fashion store mainly for babies, children and women, with a section offering organic body care, household chemicals, sustainably produced toys, stationary and more. For members prices are lower, but the shop is open to everyone.

On weekdays the self-service bistro directly facing the street offers delicious lunch (only snacks on Saturdays), and there's a cafe cum bakery shop featuring young local artists.

VG Balsamico

VG Biomarkt also has branches in the neighbourhoods of Neustadt (Hechtviertel), Striesen, Johannstadt, Strehlen, and Loschwitz, Mind you that the one in Striesen, at Polandplatz isn't easy to find: Opposite the triangular park there's a driveway which one can easily miss as no sign at the entrance points to the shop. Be brave an move past, you'll find the shoü at the right hand site.

If you want to return empties, find the appropriate crate in the entrance area, pin down its code, tell the cashier and put the glass or bottle at the appropriate place.

The Loschwitz branch dubbed VG Balsamico is conveniently located opposite the downhill station of the cable-run suspension railway ("Schwebebahn") next to Körnerplatz at the northern end of Blaues Wunder ("blue wonder") bridge.

Opening hours and assortment (of loose-weight products as of products in returnable glasses) vary depending on the size of the market and the neighbourhood. However, all VG markets offer free drinking water refill stations and you can book cargo bikes to transport your purchase home free of charge.

While many organic groceries were closing, the Verbrauchergemeinschaft opened a new large supermarket with attached self-service restaurant cum cafe in 2023: The VG Friedensstraße offers and abundance of loose weight and unpackaged products. Want to shop products grown or made in the vicinity? Watch out for the green "RP" ("regional partner") logo.

While these local groceries were early adopters a number of nation-wide operating organic supermarket chains have been following. In Dresden the two remaining branches of the Berlin-based supermarket chain Bio Company introduced dry food suspenders for use with your own jars.

Denns Biomarkt Alaunstraße

In 2021 the Denns Biomarkt was the first branch of this chain where I found a dedicated shelf with fairly traded dry food in retour glasses and a few gravity bins with nuts, seeds, rice and noodles. A start at least, although I have my doubts that this small selection will be sufficient to nudge people towards the extra effort it takes to bring along glasses and jars.

Without offering gravity bins the Vorwerk Podemus farm supermarkets supports package-free efforts, too: Hand over your own clean boxes and bags when buying meat and meat products, cheese, bread, rolls or cake from the services counter, and prefer returnable glass bottles and glasses when choosing jogurt, honey and jams.

Farmshops and factory outlets

Bauernhof Franz

When you take the Elberadweg bicycle route on the southern shore in direction Niederwartha you'll pass a nice old farmyard, the organic Bauernhof Franz in Niedergohlis. It runs a subscription scheme – phone in or e-mail your order until Wednesday and collect it from the farmshop on Fridays and Saturdays, but if you happen to step by on one of these days and there's someone around you may be able to buy vegetable oil and perhaps also potatoes or other produce from the farm. But of course, shopping their farm products from one of the VG supermarkets might be easier.

In 2022 Vegannett, a Weißer Hirsch-based producer of vegan spreads, started filling products in standardized returnable deposit glasses which you can buy directly from the manufacturer on Wednesdays.

Map of all places listed in this article

More to try

For more vegan alternatives to cheese, meat and sausages head for Die vegane Fleischerei in the Neustadt. January, 2023 a vegan "butcher shop" opened here, and they assured me that all of their products are made from predominantly organic ingredients. They also offer ready-made "meat" salads and soups, and I'm looking forward to visit the shop in person. Don't forget to take boxes and jars with you.

Closed

2024-02-21 04:00:00 [Dresden, Neustadt, organic, coffee, vegan, zero_waste, unverpackt, cafe, grocery, market, supermarkets, bodycare, household, hemp] Link

Creative Commons Licence

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.

Tuesday, 06 February 2024

Munich: Organic and partially organic restaurants

To find a place for an organic lunch, snack or a coffee break, both served and self-served, requires not more than keeping your eyes open. But the cultured evening out or a sumptuous weekend brunch can be a challenge if you don't know where to head for.

If you opt for 100 percent organic food and drinks, without compromises, within the city boundaries the TL;DR is La Trattoria and Josef.

French

Given the French love for quality food one would expect all self-respecting French restaurants to use organic ingredients to a certain extent, but to actually find those which do proves to be harder than expected. In Munich head for brasserie La Bouche in Schwabing, a tastefully decorated place a few steps away from Münchner Freiheit. They promise to use organic ingredients throughout the menu, with three quite excusable exceptions: snails, seafood and Marsala wine.

