Sunday, August 29, 2010

Brunch at the Mosteiro de São Bento (Monastery of St. Benedict)

Every day, around 4:30 pm, the Mosteiro de São Bento (Monastery of St. Benedict), in the center, is wrapped in a sweet aroma. The smell is coming from the ovens of the bakery, located on the lower floor of the building where the monks prepare their traditional breads, cakes and desserts. A mixture of honey, almonds, chocolate, cinnamon, apple and brown sugar, invades rooms, music rooms and cafeteria. From this Sunday (August 29th), this celestial moment can be enjoyed not only by the smell, but by the all five senses. Delicacies prepared by the monks will be served at a brunch in the historic building. Created in 2007, the event, which had no defined periodicity, eventually vanished from the calendar of activities of the Benedictines. It now returns, scheduled to occur on the last Sunday of each month, accompanied by the exhibition and sale of works of religious art and by live classical music.

In this first edition, the menu will include marinated salmon accompanied by sour cream, guacamole and crostinis, heart of palm with roasted herb butter; terrine of eggplant, sun dried tomatoes and mascarpone, and egg terrine with roe capelin. There will also be pastas, breads, cheeses, salads and a large table of sweets. The brunch goes for R$ 99, with a glass of sparkling wine. During the banquet, guests can purchase or just enjoy religious works of art exhibited in the hall - among them, baroque sculptures of the seventeenth century. The brunch begins at midday after the 10 o'clock mass, where the monks sing Gregorian chants accompanied by an organ.

The ceremony takes place in the monastery church, called Nossa Senhora da Assunção (Our Lady of the Assumption), although many mistakenly refer to it as the Mosteiro de São Bento (Monastery of St. Benedict). The order was established in São Paulo in 1598, when there was only the Jesuits and Carmelites in the same place where it is today. Of the original construction there's nothing left, because after decades of neglect it was important to perform a series of reforms. In the late nineteenth century, after Emperor Dom Pedro II prohibit ecclesiastical orders to received new novices, the monastery had a single resident monk, and the space was invaded by poor families, deteriorating. Benedictines sent from Germany arrived in the city to recover the premises, and the building, as we know, was completed in 1914. From time immemorial, a rare copy of a Bible of 1496 has been preserved as the library's treasure that only the monks have access.

When: Every last Sunday of the month, at midday
Where: Mosteiro de São Bento, Largo São Bento, -  Sao Paulo
How much: R$ 99
Phone: 2440-7837

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