The hidden patisserie in the Cilento Mountains making surprising macarons

May 31 2024, 16:45
You’d expect someone like Giuseppe Manilia to be found in one of the great patisseries of Paris. Instead, his patisserie is located in a small town in the Salerno area, near the border with Basilicata, a place where you’re unlikely to stumble upon by chance

Montesano sulla Marcellana, with a population of 6,400, is the easternmost town in Campania, situated in the Lucanian Apennines, on the Maddalena mountain range. It’s a large municipality, as is common in this area, with territory spanning valleys, mountains, and plateaus. In the valley area, which borders the Vallo di Diano, lies the Montesano Scalo district, which has been home to a great pastry chef's establishment for over fifteen years. You’d expect someone like Giuseppe Manilia to be in one of the grand patisseries of Paris, but his atelier, as it should be called, is in a small town in Cilento, where you wouldn’t happen upon it by chance.

Who is Giuseppe Manilia?

Reserved and modest, Giuseppe Manilia is a master pastry chef and a member of Apei, the Ambassadors of Italian Pastry Excellence. A self-taught pastry chef of undeniable talent, he has won numerous industry competitions and has been awarded the prestigious Tre Torte rating since the first edition (2012) of the Gambero Rosso's Pasticcerie d’Italia guide. A rigorous professional, he learned the craft day by day, driven by passion and a desire for continual improvement. Deeply connected to Cilento and the Vallo di Diano, his homeland, he intelligently bet on creating a major entrepreneurial project in a corner of Campania far from traditional tourist routes. The results have proven him right. He is also a perfectionist: each new creation is the result of long study and months of meticulous testing and tasting before it reaches the sales counter.

Maison Giuseppe Manilia

Initially, the sign read L’Orchidea—an homage to the botanical richness of the Cilento, Vallo di Diano, and Alburni National Park, particularly its orchids. About a decade ago, it was renamed Maison Giuseppe Manilia. Located a few kilometres from the Padula – Buonabitacolo exit of the A3 motorway, it’s a sweet boutique where every detail is crafted to perfection. The furnishings, meticulously curated, are inspired by French elegance, but the true stars are the creations: modern, elegant in form, and sophisticated in taste. Only a few are displayed at a time, as éclairs, tartlets, and meringues are made to order to preserve their flavours and textures.

Visitors to Maison Manilia in Montesano are welcomed by Giuseppe and his wife Rosita Costa (who has always supported him, including in charity work and training in memory of their beloved daughter Rosemary). By appointment, guests can enjoy an exclusive dessert tasting experience. The house speciality is definitely the macarons, whose deliciousness attracts fans from far and wide. Must-try flavours include 72% dark chocolate and candied mandarin, rose extract and raspberry, basil and citrus. The desserts, displayed like jewels in temperature-controlled cases, are inspired by high-end French patisserie but also feature local flavours, creating distinctive and memorable treats. Manilia is a pastry chef of great discipline: his attention to detail, constant study, and research yield excellent results in both taste and aesthetics. This is evident in his signature cakes, where originality meets balance. Even the breakfast pastries are an experience, with fragrant croissants, millefeuille, and éclairs. The Santa Rosa sfogliatella is a particular pride, with perfect layers of pastry filled with delicious ricotta cream, orange jelly, custard, and sour cherry jelly.

Maison Giuseppe Manilia – frazione Scalo – via C. Battisti, 24 - Montesano sulla Marcellana (SA)

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