The flavors of the Hermitage

The flavors of the Hermitage
by Elisabetta Germak

It has been a little over a year that when you enter the Arsenale della Pace, you will find packets of biscuits next to books, T-shirts and CDs. The package shows: Flavors of the Hermitage, biscuits produced at the Arsenale of Harmony. Many buy them, eat them, give them away, but I don't know if anyone has ever wondered: who knows who is behind it, or rather who knows what's behind a biscuit. A good question, to discover interesting things.

As behind everything at Sermig, even behind a simple biscuit there is an "we", a thousand hands of good, friendly and competent people who together become an asset. There is the return of many who put a piece of them so that even a small biscuit can go far and speak of light and hope to those who receive it.
At Sermig, restitution is what leads every action, every project to be born, grow, help many, and this is how this story at the Arsenale dell’Armonia was born.

This dream started a long time ago, when we met families of disabled children who wanted a professional and working opportunity for their children. So we started looking for a suitable place to welcome these young people and in 2004 the space of the ancient Camaldolese hermitage, on the Turin hill, came to meet us. A place abandoned for a long time, which with the help of thousands of young people and volunteers, has been transformed again into a place of life. Transforming ruins into welcoming places of fraternity and peace; we found ourselves once again in this challenge and in this dream.

After the transformation of the walls, we also began to tune the heart to the harmony of this house. We have begun to welcome sick children, who start from afar and carry within them not only homesickness but also the hope of healing and being able to grow. We have thus become a home and a family for all of them. We then started preparing the ground for agriculture, cleaning, sowing, cultivating, planting trees and seeing little by little what was a tiny seed grow, seeing in this really life again being reborn and moving forward. The dream continues with the creation of food processing laboratories where the harvested fruits can be processed, and therefore an ice cream, pastry and bakery laboratory.

The meeting with a very good and well-prepared pastry-baker from Turin allowed us to specialize in the production of sweets, ice cream and biscuits, which we started producing and selling for a year. He made his skills available, and these have now become a concrete fact for many, a product that is growing. There are children with disabilities who have started this occupational and professional path, who are training and are learning a profession and above all they are an integral part of this process, where everyone contributes with their work and their responsibility to a project, where everyone they have something to give.

In our homes it is not the best or the richest who keeps the poorest or the most in difficulty, it is the return of skills and competences that, when shared, become an opportunity for training and growth for others who make them their own and transform them. in turn into concrete products that go far. Many are engaged in the primary processing of these products, others in packaging and distribution; different people who meet, beautiful and difficult situations, joys and sorrows that intertwine and together offer what they have so that others can receive what they need.

I am thinking of children with disabilities, often considered a problem rather than a resource. Valued and trained, they can be protagonists in their work, in their life and in the good that extends to others: little ones who do great things. I think of the many volunteers who take turns in the various services, every day they help us to keep this house alive, a house that wants to continue to be open to meet the dreams and hopes of many, especially young people.

From the beginning there has been a chain of good and generous people who have helped us to make all this possible and concrete. From those who gave us the machinery to equip the laboratories, to those who support us financially, to those who come to give us time and hours of work, to those who make their professionalism available to teach it to others. It seems a simple list, but it was the beginning of the life of the Arsenal of Harmony and still today it is the constant of our days. We would like never to get used to everything that is given to us, knowing that everything we receive is a growing responsibility.

The artisan pastry shop has a line of high quality biscuits and pastries. Furthermore, the value of our products multiplies because they are all made by involving the young disabled people in our project or dedicated to them at the Arsenale dell'Armonia.

If you want to buy or order "Sapori dell’Eremo" products

You can contact us at the Arsenale dell’Armonia, Pecetto:
Cell. 334 6568269 - Tel. 011 8611866

You can contact us at the Arsenale della Pace, Turin:
Tel. 011 4368566 -

or on our online shop.

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