Many an expat health nut has, upon arrival in Prague, found herself at least a little daunted by the Czech national cuisine´s heavy reliance on meats, cream sauces, and carb-laden side dishes. But while traditional Czech food may be notorious for its high fat content, it would be false to say that no part of the Western trend towards health-conscious eating has made its way across national borders.
In fact, Prague is now positively littered with health food stores selling everything from organic produce to environmentally friendly dish soap, and even some of the larger grocery store chains have begun stocking organic goods. Locally, the organic farming industry has seen an enormous boom: in 1989, the Czech Republic was home to only two designated organic farms; now it boasts 836, or more than six percent of its total agricultural land. The Ministry of Agriculture´s 2004 organic action plan cites a goal of increasing that figure to ten percent by 2010.
The word for “organic” here is bio – but to be assured that a product actually contains all-organic ingredients, look for the official green Bio label on the packaging. Each EU country has its own labeling system, so the certifications on imported goods may be different from the one used here.
If you´re looking for organic meat products, large stores such as Delvita and Tesco carry organic beef (and occasionally organic pork and lamb). But organic chicken, because of its high production cost, isn´t farmed in the Czech Republic, and is therefore more difficult to find. Perhaps the only outlet is health-food store Albio, which carries organic chicken that has been imported. Otherwise, for free-range chicken, the brand Vodnany, available at many supermarkets, produces chicken labeled as “corn-fed” (kukuřičné, also referred to as farmářské or zlaté kuře). Eggs from free-range chickens are usually called vejce od slepic chovaných na podestýlce – eggs from hens raised “on hay” (as opposed to in cages).
And if you´re keen on feeding your littlest ones all-organically, try baby food brands Hipp and Sunval, available in both health-food stores and traditional supermarkets.
Finally, a tip for those who like to know as much as they can about their meat: biohovezi.cz has a function that allows you to determine exactly where your beef originated. Just type in your organic meat´s serial number (on the package) next to where it says “Identify your steak.” Dobrou chut´!
Truhlářská 18, Prague 1 – New Town
Tel: 222 325 414
Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00 – 20:00, Sat 10:00 – 17:00
Dejvická 26, Prague 6 – Dejvice
Tel: 224 326 510
Mon-Fri 8:00 – 19:00, Sat 8:00 – 13:00
Nám. 14. října 17, Prague 5 – Smíchov
Tel: 255 799 711
Mon-Fri 8:00 – 20:00, Sat 9:00 – 17:00
One of the major health food chains in Prague, offering an assortment of organic goods, including produce, dairy products, breads and cosmetics, plus various organic meats. Albio stocks a variety of sandwiches and to go meals, as well as homemade sweets that replace refined sugar with healthier sweeteners such as fruit juices, maple syrup, and grain sweeteners. They´ll even make you a whole sugarfree cake if you order in advance.
Bio Market Vitek
Vinohradská 53, Prague 2 – Vinohrady
Tel: 222 251 019
Hours: Mon-Fri 7:45 – 19:00, Sat 9:00 – 13:00
This friendly store in Vinohrady has a standard selection of health-store goods, plus organic wines, freshly ground spelt coffee, and various Japanese cooking ingredients. They also carry organic bath and body products – such as lavender shampoo and kids´ body lotion – from Danish company Urtekram.
Melantrichova 15, Prague 1 – Old Town
Tel: 224 213 366
Hours: Mon-Thurs 8:30 – 19:00, Fri 8:00 – 15:00, Sun 11:00 – 18:00 (Closed Saturday)
Jungmannova 1, Prague 1 – New Town
Tel: 257 044 280
Hours: Mon-Thurs 8:30 – 18:30, Fri 8:30 – 15:00
Československé armády 30, Prague 6 – Dejvice
Tel: 233 931 020
Hours: Mon-Thurs 7:30 – 19:00, Fri 7:30 – 15:00
Bělohorská 80, Prague 6 – Břevnov
Tel: 233 311 722
Hours: Mon-Thurs 7:30 – 19:00, Fri 7:30 – 15:00
The first post-revolution health food wholesalers in the Czech Republic are still going strong. Country Life´s dry goods can be found in many supermarkets, as well as in their own health food shops, which also sell produce, groceries, cosmetics, and eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Be sure to check out their yummy home-made healthy cookies, made from different wheats such as whole-grain and spelt, and flavored with dates, figs, and nuts.
Nádražní 17, Prague 5 – Anděl (in the courtyard)
Tel: 774 518 217
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00 – 19:00
This recent addition to Prague´s health food scene quickly became a favorite for its good selection of organic fruits and vegetables, cow and goat dairy products, and teas. They deliver purchases over 800 CZK for free, and have a fairly easy-to-navigate shopping website (in Czech).
Other Health Food Stores (by district)
Zdravé Žití U Tři Růží – Soukenická 21
Biotop – Školská 34, New Town
Zdravá Výživa – Na Slupi 9, website here
Alafia – Táboritská 15, Žižkov
LS-Zetis (gluten-free products) – Husitská 35,
Centrum zdravého životního stylu – Na Petýnce 52, Břevnov
Nature Life – Na Petřinách 82, Petřiny
U Tamary – Ortenovo náměstí 28, Holešovice
Medunka – Na Hrázi 21, Palmovka
PPL Bio & Racio Potraviny – Starostrašnická 38