Once upon a time the fields surrounding the Bavarian village of Eichenau, about 20 miles west of Munich, were world famous for growing peppermint. Nowadays, the only remnants of this once blossoming industry are Pfefferminz Strasse (Peppermint Street), an acre-sized field of the aromatic herb, and the Pfefferminzmuseum – the Peppermint Museum.
In the early 20th century, a farmer named Adolf Pfaffinger realized that the bog-like soil in Eichenau was perfect for growing the thirsty plant. Soon other local farmers followed suit, and Eichenau peppermint became well known for both medicinal and culinary uses. But in the late 1950s, the German market was opened to foreign growers and the local peppermint industry suffered from a sudden rush of cheap product from abroad. Growing high-quality peppermint is pretty labor-intensive, and before long the local farmers simply couldn’t compete.
Today Eichenau celebrates its agricultural heritage with a museum dedicated to the humble mentha piperita. Stroll around the Pfefferminzmuseum with a complementary cup of Eichenau-grown peppermint tea and learn about the unique history of the area – growing, harvesting, and processing the best peppermint for brewing, menthol products, cold remedies and, of course, candy. You can even buy some Eichenau-grown peppermint tea or candy to take home with you, a reminder of the town’s minty past.
Know Before You Go
Eichenau is about 20 miles west of Munich. The Museum is in the former local library, entrance off Park Strasse in the side door