22 November 2011

That which is unattainable is highly prized.

I want this. This is what I want. Celui-la, j'en ai envie.

Friend of Mondo Fruitcake Glenn called my attention to the fruitcake made by the monks of the Cistercian Abbaye Val de Notre Dame. It looks delicious, and has a really interesting back story that involves (slightly) the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky, where my favorite fruitcake comes from. You can read more of the story of the fruitcake here. It seems they got the idea of selling fruitcakes from the Abbey of Gethsemane and went down there around 1985 to learn more about business operations (but not surprisingly, didn't share their fruitcake recipe).

The article I linked to above is an old article and seems to be referring to another monastery, but Glenn has done his detective work and believes he has figured it out. He explains more below:

Now there isn't a lot of info online but what I was able to gather is that this fruitcake was originally made by the monks of the Cistercian Monastery of Notre Dame in Hockley Heights, which is situated in Orangeville, Ontario, just outside of Toronto. These monks were from the same order of the Oka monastery in Quebec.

About 10 years ago, the Monks at Hockley Heights, due to low vocations, were forced to leave and the monastery was taken over by a Ukranian order of Studite monks. By leaving Hockley Heights, they returned to Val Notre-Dame Abbey at Saint-Jean-de-Matha in Oka, Quebec and took the fruitcake with them. This is now the home of the fruitcake which they now sell on their website.

Intriguing! According to the article there may be green tomatoes in the mix, which blows my mind. Regardless, it's yet another fruitcake to add to the monastery fruitcake "to be reviewed" list -- and there aren't too many left. Other than New Skete in New York, I believe I've tried pretty much all of the monastery fruitcakes in the US.

But here's the kicker. Take a look at the sales conditions:
GAAAAAH!!! So close, yet so far away.  No worries, I will work my connections and see what I can do. But one day--this cake shall be mine.

Thanks very much Glenn for bringing this fruitcake to my attention!


Anonymous said...

That's awesome, Isabelle! Thanks so much for using my research. Hopefully the fruitcake will be yours someday...

P.M. Brandt said...

Hello! The fruitcake made at the Cistercian Monastery of Notre Dame in Hockley Heights, Ontario, was a truly wonderful traditional cake. It really did have a lot of locally grown green tomatoes in the batter, and some also got a good dose of liquor to give it that special flavour.
Once, during a stay at the monastic retreat, I had the pleasure of sneaking (with a permission) into the bakery and seeing the state-of-the-art setup - and many an occasion eating this fabulous cake while at the retreat! The cake was available at selected Toronto venues, one of which was St. Lawrence Market.
The monks were proud of their labour of love, and for a good reason, it was also a good source of income to the monastery.
I particularly liked giving the cakes as presents in tins, decorated with the monastery's logo of a hooded monk. I miss the retreats, the monks and the cakes - but I am hopeful that the fruit cakes available at the new abbey in Quebec will taste just right!