Swiss guard and former professional cook David Geisser has compiled a cookbook dishing the dirt on the Vatican’s culinary secrets
Until now, the Swiss Guards haven't been known for their skills in cooking, but more for their traditional role of guarding the pope. This has all changed with the publication of Buon Appetito, Swiss Guard. Compiled by former professional cook David Geisser, the book reveals just what goes down well at dinner time in the Vatican.
So is David Geisser the Jamie Oliver of the Vatican? Erm. Kind of, but with weapons and a striped blue, red and gold uniform.
And is all this in the 'course' of his duties? Very funny. Swiss Guard Oberst (aka commander Daniel Anrig) said: “A soldier can only fight and wage war when he has eaten well, and enough.”
What's on the papal menu, then? The soldier from Zurich, who joined the force responsible for the Pope’s safety in February last year, reveals that Pope John Paul II had a soft spot for pierogi, a sort of dumpling from Poland.
And nowadays? Pope Francis favours a simple three-course meal of Argentinian empanadas with pepper salad followed by colita de cuadril (a grilled steak dish) finished off with dulche de leche (a sweet milk pudding).
Any sides with that? The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, gets a mention for his love of potato products while former Pope Benedict XVI is quite partial to würstel salad, a pork dish called schweinsbraten and baked cherries topped with whipped cream.
Serving suggestions, please. The book also includes the prayers that the guards recite before sitting down to eat in their barracks in the Vatican City. You could learn them too, and pretend you're one of the pope's 110 soldiers.
Do say: "Show me the potatoes." The starchy stuff in the form of gnocchi and dumplings are popular in the Vatican, apparently.
Don’t say: "I can't speak German." Buon Appetito won't be available in English until next year.