La Bouche

In fact the exception list varies depending on daily supplies – when I went there the lamb and the duck liver had been added – but since it is all transparent and clearly stated on the menu you can adapt you order accordingly. The food itself is hearty French countryside fare, apart from the risottos (together with the Italian coffee the international touch to the menu) most dishes focus on meat or seafood. Since the main courses are very generous compared to other French restaurants, come hungry or skip the starter. In the meat-based stews we had – coq au vin and an ox liver ragout – the flavours of the ingredients were perfectly amalgamated and harmonic. The entrecote marinated in a pesto of fresh herbs – although perfectly cooked rare – however, did not live up to expectations, too perfumed, too imbalanced (and way too big) for my taste. Although the side dishes – salads, stewed root vegetables, fried potatoes, and similar – clearly play a supporting role they were well done and tasty. And the baguette served together with the starters was clearly one of the best I ever had.

Sadly the wines aren't organic, the soft drinks however are, and the bar offers organic pastis, gin and vodka. Note that the place is closed on Sundays.

German/Bavarian

With its rustic and cosy flair and garden tables under horse chestnut trees during the warm season Zum Kloster in the heart of the former village of Haidhausen a short walk from Wiener Platz makes the perfect surrounding for a laid-back chat with friends. They serve a selection of organic non-alcoholic beverages and up to three dishes on their meat-centric hand-written menu are marked with a star as made with organic meat, eggs and flour, one of them being Spaghetti Bolognese. The dishes are simple, but perfectly eatable home-made fare. Only the salad should better not have been as soaked in rapeseed oil as it was. For take away come with your own container to avoid extra waste. (The covid-19 delivery service was discontinued.)

If heading for the classical Bavarian Wirtshaus – rustic, but perhaps missing the air of the students' and artists' pub present in "Zum Kloster" – the Klinglwirt at the opposite end of Haidhausen near Rosenheimer Platz is the place to go. They serve organic meat from the nearby farm in Herrmannsdorf, organic cheese, bread, coffee, tea as well as Del Fiore ice-cream. Even the side-dishes – mainly potatoes, dumplings, sauerkraut, red cabbage and rustic salads – are now often organic, and vegetarian and vegan dishes have become a permanent part of the menu in their own right. The drinks menu offers at minimum one organic option for most beverages. Little guests are welcomed warmly, among others with a decent menu of their own (most kids will accept happily that the dishes listed there are almost free of greens). The restaurant is a member of Green Chefs, a network of eco conscious and socially responsible chefs.

While the Munich population has strong, yet mixed feelings about the Oktoberfest, the strong beer festival during lent is probably meeting much less negative sentiment among locals. In fact, the political cabaret ("Derblecken") at the opening of the festival, is a major event in local politics. Although the host brewery, Paulaner, does not brew organic beer, the very place of the festival, the Nockherberg restaurant in the Au, offers parts of its menu in organic quality: All organic items are marked green, or (as for the beverages) with the organic label. They use organic flour and milk, the tofu is both, Bavarian and organic, and a selection of traditional meat dishes like the "Böfflamot" (the Munich version of "boeuf a la mode") are made with organic meat. Mind you that there is a decent selection of organic wines and non-alcoholic beverages, but no organic beer.

Alter Wirt

For the 100% organic experience of Bavarian cuisine take the tram no. 25 from Rosenheimer Platz to its final destination in the suburb of Grünwald. A five-to-ten minutes walk from there you'll find the only organic hotel in reach, Alter Wirt, with its rustic, yet up-market restaurant. Children are welcome and often even allowed a visit to the kitchen, but the place is spacious enough that occasional little guests won't spoil your romantic candle-light dinner. There's a beergarden under horse chestnut trees, and the entire place is a real oasis in suburbia. The menu focuses on the meat- and fish-centric Bavarian Sunday kitchen completed with dishes of Italian origin. The food is extremely tasty, home-made, yet peppered with pleasant little twitches of ambitious chefs. Not the natural place for vegetarians, but if you happen to be the only vegetarian in a group of omnivores, there's a tasty meal for you as well. In addition they offer a range of assorted organic spirits. Early risers may also step by for breakfast.

If you prefer a sandwich and coffee on the go turn to the co-located artisanal Brotzeit bakery.

Fancy a day out in the Bavarian countryside? So why not paying a visit to the Herrmannsdorfer farm about 30 kilometres from Munich? Their up-market 100 percent organic restaurant, the Wirtshaus zum Schweinsbräu, rewards with the finest of Bavarian food traditions.

Goldmarie

At tube stop Poccistraße in Sendling, just across the street from the Vollcorner branch in Lindwurmstr. 80 the Goldmarie restaurant serves classical and modern versions of seasonal Bavarian, Austrian and North-Italian dishes – quite palatable, but also a little boring. It's very obvious that the quality of the ingredients makes the difference here rather than the skills or visions of a chef: Usually the meat is organic and – in this case – marked "bio" on the menu. The veges are often organic, too, though not marked. Not organically certified meat and greens come from small-scale conventional farms in the region. Unfortunately the drinks (except for the gin and the herb tonic water) aren't organic. The place itself is often quite crowded.

