Until recently, Laura and Carl worked in a grand villa in one of Munich’s most prestigious neighbourhoods. Before that it was a castle. In both, it was the empty cellars they were interested in.
Schlosspilze (castle mushrooms) supplies regional and sustainable mushrooms in Munich and Bavaria. Created during the first lockdown, the company aims to make use of local abandoned spaces to grow products that are often shipped to Germany from around the world.
After spending a lot of time reading, speaking to experts and simply experimenting, founders Laura and Carl soon perfected their trade and their concept. “Cellars provide excellent growing conditions for mushrooms,” explains Laura. “Thanks to their constant temperatures, they provide low-maintenance environments that are easy to control.”
With the help of grow tents, the pair are able to harvest large volume of mushrooms from a very small area. “It’s so satisfying to manage the whole process from start to finish!” she adds.
Right now, they mainly grow their favourite king oyster mushrooms (Kräuterseitlinge) but are more than willing to branch out. “If there was demand for a certain kind from a local chef, we’d be happy to take it on,” says Laura.
Schlosspilze currently works with Munich’s favourite market stall Caspar Plautz, organic supermarket Landmann’s Biomarkt and local farm delivery service Frische Post, but hope to form collaborations with some of the city’s top restaurants.
They also sell directly from their production sites, but with these subject to constant change, it can be difficult to drum up regular busines.
So far, Schlosspilze’s cellars have come via personal connections. Unfortunately, both the castle (which inspired their name) and the Bogenhausen villa are no longer available. The latter, which had stood empty for months, is now being renovated.
“We’ve sent out thousands of emails, contacted the council and informed our networks – but it’s not always an easy sell!” Laura explains. From summer they have the opportunity to move their production to an old brewery cellar in upper Bavaria (Oberbayern), but they’d ideally like some prime city real estate too.
In the meantime, the pair will continue to promote their products. Their website features a number of great recipes using mushrooms as well as a number of articles about their health benefits. “We still feel mushrooms are underrated as a delicious vitamin-rich alternative to meat,” says Laura.
You really only have to try them to change your mind.