Manjares celestiales

(La columna de este domingo en La Capital)Los hindúes veneran, entre otros, a Indra, dios guerrero que se embriagaba con soma, una bebida compartida sólo por los sacerdotes vedas y que le daba fuerza para el combate. Los antiguos griegos tenían a su Dionisio, dios del vino y del hidromiel, que era preparado con agua de lluvia. Pero aunque tenemos un sólo Dios, y quizás para compensar, somos los católicos los que hemos inventado más bebidas.

Fue, por ejemplo, en 1521 que los benedictinos inventaron el exquisito licor de hierbas, mientras que en los monasterios escoceses se inventaba el whisky. Hay alguna que otra controversia acerca del origen del cognac, pero es probable que los monjes franceses hayan tenido algo que ver también.

De lo que no hay dudas es de la incontable cantidad de productos lácteos y embutidos que han sido creados y producidos por siglos en los prolíficos monasterios cristianos. Nuestra larga y (en más de un sentido) rica tradición abarca tanto la creación de las catedrales y las celestiales melodías gregorianas, como muchos de los manjares que presentan las mesas contemporáneas.

A un Paso del Cielo es una firma gallega que se dio cuenta de esto, y decidió vender exclusivamente productos alimenticios elaborados en los monasterios y conventos europeos. En esta tienda es posible encontrar mazapanes de Toledo, tomates secos de Mallorca, gelatina de flores de azahar de Sevilla y pastas y galletas hechas por las monjas de Santa Hildegarda, en Alemania.

Algunos miles de kilómetros más cerca la historia no es tan diferente. Cualquiera que haya visitado Victoria (¿quién no lo ha hecho?), habrá sin duda conocido la Abadía del Niño Dios, y hasta es posible que haya salido con alguna botella entre las estampitas.

Tiempo atrás un religioso de una orden de educadores me consultó acerca de las actividades de producción de alimentos de su congregación y cómo aumentar sus ingresos. Recuerdo que mientras me detallaba las bondades del dulce de leche con chocolate, entre otras delicias que producían, no sólo se me hacía agua la boca sino que pensaba en el brillante modelo de negocio que tenían y que explotaban sólo tímidamente.

Por ejemplo, típicamente los productos de monasterios u órdenes religiosas son artesanales y en muchos casos orgánicos, ideales para aprovechar una tendencia creciente en la demanda de alimentos naturales.

La estética y la imagen de esos productos, aunque sencilla, está perfectamente alineada con lo que pretenden transmitir. El mensaje es unívoco y claro. Finalmente, el valor intangible es innegable. No es lo mismo comprar un licor (basado en una receta ancestral) en un rincón de un monasterio de más de un siglo, que hacerlo en un local vidriado.

Nunca le dije al Hermano todo lo que se me había ocurrido para mejorar el negocio. Me dio pudor y, a decir verdad, temía sonar demasiado materialista. Quizás me equivoqué. Después de todo, alguien dijo que nada de lo terrenal es profano, sino que todo es sagrado. Y eso incluye a la economía, ¿no?

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