Located directly on Leopoldstraße, a little south of Münchner Freiheit, a rustic all day gastro bar dubbed Bapas is the perfect location for aimless city dwellers: Whenever you come during daytime, you will be served a hearty Bavarian "Brotzeit", consisting of cheese or cold cuts served with organic bread, and other filling meals of Bavarian, German and Austrian origin, though usually in smaller, comprehensible "tapas" size, hence the name of the place — Bavarian Tapas. From 9 am to 2pm breakfast is being served, lunch between 11:30 am and 4 pm, and full-fledged evening meals from 5 pm.

Bread and rolls as well as eggs are always organic, and if you stick to Riedenburger and Isar your beer is, too. The organic ice-cream is made in walking distance, and there are organic teas, herbal teas, lemonades and soft drinks (by Vio and the local Aqua Monaco). If you order your gin & tonic with Duke gin and Aqua Monaco or Red Bull organics tonic you even get a fully organic cocktail. Given these efforts the kitchen surely uses more organic ingredients but you have to ask about it.

They advertised "Highclass organic food" in the 2015 print issue of Spy city guide, and you will find them listed as organic on the web, too, but when I rang them up the staff ensured me repeatedly: No, we do not use organic ingredients. Since they themselves do not mention the word "bio" neither on their German website nor on the menu it's likely that lack of command of the English language lead to this misconception. So even though Roecklplatz restaurant is a socially responsible enterprise employing young apprentices in difficult life situations and/or without formal education and thus deserves support, I can't recommend it in this guide.

Eight years ago this blog would also have featured the Ratskeller townhall restaurant at Marienplatz: Back then they had a separate organic menu. What is left of it today are organic fried potato patties ("Reiberdatschi"), spaetzle, some organic juices and softdrinks. But since this meat-centric restaurant does no longer serve any organic meat, I do not feel like recommending the place anymore.

Miss Lilly's

International

Not a single word on their menu suggests that Miss Lilly's kitchen in Giesing prefers organic ingredients. But when tasting their huge and extremely yummy home-made burgers or Wiener Schnitzel it's perfectly reasonable that not only the meat (as confirmed by the staff) but also a good deal of the side-dishes are at least partially organic. Although vegetarians are catered for it's very obvious that Miss Lilly's chef prefers meat and does it perfectly. If you come with kids and ask for fries they will be served huge portions – so don't order too many. The place near tube stop Kolumbusplatz serves breakfast until 5 pm and is famous for their home-made American cheesecake – I had the peanut butter variety which was very palatable, but to my taste not as exceptional as I had heard, together with a proper Italian-style coffee. Tuesday to Saturday evening it turns into Moritz bar and restaurant, with a likewise tempting menu specializing in the South-German and alpine cuisines. If you are after an organic alcoholic drink you have to stick to The Duke gins – the wine and gin menu unfortunately does not leave you with much choice.

Gans woanders

A wooden witch cottage, with several hideaways, balconies, verandahs to almost get lost in, indoors and outdoors, an open cultural stage, magical sourroundings (almost) under a train bridge – no, the appearances of the bar Gans Woanders near Kolumbusplatz are deceptive: This is not an ancient building, but a brand-new construction opened in 2020. Although the quantity of organic ingredients used in the menu dominated by pizza and cake does not entirely live up to the sustainability promise of the place, you'll find at least organic coffee, tea and lemonades, and I was assured that the potatoes always were organic. Note that the place is self-services and accepts cash only.

In the South-Eastern part of Giesing, near congested Tegernseer Landstraße yet tucked away in a pleasant neighbourhood at Alpenplatz you will find another rustic place, Das Edelweiß. Since it started as an organic restaurant about six years ago you will still find business cards and references describing it as organic, and you can still order organic softdrinks. Unfortunately the concept did not work out, and the focus has shifted from organic towards supporting local and small-scale businesses. Some of the ingredients such as the milk of the Sternenfair brand are produced according to near-organic principles, the tasty artisanal bread may sometimes be made from organic flour, if you come for breakfast on weekends you can have organic chocolate spread, maple syrup and hot chocolate, but you should rather expect artisanal conventional food. When I questioned the owner about it she assured me that she's trying to find a new chef with love for local and seasonal high-quality food, and hopefully a renewed focus on organic principles will follow.

A dedicated family restaurant in the queer and hip neighbourhood of Glockenbachviertel dubbed Kaiser Otto is the place in Munich closest to the cafe latte moms cliche. You may step by for a coffee break during the day, or have breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner while your kids may disappear to a dedicated playground room next to the cafe. The latter is however closing at 7 pm. Weekend brunch with child care has been discontinued during covid-19. The food is not very elaborate, but often made from at least partially organic ingredients. Reliably organic items on the menu are coffee, eggs, bread, a selection of soft drinks as well as the meat served with one of the dishes to have for dinner. Greens, veges and pulses may or may not be organic, so you have to enquire, meat items served until 3 pm are definitely not.

