July 27, 2012

A monastic
fairytale

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It is deep within the Bohemian countryside of the Czech Republic in a secret post-communist era monastery that Fresh founders’, Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg, prayers were answered.

Fresh’s iconic Crème Ancienne is the stuff of dreams. In 2001, Lev Glazman discovered an ancient formula for the world’s first emulsion-based cream hidden away in the vaults of the LVMH chemist library. Inspired by a cream developed by Claudius “Galen” Galenus in the 2nd century that was once used to heal gladiators, Glazman set about breathing life into this alchemist’s slumbering recipe. Crème Ancienne was born.

However, one problem remained to be solved. Due to the delicate nature of the cream, it must only be blended by hand. Lev and Alina began their quest to find a means of production. Once again history inspired.  For it was during the Middle Ages that monasteries, that held the role of apothecaries and protectors of knowledge, safeguarded books that were being burned. Thanks to monks from centuries ago, Galen’s recipe survived.

After much searching and perhaps a touch of divine intervention, Crème ancienne found its home within the walls of a young French monastery in the Czech Republic. The same year Lev Glazman could be found foraging through LVMH archives an intimate monastery sprang forth from the abandoned walls of an 18th century Baroque farmhouse in the Czech Republic.

Within the restored white washed walls of this 60,000 square foot complex – complete with church, cloister, refectory, school, dormitory, guesthouse and cemetery – 25 monks lead of life of devotion that has not changed much in 1,000 years. Here protected from the outside world, the silence of the halls is punctuated by reverberating calls to prayer. The monks devote their days to prayer, rest, reading and working and find solace in simplicity.

Trading in white cotton robes for pristine lab coats, eight monks charged with the cream making process devote themselves to the creation of Crème Ancienne. Two days are needed to complete a 12 kilo batch. Perfection is devotion and time is irrelevant.
The miraculous Crème Ancienne finds it source in history and pure simplicity of this spiritual haven.

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