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Houses of Benedictine monks: The cathedral priory of Bath
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Moreover, wine is very common in Christian symbolism: in addition to the many references to wine found in the Bible, Jesus changed water into wine during the wedding at Cana and he prays over a glass of wine at the Last Supper. In a parable in the Gospel of John 15 , Jesus said: I am the true vine, and my Father is wine grower. I am the vine. You are the branches.
They went on to develop the Gallo-Roman vineyards spared by the barbarian invasions or to create from scratch the vineyards in the wilderness or higher latitudes England. A number of Catholic saints were associated, either through legends or historical facts, with vineyards at the end of the Roman Empire and early Middle Ages: St. Martin and the vineyards of the Loire Valley his donkey, grazing on vine leaves, may be the originator of short pruning the vines , Saint Germain and vineyards along the Seine in Paris, Saint Remi of the vineyard of Reims, Saint Didier and the vineyards of Quercy.
The monasteries which developed between the 9th and the 13th century consumed a large quantity of wine. It was used for the liturgy but also appeared on the menu of the monastery. While particularly ascetic monasteries prohibited its consumption, wine was generally accepted as a part of the daily diet in the Middle Ages. Wine was also used for the care of the sick and elderly. Desmond Seward counted wine appellations of monastic origin in France alone.
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P ortugal: the banks of the River Douro Porto wine have long been planted with vines and operated by monks. Cheeses - Fruit brandies - Top of page.
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T he first description of beer-making came from a prior of the abbey of St. Gallen in Switzerland on the shores of Lake Constance. It described beer brewed under three categories: the Prima Melior for fathers and distinguished guests, the Seconda for lay brothers, and Tertia, manufactured in large quantities for the pilgrims.
The ale was made originally without hops.
Ale with hops cervesia lupulina appeared for the first time in a charter of the abbey of Saint Denis in It was the Benedictines in Lorraine who introduced hops to beer-making. Monastic breweries were common throughout the medieval northern France: beer was mostly produced in countries where the vine was not able to grow well, to replace wine. But from the 15th century, many monasteries, in competition with craft brewers, abandoned their breweries.
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In the 16th century, only the brewery of the Abbey of St. Lawrence of Dieulouard in Moselle is still known. It disappeared during the French Revolution.
- Medieval source material on the internet: Charters.
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This is not the case in Germany and Belgium where abbey beers resisted industrial competition. The name of the city of Munich, the German capital of the beer, comes from the word monk!
And Saint Arnold, a Flemish abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Oudenburg, is the patron saint of brewers. Legend says that he found that beer drinkers were less sick than others during epidemics. Several commercial breweries that purchased monastic breweries or reproduced beers formerly made by monks have the right to the appellation Abbey beer. The most well-known are Grimbergen, formerly brewed at the Abbey of Grimbergen by Norbertine monks, and Leffe, formerly brewed at the Abbey of Leffe. In Germany, several convents of nuns in Bavaria, still have breweries, specifically: the convent of Mallersdorf near Munich and the convent of Ursberg between Augsburg and Ulm.
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Cheeses - Wines - Top of page. T he principle of distillation was known during Antiquity, but the production of alcohol did not begin until the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages, making elixirs of life or fruit brandies was the responsibility of apothecaries and doctors. Because fruit brandies aqua vitae , as its Latin name suggests, was a drug widely used in Arabo-Persian medicine, and then spread across the Mediterranean. The first to leave a paper trail of the technique of distilling alcohol and fruit brandies in Christian Europe were the Catalan theologian and physician Arnaldus de Villa Nova and a Franciscan monk who later became a cardinal, Vital Dufour.
The latter wrote, circa , a book of medicine that was found in the Vatican library and described the virtues of "burning water" aygardent which would later be called Armagnac. An Italian religious congregation, the Jesuates, also specialized in distilling alcohol, but we are unsure of whether this was for drinking or medicine. They were nicknamed padri dell'acquavita: fathers of eaux de vie.