The contrary of a family restaurant, i.e. a decent (American-style) bar cum burger restaurant is The Potting Shed near Münchner Freiheit, a few steps from Brasserie La Bouce. Instead of french fries you're served yummy rosemary-flavoured potatoes, instead of prefab mayonnaise delicate home-made aioli, and the coleslaw was crisp, showing off the (organic) quality of the cabbage. The top of my burger bun was caramelised, adding an interesting twist to the taste, and the patty, announced as medium, still gorgeously pink. Unfortunately they do not do rare burgers which indicates that the meat is minced in advance. All meat products come from a organic-only local butchery, and the delicacy of the food indicates that most of the vegetarian ingredients are organic, too. For those not feeling like having a sumptuous high-calory burger plate (there's one veggie option) there was a tasty seasonal salad (with goat cheese) and a range of tapas, mezze and small starters, decidedly omnivore. Unfortunately the rich bar sports only a few organic drinks, namely an organic Cabernet Sauvignon, The Duke and Lyonel gins (the latter made a nicely balanced jasmin-tea flavoured gin and tonic) and fairly traded cachaça. Soft drinks including the tonic water however aren't organic at all. The bar itself values traditional bar etiquette: an observant yet not obstrusive waiter (who took care of our jackets when we came in), a skilful professional barman, pleasant background music at a volume allowing for effordless conversation (though I cannot say anything about the noise on a Friday or Saturday night), the walls adorned with interesting and tasteful art. Definitely recommended for a civilised evening out.

Italian

Mix the interior of a trattoria in Italy with a Bavarian Wirtshaus, and you'll end up with Hostaria Rò e Buni, a certified organic Italian restaurant in the heart of Schwabing. The name alludes to the dialect words used in the area of Bologna to steer bullocks to the left and to the right, and the tasty food served here has its roots in the country kitchen of the Emilia Romagna - not too fancy, hearty, receiving its fulfilling taste from high quality organic ingredients, many of them (especially the meat) sourced from farms in the greater region. Unlike in many other certified restaurants almost all ingredients are organic indeed, those coming from conventional agriculture are clearly marked with a star on the menu. Vegetarian and vegan drinks and dishes can be easily distinguished by a leaf or flower label, respectively. Although the owner has Italian roots don't order a four course menu (antipasti, pasta, primo e secondo) a la carte unless extremely hungry – the sizes of the dishes are adapted to the German habit of ordering a pasta or main course and perhaps a starter. If you feel Italian stick to the four course tasting menu suggested by the menu, or discuss with the affable publican. Don't leave without having tried their fresh home-made pasta, and an organic grappa to finish. If you fancy slow-cooked Italian meat classics like Osso Buco – here's the place to try. The kitchen closes half an hour before closing time, and the place itself keeps open evenings only.

If you do not want to compromise at all when it comes to organic food and drinks find your way to Sendling: Former Bavarian-Italian restaurant "resihuber" went fully Italian and consequently changed its name to La Trattoria early in 2020. The place is run and backed by the founders of the local Vollcorner supermarket chain and can easily be reached by tube (stop Brudermühlstraße). Unfortunately they do no longer serve breakfast, instead you may order pizza home or (at a small discount) to take away.

The place is also a convenient choice before or after a concert at (or other visit to) the Gasteig HP8 concert hall and cultural centre, with truly Italian food and predominantly regional ingredients catering for all: vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers. After a concert or stroll at the Isar shore you may also step by for a high quality, fully organic drink, both with or without alcohol.

The place survived the covid-19 pandemics as a pizzeria, and staff shortage in 2024 turned it into a half-serviced restaurant, a concept known from smaller cafes and eateries: Have a seat, memorise the number of your table and place your order at the bar. Food and drinks will be brought to your table.

Osteria Biologica Josef

In 2023 the Trattoria got a sister restaurant, the Osteria Biologica Josef which, located in the Glockenbachviertel, is much better accessible from the inner city. During the summer everyone would sit outside in the so-called "Schanigarten", on white garden furniture in lieu of parking lots along the street. The Italian street feeling is matched by excellent food and drinks. An exciting selection of aperitivi and a relatively short menu offering pizza, salads, pasta, and few main courses ensure absolute freshness and tastiness. Most dishes are vegetarian or meat-based (all of them have full meal size), but there are also a few (fully qualified) vegan options – given the shortness of the menu these make up for a higher relative percentage than you may realise at first. As everything is organic, prices are rather up-market, but a delicious pizza with a gorgeous crust (at around 15 EUR) is sufficient for a very satisfying evening. The staff is cheery and helpful. During the colder season there will be brunch, too. Ring in to order a table during opening hours, especially on weekends I strongly recommend this as the online booking system seems to not cover all available tables.

