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Eco-friendly package-free shop opens on the historic Wekerle estate


  • Jász Annamária

30/11/2020 9.17am

The Wekerle estate is best known for being a garden city of distinct architectural styles built either side of World War I. Now there’s another reason to head down to Kispest and admire its unspoilt façades: Boldog Föld, ‘Happy Earth’, a zero-waste store just opened.

Looking around the store, everything you might need for a sustainable household is available, and top-quality, too. An amazing selection of legumes, most of them organic, is available from the dispensers, several types of lentils, millet, jasmine and Thai black rice, as well as beans the average shopper doesn’t usually find: adzuki, mung, black, pinto and red.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Package-free and zero-waste stores are not new to Budapest, nor unique food stores to Wekerle, with A másik bolt on Kós Károly tér, but Boldog Föld (‘Happy Earth’) promises to be one of the best, with every little detail and household dilemma in mind. 

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Suppliers have been carefully selected, most of them from ecologically conscious entrepreneurs familiar at the small-batch producers’ markets of Budapest. Gold-medal winners at this year’s Kenyérlelke Festival, sourdough breads and pastries by Panelpék greet visitors at the entrance. We had the pleasure of visiting the baker József Cseperkáló’s main outlet in Soroksár earlier this year.

Then there’s fruit and vegetables from Szorgos Gazda, and their spreads and cordials on the shelves. Large bags contain the unadulterated flours of Garat Mill, while the homemade butters and cheeses come from the Garabonciás Farm.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Stepping inside Boldog Föld is made all that more pleasant thanks to the attention to detail owner couple, Gusztáv and Laura Mravik-Galán, have paid to the interior. Alongside family belongings for the equipment and decoration, the paintings hanging on the wall were the handiwork of one of their 14-year-old triplets, as was the logo design – the family lives in the house opposite, in Wekerle. 

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Although restrictions now dictate that you can’t sit on the nice sofa in the middle of the store, you can imagine admiring the stock while drinking coffee and nibbling cakes.

On the counter are piles of homemade zserbó and flódni cakes, brownies and oatmeal biscuits, as well as two special machines, one for milk, the other for butter, used which allow Laura to make use of cashews, poppy seed, walnuts and other ingredients.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Boldog Föld is the kind of place where you can find things unavailable elsewhere – within reasonable limits, of course. Obviously not oranges and bananas, but the Laura family have found a farm near Siófok, from where they can source persimmons, a natural sweetener and imported without an unnecessarily long journey.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

You can pour your own olive oil, maple syrup, vinegars, Cleanne-branded environmentally friendly cleaners and detergents, also sold at larger stores, plus Zenna bathroom products: caffeine and keratin shampoo, liquid soap, body lotion, hair conditioner and shower gel.

There are plenty of seeds, dried goods, pastas, herbal teas, plantain peel, baking soda, citric acid, chocolate drops in various flavours, in breakable blocks or just plain lozenges. For goods that cannot be poured out, such as toothpaste and body lotion, the packaging is taken back and recycled.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Shoppers can take their goods in their own bags, but if someone forgets to bring theirs, they can also use the jars collected locally and the bags that can be bought in the store.

At Laura, by the way, they follow Bea Johnson’s book Zero Waste Home for an eco-conscious lifestyle, and whatever questions you might have about creating an eco-friendly home, they’re sure to know the answer.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Boldog Föld
District XIX. Pannóni

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