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

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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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.

Review

From Publishers Weekly
The author poses the question in this 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...filled out with suggested itineraries to regional monasteries...and a shopping resource. (Oct.) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee; Original edition (August 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585427187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585427185
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,159,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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"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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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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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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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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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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theme gifts...
This book, a pound of fruitcake from a monastery
with cup and coffee to match...

when one runs out of fruitcake and coffee...
the cup and the recipes linger on through
the year...
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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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