Max Trenta

A hidden gem in very upmarket locations, quietly located in a backyard of Maximilianstraße next to the Kammerspiele theater is Max Trenta, a small Italian restaurant with an open kitchen where organic ingredients, often from small-scale farms, are frequently used, though neither promised nor advertised on the menu. Some of the courses are Italian dishes well-known outside Italy but since the friendly owner values the kitchen of his childhood his guests are so fortunate to taste Sardinian specialities like the fregula pasta type and the typical pane guttiau crisp bread which is served as an appetizer. Unfortunately these crackers tasted very bland, not comparable with the organic ones readily available in Munich's organic groceries. The extremely tasty and characterful natural open wines come from a Sardinian winery co-driven by one of the owner's relatives but aren't organically certified. In the summer you can sit outside where there's a little space for kids. Note that the kitchen closes already at 9pm.

Mediterranean/Oriental

No bosses and driven by consensus: Its unusual organization qualifies the Neuhausen based restaurant cooperative Ruffini for a recommendation on its own. Their Italian and Mediterranean food looks and tastes like mother's – it is prepared with love though without the ambitions of a trained restaurant chef. Although they cater for vegetarians and omnivores alike only meat and eggs are organic. Which is sad – the Imam Bayildi I had tasted bland as the eggplants did not have the concentrated flavour of organic ones. On the contrary their home-made croissants – organic or not – are without doubt worth a sin: You'll have to travel far to find equally full-flavoured ones, so take away (or come to shop at their bakery a few meters away). Have an organic ice-cream for dessert – during the warm season it's also offered to take away.

The Spice Bazaar

If you love the cooking books by Sam&Sam Clark of the London-based restaurant Moro (which I unfortunately have not had the opportunity to visit) or simply are in the mood for refined yet down-to-earth oriental mediterranean food head for The Spice Bazaar tucked away in a big void between the ticket office of the Bayrische Staatsoper opera house, the Spanish Instituto Cervantes and the Hofgarten garden. In the evening you often won't find a soul on the place before the restaurant, but when you enter a breathtakingly decorated space prided with gold and ornaments is welcoming you – not the bling-bling of an oriental bazaar, but its Bauhaus-inspired interpretation on two floors, the upper one an almost intimate but open gallery. All the meat is certified organic, and you can pick organic wines and soft drinks on the menu, but although many other ingredients most certainly are organic there's no promise to it. The menu and the staff encourage you to share your food with those you came along – in this case all dishes will be placed in the middle of the table and an empty plate will be put in front of each of you. Be warned: the servings here are generous and deliciously spiced so that it's easy to eat far too much. A main course – meat, seafood or vegetarian – with a side dish will satisfy a hungry eater, so rather order less and share, especially if you also opt for one of the tempting first courses. At my first visit we made the mistake of ordering too much (delicately spiced caramellised nuts and bread with gorgeous olive oil as starters for our hungry crowd) so that I cannot say anything about the desserts yet. Prices are upmarket, but if you take into consideration the quality and the quantity they are more than fair.

Opposite the "Osteria Josef" in the Glockenbachviertel you'll find Mary – or rather Das Maria. In fact the restaurant should be called "Maryam" as it specialises in mezze and food (and coffee) from the Maghrib and the Levante. Moreover it has been a famed breakfast spot for many years, serving oriental and orientally inspired occidental breakfast varieties throughout the day, on oriental dishes. The majority of ingredients, staples and drinks are organic and marked as such on the menu, either with an asterisk or with the "bio" keyword.

The place is quite small, so despite its very reliable opening hours and especially during the cold season when outdoor seating isn't an option pre-booking is advisable. Families with babies and toddlers should find a different spot for a family meal as there are no changing facilities, and both, changing and prams are not welcome inside the restaurant.

Japanese/Sushi

Sushiya Sansaro

With the explosion of sushi take-aways you may have to kiss many frogs on the quest for sushi worth its name. Arguably one of the best sushi restaurants in Munich is the Sushiya Sansaro in the Amalienpassage backyard passage in Maxvorstadt, a three minutes walk from the Northern exit of the Universität tube stop. As you might expect from a restaurant with love for – in this case – Japanese – food they use some organic ingredients (eggs, spinach and pork for example), the soy sauce is organic and you can order organic beer, juice and some wine with your meal. The menu does not stop with sushi, instead you can get a good impression of the Japanese kitchen, both in its vegetarian and its meat-based variety. The place itself is pleasant but often crowded. If you cannot get a reservation do not dispair: You can also order by phone or online and step by to take away, or even better: Bring your own (bento) box, and wait while your sushi is being prepared.

