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A Taste of Heaven: A Guide to Food and Drink Made by Monks and Nuns Paperback – August 6, 2009


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A Taste of Heaven: A Guide to Food and Drink Made by Monks and Nuns + Cooking with the Saints: An Illustrated Treasury of Authentic Recipes Old and Modern + Twelve Months of Monastery Soups: International Favorites
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; Original edition (August 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585427187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585427185
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 8.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a world dominated by celebrity chefs and the latest and greatest recipes blogged and tweeted by foodies, Scherb takes readers on a refreshing foray along a monastic pilgrimage through Europe and the United States. The author poses the question in this cookbook/travel guide: What can the rest of us learn from the way monks and nuns live and the exceptional products they make? The exceptional products are broken down into sections including spirits, cheese, and sweets, and honor the ingredients and traditions of monastic food making over a thousand years. The 40-plus recipes vary from the simple (Savory Cheese Melt) to the unexpected (cauliflower fritters), and more involved (chocolate chestnut torte with cognac mousse; and browned sole with shrimp, and gnocchi), are culled from various restaurant chefs, magazines and Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette, a monk and cookbook author. While the recipe count is light, the book—subtly designed with small illustrations—is filled out with suggested itineraries to regional monasteries, detailed profiles of abbots and abbesses and a shopping resource. Readers will also find a guide to monastery etiquette and a suggested reading list for more on monastic life. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Author

Hi, I'm Madeline Scherb and I write The Hungry Pilgrim blog. The Hungry Pilgrim is about a small town girl turned big city girl turned food pilgrim and author. I became a food pilgrim by accident. I was living in New York City when I felt a calling to explore the spiritual side of life. I decided to embark on a journey that would combine my love of food with my spiritual curiosity. Along the way I discovered that some of the most remote monasteries on earth make some of the most delicious foods including chocolate, cheese and beer! My journey became a book, A Taste of Heaven: A Guide to Food and Drink Made by Monks and Nuns. I continue to explore food and spirituality and post recipes on my blog atthehungrypilgrim.wordpress.com.

