Nun's biscuits

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A sugary story

Swiss biscuits from the 16th century. Photo: Isabela Kassow/Diadorim Ideias
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The Benedictine nuns community occupies the Mosteiro da Virgem (Virgem Monastery) and was founded in Rome, in 1925, by Mother Francisca de Jesus, daughter of the Baron of Rio Negro, who moved to Petropolis in 1937.

Virgem Monastery. Photo: Isabela Kassow/Diadorim Ideias.

The sisters brought from Europe the tradition of cooking briscelets, fine and crunchy biscuits which are also known as "nun's biscuits".

Sister Natividade is the official cook and the eldest in the monastery. At 90 years old, she teaches younger nuns the biscuit recipe which includes wheat flour, milk, sugar, eggs, margarine and lime zest.

Photo: Isabela Kassow/Diadorim Ideias.

"The secret lies in the machine", says sister Ana Maria, one of the four nuns currently responsible for producing the delicacy. The raw dough is placed the famously known Briscelet plate, produced in Switzerland ? country of origin, in the 16th century, of these biscuits.

"We do sell the delicacy, but we also taste it during our intervals. And we never grow tired of it", says sister Ana Maria. The day in the monastery begins at 5:15am with the vigil and ends at 8pm, when the sisters go to sleep. Other biscuit recipes with plum, cornflour, guava as well as chocolate, breads and ceremonial candles are sold.

At the Mosteiro da Virgem, sisters live in semi-open enclosure, meaning they are able to visit doctors and do shopping with previous authorization o que significa que elas podem sair para ir a médicos ou fazer compras, sempre com autorização prévia. There are 20 monks and two apprentices, who, after six years of enclosure, are promoted to novices until becoming monks such as their fellow nuns. They have religious duties such as chanting psalms and gregorian chant which are performed in open masses. The monastery is open to guests for spiritual retreats and can host up to 60 people. 

General Information


Buscuits are sold daily at the store of the monastery.

Address: Ipiranga Avenue, 555 - downtown Petrópolis
Phone: (+55 24) 2242-2286
E-mail address:
Opening hours:

From 8am to 5pm.

Secretaria de Cultura do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Petrobras

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