Lebanese

See here.

Mexican

Blitz

The latest enterprise of prominent Munich publican, club manager and cooking book author Sandra Forster, herself a vegan, is the Blitz ("lightning") club located within the entrance building to the Museumsinsel island housing Deutsches Museum, the congress hall finished in 1935, formerly used as a cinema. Attached to the club is a Mexican-vegetarian restaurant, with dancing skeletons in colourful costumes adorning the walls. During the warm season enjoy a sugar cane cocktail and yummy fajitas or quesadillas, on a peaceful terrace outside facing the river Isar. About 80 percent of all ingredients used in the kitchen are organic and – if possible – sourced from farms in the greater Munich area. Exotic ingredients difficult to find in organic quality usually make an exception. If you want to avoid eggs and dairy products (which come from animal-friendly farms) do not hesitate to request a vegan meal.

Vegan/Vegetarian

My favourite vegan place, the Gratitude in the humming University quarter of Maxvorstadt, once was fully organic except for alcoholic beverages. While in the beginning the food was simple – raw or inspired by ayurveda – and sometimes a little bland, the kitchen improved vastly over time, reaching the level of Munich's legendary first (though no longer existing) vegan restaurant Zerwirk. Around 2020 the place got into financial troubles, closed for refurbishment, and covid-19 did its job. Now it's back again, as The Gratitude Eatery, with international vegetable dishes, from Nigiri and Tempura to risotto and curries, using sometimes less, sometimes more organic ingredients. You can have organic beer, and there's also an organic white wine on the menu, but I love the place for its fairly priced and not too sweet cocktails (which unfortunately aren't organic).

Between Viktualienmarkt and Gärtnerplatz (i.e. no longer next to Isartor) you'll find Siggis vegan and fresh food, a 100% vegan place that from the outside looks like a coffee bar. In fact you can step by for a (cup) cake, vegan latte, organic coffee (in a recup.com retour cup if you're in a hurry) or partially organic sandwich but you may also stay and have lunch or dinner served. The kitchen uses a good deal organic ingredients for the quite casual menu offering pasta, sandwiches, bowls, and a few international main dishes. Most drinks are organic, though if you have a latte and specify your favourite vegan milk alternative be aware that the lupin milk isn't. Ask if unsure whether any of the ingredients are organic – the stuff is helpful and willing to enquire in the kitchen if they don't know. Note that the place is closed on Mondays.

An older vegan restaurant is the Max Pett near Sendlinger Tor, run by a former Zerwirk chef. Unfortunately it's only partially organic, which is probably why the kitchen does not live up to expectations. The place is 100 percent non-alcoholic.

My favourite vegetarian, vegan-friendly restaurant is the Blitz described above.

Vietnamese/Asian Fusion

Crisp and delicately spiced instead of greasy and cooked to death, this is how the Fei Scho eatery serves Vietnamese food with a Bavarian touch ("Fei scho" is a Bavarian dialect phrase indicating that the counterpart in a conversation should have known/done/recognised something already). The menu of the small place in the Glockenbach neighbourhood consists of a handful of rice and noodle dishes, as well as Vietnamese veg parcels. A few ingredients (namely eggs, chickpeas, and, during the summer, carrots, red cabbage, coriander as well as celery) are organic (unfortunately neither the meat nor the tofu), along with all the wines, the iced tea, the apple juice and the gin and tonic. For a while there was a second restaurant in Haidhausen with slow and forgetful service, but that's past.

More to try

Of the following places I found testimonies and other evidence for use of organic ingredients, but I have not been able to verify them by a personal visit. If you get there let me know whether they should be listed here, and I'll do my best to eat there, too.

Greenwashed

An increasing number of Munich street festivals demands an organic certification of their food stalls: The Tollwood festival has been serving organic food only for many years while stalls at funfairs like the Oktoberfest and or the Auer Dult are required to offer at minimum one certified organic serving. Unfortunately some of the contractors comply only as long as they are forced to and do not even use a minimum selection of organic ingredients in their restaurants – a behaviour that potential guests of the following places should be aware of:

Ceased to exist

The following places shut down or were replaced by restaurants not using organic ingredients. So don't be confused when you find references to them on the web:

2024-02-06 15:00:00 [Munich, Haidhausen, Maxvorstadt, Sendling, Schwabing, Werksviertel, organic, lunch, dinner, market, deli, coffee, hotel, accommodation, restaurant, Asian, Bavarian, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Mexican, Oriental, Sardinian, Vietnamese, vegan, vegetarian] Link

Creative Commons Licence

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, 10 January 2024

Organic Trondheim: Restaurants and Cafes

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 quite recently, 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.

Godt Brød

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.

Godt Brød Solsiden

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.