More About the Author

Hi, I'm Madeline Scherb and I write The Hungry Pilgrim blog. The Hungry Pilgrim is about a small town girl turned big city girl turned food pilgrim and author. I became a food pilgrim by accident. I was living in New York City when I felt a calling to explore the spiritual side of life. I decided to embark on a journey that would combine my love of food with my spiritual curiosity. Along the way I discovered that some of the most remote monasteries on earth make some of the most delicious foods including chocolate, cheese and beer! My journey became a book, A Taste of Heaven. I continue to explore food and spirituality and post recipes on my radio show (coming soon on Relevant Radio) and blog at www.thehungrypilgrimshow.com.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
This book will make a marvelous gift for anyone who enjoys both good recipes and cultural richness!
Ana Braga-Henebry
The author writes about her pilgrimage to sample the foods made by monks and nuns in contemplative monasteries.
Christine Prescott
An array of delicious receipes with wonderful information about the Monasteries that inspired the receipes.
Jule from Madison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ana Braga-Henebry VINE VOICE on December 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book will make a marvelous gift for anyone who enjoys both good recipes and cultural richness! Catholic monastic life, in silence, prayer and traditional simplicity, have created the best culinary treats through the centuries: this book is a window into this heavenly-tasting world. I personally applaud the author for including the cultural, geographical and historical descriptions of the monasteries, making this book a one-of-a-kind volume.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lembckejames on October 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A rare gem of a book that both cooks and anyone who enjoys a good meal will appreciate. The stories, the travel, and especially the food, made this a great addition to my library. I used this as my coffee table book at my last party, and had so many people interested in getting a copy, I ended up giving a few more as gifts. This is my pick of the year. Enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By HS on December 16, 2009
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A Taste of Heaven is a unique mix of travelogue, buying guide, and cookbook, with a healthy dose of inspiration for good measure. Madeline Scherb infuses her descriptions of the products made by nuns and monks with her own observations from contemplative retreats at the abbeys and monasteries. Her book is both an armchair read and one to prop up on the kitchen counter, as it contains several recipes created specifically for the book. Everyone who has looked through my copy has been intrigued - an excellent book to give as a gift!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Pageturner in NYC on November 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Part cookbook, part travel guide, this wonderful collection of recipies of food and drink products made by monks and nuns is my choice for the Christmas gift I'm giving to everyone on my list! Catholic culinary expert Madeline Scherb traveled the globe to visit monks and nuns in monastaries and abbeys in France, Germany, Belgium and ofcourse the US to track down these delicious recipies. She also offers fascinating histories of the monasteries and advice to those who plan to visit. Even if you're an armchair traveler, you're going to love the hevaenly decsriptions of the places she visits and the people she meets. This is a real treat for foodies and travel buffs! I hope there's a TASTE OF HEAVEN II in the works!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janet Saccardi on May 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A Taste Of Heaven- A Guide To Food And Drink Made By Monks And Nuns" (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin Group- 2009) was a library purchase for the Catholic Studies section of one of the Sisters of Saint Joseph libraries. "A Taste Of Heaven", written by Madeline Scherb is a very good resource, classified as a Food/Cooking/Travel book. It is a fun and joyful book to read. Madeline Scherb divides the book into four sections; monasteries that produce beer, wine, and liqueurs, monasteries that produce cheese, monasteries that produce chocolates and sweets, and monasteries that produce other kinds of foods. Each of these four sections contain descriptions of the monasteries the author visited while she was writing the book, a suggested monastic tour/travel itinerary, and recipes from well known chefs, using the monastic beverages and foods. The beer, wine, and liqueurs section begins by tracing the monastic history of producing these beverages. Anecdotes include the Monk Dom Perignon blending different varieties of grapes to come up with champagne at the Abbey of Hautevillers, in France, Monks who invented wine cellars and vaults, and Monks drinking up to five liters of beer a day because the beer was safer to drink than the local water supply. Madeline Scherb then suggests an Abbey Brew Pub Tour through Belgium, where the finest monastic beers in the world, are made. This monastic beer tour includes Westmalle Abbey, the Achel Abbey, Westvleteren Abbey, Orval Abbey, Our Lady of Saint Remy Abbey, and Our Lady of Scourmont Abbey. The monastic cheese section of "A Taste Of Heaven" begins with a story about the Emperor Charlemagne's love of cheese, and then reviews the history of monastic cheese making. There is a special focus on France, where monastic cheeses are most prevalent.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rev. Aj Vollkommer on October 24, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brother always comes up with wonderful recipes that are always so good and so classic and interesting
as well. These recipes collected from monks and nuns are another hit. They are good, many of them
simple to prepare and are sure to warm your heart on cold winter and fall days. Many of them are hearty
and can be a meal in themselves with some hearty breads and a glass of ale or wine. The recipes are ample
so that you can have soup left over to take to work for lunch the next day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jule from Madison on March 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Your kitchen can't be without this book. Nor should your friends kitchen. An array of delicious receipes with wonderful information about the Monasteries that inspired the receipes. For me, it was delightful to read about the places, persons, and sense of place. My kitchen came alive with the smells! Many times it felt like I was traveling, and cooking, with the monks and nuns in Belgium, France, Germany, and the US. I have shared the tasty meals or desserts with family and friends. I highly recommend the book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christine Prescott on May 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Part travelogue, part guidebook, part cookbook, part history, A Taste of Heaven is a fascinating read. The author writes about her pilgrimage to sample the foods made by monks and nuns in contemplative monasteries.

Each chapter explores one type of food (beer and wine, cheese, sweets and other delectables). There are insights by food experts and profiles of various monastic communities and the foods they make. It was enlightening to read about the abbeys in Amity, Oregon (fudge and truffles) and Lafayette, Oregon (fruitcake) where I have visited (and whose fudge and fruitcake I eat when I can). The author also gives contact information for the communities if you'd like to stay there, where you can buy their foods in the USA, ideas on hikes near the communities and what monastery-made foods to take for a picnic.

After you read this book you will understand more about monks, monastic communities and their lives of prayer. Contemplative monks and nuns live to pray. They work to support their lives of prayer, to be self-sufficient and as a way of using God's creation to share God's love with those who partake of what they make. And you will know much more about monastery-made beer, ale, wine, cheese and fruitcake. Like me, you might go searching for these foods in your local stores.
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