The life of a monk fluctuates between two poles: withdrawing from the world and forming an organized and hard-working community. Nevertheless, supporting the strength of mind, healing men, brightening up everyday life and surviving financially are also essential elements in a monk's life. It is for these reasons that monks (mainly Christian and Buddhist) in the East and in the West have been great inventors of many different beverages.
Some of the most consumed drinks that we know today (coffee, tea, whisky, vodka and Champagne) were invented by eminent monks or hermits, while convents and monasteries produced numerous wines, beers, liquors, elixirs, herbal teas and potions that are renowned across the world.
Just as our pharmacies, cuisine and hedonistic dining owe much to ascetics, we bon-vivants owe a great deal to the monks who live withdrawn from society. Buddhist Bhiksu customs are linked to the discovery of tea, used to help meditation and Yemeni monks discovered coffee while searching for a product with similar benefits.
The quality and variety of wines produced by monks (and the same goes for beers) is astounding, as is the number of different alcohols they invented. We can also thank monks for the invention of many medicines, herbal teas, potions and elixirs, all of which are often delicious and always endowed with wonderful beneficial effects.
- The legend of Bodhidharma (6th century)
and the discovery of tea
- Lu Yu (733-804) the Chinese Sage of tea
- Eisai (1141-1215): customs around tea in Japan
- Sen No Rikyu: tea ceremony
- Tibet: the recipes of the monks
- Beer conquers Northern Europe in the 7th Century via the convents
- Abbey and monastic beers
Wines produced by monks
- Monastic rules, symbolism of wine and vineyards
- The Cistercian vineyards in Burgundy
- The Beaune Services
- Champagnes: Don Pérignon, Don Ruinart...
- The representation of wine and alcohol
in literature and art
- The whisky of Saint Patrick
- Polish monks: importing vodka
- Crete monks: Tsikoudia (raki) and wine
- The Yemeni Copt monks
- Carthusian elixirs
- Benedictine elixirs
- The Maraschino of Croatian monks
- Lemon balm
- Gocce Imperiali and Amaro in Italy
- Elixirs of youth and holy monks
Potions, herbal teas and medicines
- From the «medicine boxes» of healing Ceylan monks, to the modern herbal teas of the abbeys
An academic and writer, has published several essays (Dialogue des arts, Musique et arts visuels - Chagall), novels (La Mutilation - De l'aube à l'ombre) and general works, as well as producing various programs for France-Culture.
He has recently produced: Genres musicaux, 1998 - Guide de la musique, 2005 - Monuments de France, 2003 - Châteaux, 2005 - Les plus beaux sites du monde, 2007 for Larousse.
R&Co works closely with several international photo agencies represented in 150 countries by over 1 000 photographers:
- Eyedea (Explorer, Gamma, Hoa-Qui, Jacana, Keystone, Rapho and Top)
- Rue des Archives