Vegetarians, vegans and all who like their food fresh and organic live an increasingly good life in Brussels. Of all the shops in the capital that bring the farmland to your fingertips, these eight are some of the absolute best.
As its name implies, Champigros is the place to be for all things mushroom. Aside from mountains of fresh fungi and truffles, the organic food savants behind the counter also offer rare fruits and vegetables, often grown by local suppliers. Add handmade oils, balsamic vinegars, spices and chocolates to the mix, and you know where to go when you want to wow your friends or partner with a fancy seasonal dinner. This kind of quality comes at a price, though, so Champigros is best suited for those special upmarket ingredients that will make your dish pop.
Of all the shops on this list, Sequoia feels and looks the most like any other supermarket. A deliberate choice, given that the pioneer of the industry has been working tirelessly to make organic’s ‘luxury’ reputation disappear. Sequoia’s dream goal is making healthy and responsible food accessible to all, and with 10,000 different items in stock, chances of not finding what you need at one of their three Brussels venues (Uccle, Stockel, and Watermael-Boitsfort) are indeed slim.
Färm, a chain of biological shops, cares about many things. First, there’s public transport, which is why every single one of their spacious stores is named after and located near a metro stop. Next, there’s the biological aspect with an expansive selection of over one hundred different vegetables and plenty of fruits, meats, and biological bread. Equally important, though, is community, and that’s why not every single product in the store is bio. Färm also wants to support local products, such as ketchup made in Brussels. You can try out their outstanding selection of over 50 cheeses on the spot at their healthy eatery.
Let’s face it: one of the main reasons we’re not all eating organic all the time is because it can be hard on the pocketbook. Going bio can be pricey, but the bio market at Les Ateliers des Tanneurs can lend a helping hand with this dilemma. The market offers a remarkable balance in price and quality, even while maintaining that romantic aspect of plucking avocados and fresh tomatoes out of giant wicker baskets. Also offering pasta, dairy products, and olive oil in bulk, you could feasibly make this 6/7 market your new weekly shopping spot without burning too big of a hole in your pocket.
Brussels’ organic lovers have embraced the concept store idea with open arms, merrily combining shops with restaurants and vice versa. One of the capital’s best examples so far is TAN, a venue dedicated to ‘living food,’ meaning that in the upstairs restaurant, ingredients are served either raw or cooked at low temperatures (always under a hundred degrees) to hold onto as much of their nutritional value as possible. Every colorful dish that leaves the kitchen has been made with produce coming from the downstairs market, from seasonal veggies to edible flowers and seaweeds, so nothing is stopping you from upholding the ‘living food’ philosophy at home as well.
Another concept shop to bring joy to many a guilt-free foodie, CHYL does it all with a conscience: wellness products, lipsticks, granola in bulk, avocado toasts, and gluten-free cakes are all part of the package. The 19th-century town house has been stylishly designed to be a home away from home for the alternative city dweller.
A glorious 700-square-meter space covered in organic and sustainable produce, the tram’s former horse stables in Schaerbeek became Brussels’ first indoor bio market in the winter of 2015. The industrial setting hosts passionate vendors who are also the producers of their own products, and it has become a foodie favorite in no time. Fresh fruits and veggies, bread hot out of the oven, artisanal meats and cheeses galore, steaming cups of coffee – the list goes on. Those who find their way to the slightly hidden Les Ecuries van de Tram, with its laid-back atmosphere, tend to love it so much that they make shopping and strolling around here a part of their weekend routine.
The history of Dolma as a haven for the capital’s environmentally conscious foodie goes back as far as 1973 when the restaurant opened its doors to serve dishes of the macrobiotic kind. Over the years, its small adjoining shop and that of longtime partner La Tsampa, both in Ixelles, have become fixtures on Brussels’ veggie scene. Its bakery department is stocked with a lovely selection of bread coming from multiple bio bakeries.