Monks to franchise Infidel jam

Polish Benedictine monks are seeking 100 franchise holders for their range of offbeat food products including Infidel jam - named because lemons don't grow in Catholic Poland - and Monk's Dripping.

The Brisbane Times reports that a Benedictine monastery perched on a cliff above the Vistula River at Tyniec in southern Poland is home to a budding business empire.

Fr Zygmunt Galoch is head of the abbey's year-old commercial arm, Benedicite, which has big plans for its range of good food with offbeat labels.

"Our added value is our thousand-year-old tradition," said Galoch.

At present the monks sell dozens of products on their website and through a Polish supermarket chain, but now want to open a hundred franchise outlets by the end of this year.

The franchises "will only stock our products, which are made following the monastery's ancient recipes, with ecological ingredients and no additives," Fr Galoch told reporters.

Benedicite's wares are made either by the monks or by small family businesses located, like the monastery, near the southern Polish city of Krakow, Galoch said.

"The Infidel lemon jam is my personal favorite," said Galoch.

"Why the name? Well, lemons don't grow in Poland. They come from exotic, non-Christian countries," he said.

"The names were dreamed up by marketing specialists to help better sell our products, which often had very simple names," he said.

Also on offer are pear and apple "Angelic" jam; cinnamon, raisin and apricot "Prayer Book" jam; cardamom and plum "Meditation" jam and even "Teutonic Knight" cherries in an alcohol syrup.

Customers lacking a sweet tooth can instead try "Novice Brothers'" pickled mushrooms, or, for those with a taste for it, "Monks' Dripping," which mixes pork fat, garlic and herbs.

The monks' current range, which they plan to expand to 300 products, also includes herbal teas, honey, picnic baskets, wooden beer jugs and liturgical music CDs.

Benedicite also sells the wares of the Polish monks' foreign brethren, including Pinot Noir and Riesling wine from the abbey of Pannonhalma in Hungary.

Polish monks build business empire (Brisbane Times, 24/5/07)

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24 May 2007