monastero santa rosa
Courtesy of Monastero Santa Rosa

On the Amalfi Coast: Celebrate the Seasonal Reopening of the Monastero Santa Rosa With a New Pasta Dish

By
Chef Christoph Bob has created a delicious new menu item for this historic hotel’s Ristorante del Refettorio
monastero santa rosa
Courtesy of Monastero Santa Rosa

Off the Amalfi Coasts sits the majestic Monastero Santa Rosa. 

Between Positano and Amalfi, perched on the edge of a cliff between sky and sea, sits the majestic Monastero Santa Rosa, a seventeenth-century monastery transformed into one of the Gulf of Salerno’s most exclusive twenty-first-century hotels. If you can tear yourself away from the staggering beauty of the view, you’ll find yourself in terraced gardens that culminate in an infinity-edged pool with yet another panoramic view of the sea. With just 20 rooms, the hotel nonetheless houses a complete spa with treatment rooms, sauna, steam room, a hydro pool and “experience shower” as well as a tepidarium. The hotel just opened for its fifth season on April 14 and will welcome guests until November.

Monastero Santa Rosa was indeed once a monastery. It was brought to life by a descendent of a local noble family, Sister Rosa Pandolfi. It was she who renovated the chapel and built the monastery as a convent, which opened in 1681. The sisters of Santa Rosa contributed much to the local community. But they are best remembered for their exquisitely baked desserts. Their sfogliatelle became known as a “Santa Rosa.” Sfogliatelle are a shell-shaped, cream-filled pastry whose name means “small, thin leaf or layer” — the pastry’s texture looks like a stack of leaves. Now, guests at the hotel’s Ristorante del Refettorio will find sfogliatelle Santa Rosa with almond ricotta and cherry sorbet.

The monastery first became a hotel in 1924. But its most recent incarnation is the work of one woman. Bianca Sharma first spied the hotel when she was visiting friends on the Amalfi Coast. She bought the place in 2000 and planned on opening her super luxury hostelry in 2002. The date slipped by as she lavished attention on the space, creating a hotel in which she slept in every room. Working with a team of local architects and artisans as well the historical authorities, Sharma wasn’t able to finally open the hotel until 2012. Her first guests: Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco.

Sfogliatelle are not the only culinary discoveries to be made at Monastero Santa Rosa. Named executive chef in 2013, Christoph Bob is German-born, but he has worked in some of the finest Italian kitchens. His earlier training included stints with Alain Ducasse at his three-star restaurant in Paris’ Plaza Athenée and at Taillevent, also a three-star kitchen in Paris. His Amalfi-born wife drew him to the area, about which he says: “Nowhere on earth does the sun and the soil give us such richness of flavors as with the fresh produce, herbs, and seafood found right here on our Coast.” The chef’s Mediterranean menu focuses on the sea. His specialties include lobster with chickpea puree, king prawn ravioli, and fusilli with baby squid, all featuring herbs and vegetables from the hotel’s on-site garden. But perhaps the chef’s most enduring culinary gift was the creation of an entirely new pasta.

Working with Pastificio dei Campi Gragnano, arguably Italy’s finest producer of pasta, