German word of the day: Reformhaus

I know what you’re thinking… it’s where naughty, naughty little girls are sent. At least that’s what I thought the first time I walked past a Reformhaus sign when I lived in Germany.

It was only after I had been living there for a year that I finally figured out what they really are: shops that carry health foods of various sorts, as well as herbal remedies and wacky things of that nature. For a vegetarian living in former East Germany (where bananas were still a novelty), discovering the true nature of Reformhäuser was a dream come true. Tofu! Cranberry juice! Vegetarian Wurst! None of these things were sold in grocery stores in Halle.

Now that we live in Zurich, I am once again in the land of Reformhäuser. I haven’t been shopping at them very often, since normal supermarkets here offer a wider range of foods than those in Germany did. I often just forget they exist.

But the other day I was in the mood to try something new, so I headed towards the Reformhaus in our neighborhood, only to find it had closed down. Feeling guilty for not having given it more of my patronage, I changed course towards the only other Reformhaus I was aware of, the one in the underground mall at the main train station.

There I browsed for half an hour while picking out a couple goodies from the vast array of foods (many of which I have never seen before). I steered clear of the dinkel burger, but I left with my seitan, organic tofu-and-grunkern ravioli, and mung beans chips vowing to return again soon, or at least to find a new Reformhaus in my neighborhood.

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2 thoughts on “German word of the day: Reformhaus

  1. you must go back and buy the dinkel burgers, and then blog about them. If you ever have kids in Zurich you can threaten to send them to the Reformhaus to eat dinkel burgers if they don’t behave.

  2. There is also a Reformhause on Birmensdorferstrasse near tramstop Schmiede Wiedikon, which is the one I go to. It is sooooo expensive though! I buy whatever whole-grain-bean-whatis I can at Coop where it’s a whole lot cheaper, and only the more esoteric things at Reformhaus.

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