Château Mathias

Château Mathias
Château Mathias

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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Of coffee, monks, and monkeys

Welcome to our blog! Here you can share with us the day-to-day joys of life at Château Mathias. We'll also share with you the exciting places to visit and things to do in the region.

We and our guests love to start our day with a cappuccino, so for our first blog post we have invited a good friend, Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber, to guest blog for us about the fascinating story behind the word "cappuccino". 

Surprising though it may be, your foamy cup of coffee has something to do with an order of monks. In the 1520s, a reformed order of Franciscans adopted a pointed hood as part of their habit (in Italian, a cappuccio, derived from the same Latin word, cappa, as our words "cap" and "cape").
Capuchin Friars Minor
They therefore came to be known as cappuccino (in English, "Capuchin") monks. This word was then applied in Italian to a dark brown colour like that of the Capuchins' habits, and thence to the drink of coffee mixed with milk which is the same colour. 

Coffee isn't the only thing that owes its name to these monks. When Spanish explorers first encountered these monkeys in South America,

Capuchin monkey
they saw a resemblance with the cowled monks and therefore called them "Capuchin monkeys". (In case you're wondering, there may be an etymological connection between "monk" and "monkey" but this is far from clear.) 

The spelling of "cappuccino" is a trap for the unwary. Don't forget there are two p's and two c's. The plural in English is "cappuccinos".

If you would like to enjoy a cappuccino and a restful stay in the beautiful surroundings of Chateau Mathias, please check out our website:

If you are interested in the English language, please visit Katherine Barber's blog at 

If you love ballet, please check out Katherine's ballet trips at 

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