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Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Divine Biscuits from the Cistercian Convent

The Cistercian convent at Buenavista in Breña Alta, La PalmaThe Cistercian convent at Buenavista in Breña Alta, La Palma

The Cistercian convent of the Holy Trinity at Buenavista in Breña Alta is surprisingly new. It was founded in 1946, and it's the only closed order on the island. I was surprised to find out that there are only ten nuns who live there.

The convent has a small shop. I first went there about eleven years ago, in search of a rosary made of dragon-tree seeds, for a Catholic friend who was losing her eyesight. The seeds are big enough that you can feel your way through the prayers, and she was delighted. At the time, the shop was still in the older part of the building, and to my eyes, very exotic. The room was rather dark, and seemed darker because of the wooden paneling. The nun who came to serve me stayed behind a tiny barred window, as though she were in jail - until she saw that I had a toddler with me. Then she disappeared, and came round to my side for a good coochi-coo.
A Cistercian nun in the convent's shop, Breña Alta, La PalmaA nun in the convent shop

The new shop is much airier, as you can see. They still sell rosaries and religious medals, but they're best known for their biscuits, pastries and fruit liquors. Since they're handmade, they're a bit on the expensive side (these were €4.50), but they're delicious. My mother-in-law always used to say, "God knows what they put in them, but they taste divine."

Biscuits from the convent at Buenavista in Breña Alta, La PalmaBiscuits from the convent at Buenavista in Breña Alta, La Palma

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