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December 2005

Baubles, Bangles & Bio

Celebrate Christmas with a conscience

Take your White Christmases and run. Green’s the way to go. In a backlash against the sort of mass commercialism that has taken over the festive season with a vengeance, more people are choosing to get back to basics. We set out to find ways of having a very ethical Christmas.

It’s all very well vowing to make this Christmas one with a conscience. But it’s not always so easy convincing the husband and kids that they want to forego the commercial traditions to which they are so accustomed. Until, that is, you start by suggesting an outing to the Bavarian forests to fell your own Christmas tree. You can almost see that thought bubble light up above hubby’s head, as he pictures himself a tough Canadian lumberjack, hacking down a spruce for the little lady.

Several landowners around Munich run “fell your own” tree services, with many offering Glühwein, a campfire and food on top. In most cases, you don’t even need take your own saw, as tools and advice are provided. As far as price goes, you’re looking at around € 20 upwards for a one-and-a-half-meter tree—with the added bonus that it’s fresh and chemical free. Try the Gräflich von Hundt’sche Forstverwaltung in Unterweikertshofen, near Dachau (Tel. 08135 93 92 00,, open for felling on December 9, 10, 11 and December 16, 17, 18, from 9 am–5 pm.

With the tree up, you’ll need some decorations. Either make your own—cut out some festive shapes from felt—or hunt out the ethical goodies on offer at the Christmas markets. Alternatively, have a look at Condo (Pestalozzistrasse 34, Tel. 12 01 86 66) for unusual items by local artists. Design Sache Victor (Tel. 448 69 30) is a group of three women who make funky decorations for sale, or for something more traditional, try Familie Grüner in Oberhausen (Tel. 08431 64 37 87), where father and son saw their own wooden objects and sell them at extremely reasonable prices. At Münchner Romantix’s (Pfisterstrasse 6, Tel. 290 40 91), there’s a range of traditional decorations, all made with a conscience.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without heaps of food and drink. But instead of tackling the crowds at the supermarkets, why not make it a more pleasurable experience by hunting out quality, local products? Let’s start with the crowning glory—the bird itself. The easy option would be to head to Spegassner’s Geflügelladen at the Viktualienmarkt (Stand 14, Tel. 260 84 67), where you’ll find freshly-slaughtered, farm-raised Bavarian geese, as well as a range of other goose products. Alternatively, head to one of the farms in the region that sell home-bred birds. One to try is Biohof Sonnenstatter (Schiessstättstrasse 7, Schliersee, Tel. 08026 200 11), where you’ll have the choice of goose or duck. If you prefer turkey, go for the juicy birds on offer at Freiland Puten Fahrenzhausen (Gewerbering 4-6, Fahrenzhausen, Tel. 08133 996 20, For other meat products, Munich’s culinary king Hans Haas swears by Gutshof Polting (Postmünster, Tel. 08726 13 14) for lamb and game. Or try Herrmannsdorfer (, a cooperation of 70 local farmers with shops in Munich and headquarters in Glonn, where you’ll also find a market and beer garden. On December 3 and 4, the company is holding a Christmas market at its home in Glonn, where you’ll be sure to pick up a stash of treats for your Christmas feast.

For fresh fruit, try the Bavarian Fruit Exchange (Obstbörse Bayern), run by the region’s consumer advice center. The initiative puts those who wish to pick homegrown fruit and vegetables in touch with people who’ve grown an excess of the stuff and can’t get through it themselves. Call Tel. 01805 82 92 32 to find out what’s ripe for harvesting at any given moment. Or, sign up with an Ökokiste (organic crate) company. Amperhof (Adlerweg 15, Olching, Tel. 08142 408 79,, for example, runs weekly deliveries to Munich addresses. The minimum order is € 13 and there is no delivery charge. Customers choose from a fantastic selection of organic produce, including meat, fruit, pasta, wine, dairy products—you name it, they’ve got it. If you like a surprise, order one of the hampers—be it a selection for mother and child, a cheese mix or one filled with local specialties.

If you’re a sucker for the traditional Christmas Day breakfast of smoked salmon, yet have been worried by the controversies that have hit the industry, check out the local smokeries. Asbrand in Solln (Wolfratshauserstrasse 264, Tel. 79 55 05) produces smoked salmon from organic Atlantic fish, as well as other smoked products. Or pay a visit to the Alte Mühle Kirchdorf (Schwedenstrasse 16, Tel. 08247 33 47 17,, an inn where a variety of local fish is smoked, using traditional methods. Sweet treats can be environmentally friendly too—order original yet organic Lebkuchen at

As for liquid refreshment, there’s never been a better excuse to be virtuous. Perger Säfte (Herrschingerstrasse 51, Tel. 08152 39 90 92,, producer of organic juice drinks at its farm near Ammersee since 1949, offers one of the coolest ranges of soft drinks available. Whether you go for Pinki (pink grapefruit), Benni (apple and raspberry), P-Lemon or otherwise, the fruity beverages not only taste great, but the vintage-inspired bottles are hip enough to serve at any Christmas party.

And finally, if all this has given you the “bio” bug, check out Munich’s “Call a Körndl” (Tel. 30 00 24 48, For a maximum delivery charge of € 6, depending on the value of your order, you can fulfill all your organic dreams with the company’s 6,000 products, ranging from chewing gum to charcoal. <<<

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