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. However, Michelin-decorated Credo is going to close by the end of January, 2024, to re-open on the premises of the National Library in Oslo, during summer or autumn, 2024. Let's hope that Jossa and Edoramen are going to survive without their mastermind. All places are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as during the Easter and X-Mas 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 organic coffee past security at Haven next to gate 35.

Map of all places listed in this article and located in the city centre

Permanently closed or no longer organic

The following places are either closed, with references remaining on the web, or ceased to offer organic items:

2024-01-10 21:00:00 [Trondheim, organic, fair, vegetarian, vegan, bakeries, cafe, takeaway, coffee, ice-cream, snacks, lunch, dinner, pizza, airports] Link

Creative Commons Licence

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 January 2024

Leipzig: Sunday-open organic shops

The Leipzig Hauptbahnhof (main station) is not just Europe's largest head train station with fine arched halls and a generous concourse, it's also home to a Sunday-open two-storey shopping mall dubbed "Promenaden". The shops are predominantly branches of the same boring chains as everywhere but since organic products have been entering the main stream this mall not only gives you the opportunity to replenish stocks when everything else is closed but allows the traveller to quickly shop for organic provisions while changing trains or while the locomotive of their train is being exchanged.

The mall is situated below track level, just walk right away to the arrival hall and take the escalator stairs down. All shops mentioned here are located on ground floor, i.e. one level below the long distance trains.

Alnatura Express

Your first option is a 100 percent organic supermarket near the Western entry of the mall: The nation-wide operating Alnatura chain is running one of the smaller Alnatura Express convenience stores for last minute provisions here. It can be reached easily from track 2 by a moving walkway. Downstairs turn right (facing away from the tracks), and there you'll easily spot the fresh-green coloured shop – a provider not only of all daily necessities, but also of fully organic snacks and coffee on the go.

For those who wish to refill their drinking bottle with tea or infusion, the "Tea(bag) of the week" comes at the unbeatable price of 1 EUR. The staff will happily fill your entire bottle with hot tea water if you ask nicely. Unfortunately opening hours on Sundays are limited to the afternoon.

When you find it closed do not despair: Next to it a Rossmann drugstore offers a good selection of organic dry goods, preserves, drinks and natural body care, though less than the DM branch mentioned below. If in a hurry you can buy the following brands without hesitation: "Alverde", "Sante", "Lavera", "Weleda" (toiletries), "EnerBio" and "Veganz" (food, the latter is entirely vegan). Since 2020 the range of environmentally friendlier household items has been on the rise: now you'll find the entire list of grandma's cleaning chemicals in the shelves, both citric and acetic acid as well as soda, beeswax food wraps and more, and in 2021 the company launched their own brand of environmentally certified range of cleaning products, "ecofreude".

The Eastern-most part of the mall (to the right when facing the tracks) houses a branch of the DM Drogeriemarkt offering an abundance of certified organic dry goods, preserves, drinks, natural body care and eco-friendly household chemicals (see here for a detailed description), in short: everything you need while travelling except for fresh and frozen food.

Still in the East wing though more central you'll find a Vitalia wholefood market which in addition to dry goods, sweets and snacks, toiletries and detergents also sells fresh food: Here you can get organic bakery items and and sandwiches, fresh dairy products and a small selection of organic fresh fruit and veges. Prices here are more upmarket than at the DM branch, and you have to check for organic labels, too, though to a lesser extend. If in doubt the staff is more competent than the one in the drugstore superstores and they are two hours longer open on Sundays than the Alnatura.

Macis-Biobäckerei

If in the mood for a good coffee a difficult question might bother the eco-conscious traveller: Should I have an organic coffee made by the coffee automat of the Alnatura snack bar or do I rather prefer a properly pressure-made yet conventional espresso in the beautiful bookshop cafe Ludwig on track level? I'd love to recommend the latter in this blog but organic ingredients are limited to organic syrup to flavour the coffee and iced tea of Coca Cola's organic brand "Honest". The coffee bar used to have organic apple spritzer but unfortunately no longer. With its beautiful ceiling the well-assorted bookstore however is worth visiting in its own right. While the book shop keeps open longer the cafe is closing at 6 pm.

City centre

If you have the time to take a stroll into the city centre, make sure to pay a visit to the bakery of the Macis restaurant a little south of the Thomaskirche yard with the famous Bach memorial, if only to marvel at the mouth-watering fully organic and skillfully decorated cakes and club sandwiches in the shop window. Unlike the organic convenience store next to it the bakery keeps open on Sunday mornings, and if you buy of their artisanal breads some organic butter is absolutely sufficient for a gorgeous picnic.

2024-01-05 13:30:00 [Leipzig, organic, vegan, gifts, snacks, lunch, supermarkets, grocery, trainstation, coffee, books, bakeries] Link

Creative Commons Licence

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.

