By Thomas M. Loarie

BOOK REVIEW: The Vatican Cookbook

January 29, 2019
Column: CEO Learnings

What started as a modest effort to recruit has become a Collector’s item; a review of “The Vatican Cookbook: Presented by the Pontifical Swiss Guards.

My good friend, Andreas Widmer, a former Swiss Guard and now Director of the Entrepreneurship program at the Catholic University of America, provided my first behind-the-curtain glimpse of the Vatican’s Swiss Guard in his best-selling book The Pope and The CEO.” The Vatican Cookbook,” by David Geisser, Erwin Niederberger and Thomas Kelly provides another look which is equally as tantalizing.

BOOK REVIEW: The Vatican CookbookAdvertised as “500 Years of Classic Recipes: Papal Tributes and Exclusive Images of Life and Art at the Vatican,” the cookbook gives the reader a short history of the Guard, life in the Guard, its rituals and, of course, favorite Swiss Guard recipes (Risotto al Vino Rosso, Monkfish and Monks’ beard greens). The cookbook also includes numerous favorite recipes of Pope Francis (Argentine Empenadas, Dolce de Leche), Pope Benedict (Suckling Pig, Kirschmichel), Pope St. John Paul the Great (Pierogi, Apple Kuchen) and the Vatican personnel.

There are 58 specialty and holiday recipes in all and another six favorites from in and around Rome (Spaghetti alla Carbonara, Suppli). Basic recipes for risottos, spaetzli, potatoes, doughs and dumplings complete this marvelous book.

I was impressed with the simplicity of the recipes and am motivated to get into the kitchen to try a few myself!

Young men of Switzerland have served in the Swiss Guard for 500 years, since the days of Michelangelo. They are responsible for the safety of the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church and for the security of his residence in Vatican City.  In this fascinating cookbook, we see Vatican City through their eyes – as they stroll through the Vatican Gardens, walk the hallowed halls of St. Peter’s, behold the fine art of ages and meet the officers of the Swiss Guard and leaders of the Holy See.

The book began as modest effort to recruit future guardsmen by promulgating the honor and benefits of the Guard service in the Swiss homeland. It has been in the works for years.

“The Vatican Cookbook” is a visual delight with each page filled with exclusive photos of the Swiss Guard, those they serve and the Vatican which they protect. These photos are the work of Katarzyna Arertymiak, the Vatican photographer.

This is not a book destined for the bookshelf or cupboard. At 9”X 12”, this is a book that will elegantly grace any cocktail table. It is a timeless and will surely become a collector item.



Thomas M. Loarie is the CEO of BryoLogyx, a rotating host of THE MENTORS RADIO SHOW, and a senior editorial advisor and columnist for Catholic Business Journal. He may be reached at

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