Veronika Wurm knows and appreciates the moor around her home of Saulgrub. The spicy, fragrant soaps that she makes from this natural remedy are earthy and almost black in colour
Soapmaker Veronika Wurm
Sunlight floods into the glazed soap workshop of Veronika Wurm in the Upper Bavarian town of Saulgrub. Natural soaps with names such as “Lady’s Mantle-Arnica” or “Lime Blossom” are piled on the shelves and give off a heady yet soothing aroma.
At the front of the display the visitor is aware of the flowery scent of lavender, further back the fruity tones of apple can be distinguished. One soap is particularly noticeable because of its dark colour: moor soap. This earthy, almost black piece of soap smells of aromatic mountain pines – a scent that is reminiscent of native forests and moorland.
This particular aroma is familiar to walkers in the unique cultural landscape around Saulgrub. This region is home to the Altenauer Moor with its wonderful wild flowers and peaty pools – a natural landscape dating back millennia and formerly used to harvest peat.
Today, locals manage the fragile biotope in order to preserve the habitat of its many rare plants and animals, such as the mountain pine or the high moor ground beetle. In addition, the Altenauer Moor is a popular recreation area. Locals and visitors walk across the moor on wooden boardwalks and enjoy these distinctive natural surroundings.
Moor soap: a piece of Bavarian cultural landscape
"Cold process soapmaking preserves all the constituent ingredients."
Harnessing the power of the moor has a long tradition in the region around the spa towns of Bad Kohlgrub and Bad Bayersoien. The Bergkiefern-Hochmoor upland moor with its mountain pines is valued as a source of natural remedies, the healing properties of which are released in moor baths. Many hotels in the region offer moor baths. Guests who want to continue to enjoy this spicy fragrance back at home are delighted to take Veronika Wurm’s moor soap away with them as a souvenir – and often become regular customers.
Veronika Wurm creates her natural soaps by hand using one hundred percent natural ingredients: “We produce our soap using the old tradition of cold process soapmaking. This preserves all the constituent ingredients”, she explains. She knows how to value the power of the moor in her native region.
This is how Moor soap came into being
Armed with sunglasses, apron and gloves, Veronika Wurm first adds vegetable fats and oils to her vat where they gently melt. She then adds lye to this oil and fat mixture, which spits and steams ferociously. Within a short space of time the mixture thickens as it is stirred, resulting in the so-called “soap glue”.
After this has simmered for quite a while, the soapmaker mixes in the moor ingredients and the essential oils. She grinds the ingredients for the moor blocks particularly finely, to create a peeling effect when they are used for washing. Finally she pours the finished soap mixture into a wooden mold. The soap now needs three to four weeks to ripen, until the basic PH-value has reached seven or eight. Then the soap is suitable for the skin and can be sold. Guests who are interested in the manufacturing process can watch Veronika Wurm at work in her glazed workshop.
Soap workshop in Saulgrub: a meeting point for visitors and locals
Whoever loves the moors will also love the other products made in the soap workshop, such as moor bathing chocolate or moor body butter, which keeps your skin particularly smooth and silky. For visitors this is the ideal memento of their holiday in the cultural landscape of the Ammergau Alps – and for locals it’s a true piece of home.
And if anyone has run out of Moor soap, they can always order some more from the soapmaker’s online shop.
More about the soaps from Veronika Wurm: seife-wurm.de
... from Veronika
Association of hotel operators in Bad Kohlgrub, all of whom have moor baths in their programme. In addition, special mud care series are offered: Moor bath chocolate, Moor body butter, a Moor bath bomb and the Moor soap. The moor is something very special in our region.
moorsymphonie.de (only in German)
Viewpoint Wetzsteinrücken in Saulgrub
My insider tip is the walk up the Wetzsteinrücken. In Saulgrub it is not far up the village street past the church. From the top you have a wonderful view of Lake Starnberg.