Dresden: Organic supermarkets and groceries

Organic wholesale in the capital of Saxony (which is governed by a red-red-green coalition) used to be dominated by the local economy, but since the oldest organic supermarket in town, Biosphäre, became part of the nation-wide Denn's chain in 2018, the picture has been resembling the one in other German metropolises: The market is devided between two local actors, a regional one and two of the nation-wide operating grocery chains, with a hand-full of smaller corner shops filling niches.

The largest density of organic supermarkets can naturally be found in the vibrant Wilhelminian style quarter of Neustadt north of the river Elbe with its – gentrification aside – still predominantly left-wing population of artists, students, activists, tourists, hipsters and bourgeois green-party voters.

Neustadt

It hasn't been always this way, but walking the old streets of Innere Neustadt with open eyes will present you with an abundance of shops and eateries boosting of vegetarian and vegan products. Many of them use organic produce, but won't advertise it – partially because they blend with conventional products, and use of organic ingredients will vary, partially in fear of being prejudged as expensive. Fortunately it is nowadays easier to find an organic supermarket in this neighbourhood than a conventional one, so if you're tired of asking just walk to the next crossroad, and there you are.

The former Biosphäre markets are located here: the older one on Königsbrücker Landstraße opposite Schauburg theatre, and an even larger one in Alaunstraße a few metres from Albertplatz which replaced a conventional supermarket. Both have a self-service area where you can have coffee, cakes, pastry, sandwiches at any time of the day, and soups for lunch. Students are entitled a 10 percent discount on Wednesdays. Recently the shop in Alaunstraße also took a small effort to support package-free shopping.

Berlin-based organic supermarket chain Bio Company has a branch a little south along the tramway tracks on Königsbrücker Landstraße. Just like the Denn's branches it closes at liberal 9 pm. The Bio Company stores recently introduced fill-yourself stations with dry food and sweets. This shop offers more refill options that the one near Blaues Wunder bridge.

If you despair in face of the piles of plastics and paper wrappings you've been collecting while doing your regular shopping, re-use your glasses, containers and bags and refill them at Lose, a cosy zero-waste corner store in Böhmische Straße.

Altstadt

The Denn's Biomarkt chain not only took over the two former Biosphäre markets in the Neustadt but also opened a new supermarket within the Altmarktgalerie shopping mall.

Near Bahnhof Mitte train station you'll find the main branch of VG Biomarkt, an organic co-operative which not only supports your zero-waste efforts but also sports its own organic fashion store.

Striesen, Blasewitz, Loschwitz, Johannstadt

The neighbourhoods along the river shore on the east side of town sport several branches of the zero-waste friendly VG Biomarkt food co-operative.

South of the Blaues Wunder bridge, local butcher's chain Vorwerk Podemus has one of its pleasant wholesale supermarkets. First address for shortly travelled organic meat of animals which had a decent life. They also have branches in the neighbourhoods of Gruna, Neustadt, Alttolkewitz as well as a farmshop. While the Podemus shops do not offer food in gravity bins, they have been increasing their product range with jogurt, honey and jams in 250 ml deposit glasses lately. Make sure to return them in any organic supermarket.

Another option in the neighbourhood of Blasewitz is the second Bio Company branch in town. Just like in the Neustadt branch the bakery disk caters for the early bird from 7:30 am.

The only branch of a nation-wide operating organic grocery chain so far is Alnatura on tram hub Straßburger Platz which many locals still refer to by its old name from GDR times, "Fucikplatz".

Bühlau, Weißer Hirsch

To find fully organic groceries on top of the hillside North of the Blaues Wunder bridge, in the elegant residential area of Weißer Hirsch and adjacent Bühlau interestingly proves to be more difficult. What I found instead was the shop of a small-scale vegan manufacturer, Vegannett (a pun made of the words "vegan" and "nice", while the second part of the name also refers to the name of the owner-founder, Annett). On the premises of a former partially organic butcher's shop she prepares vegetable spreads which you can buy in many of the aforementioned supermarkets. But if you happen to be there on a Wednesday afternoon, pay a visit, taste and shop. In addition to the spreads you can also buy local honey. And the best: Since 2022 the spreads have been coming in deposit glasses!

Klotzsche

If you fancy a stroll in the woods of Dresdner Heide or are on the way from or to the airport make sure to have sufficient time to visit the beautifully restored historical train station Klotzsche with its Vorwerk Podemus supermarket and the organic station restaurant, both catering for the early bird.

Closed down

The following (partially) organic supermarkets do no longer exist although you will still find references to them on the web:

2024-01-05 12:00:00 [Dresden, Neustadt, organic, supermarkets, grocery, eatery, lunch, snacks, coffee, vegan, trainstation, farms, Elbe_cycle_route, Elberadweg] Link

Creative Commons Licence

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.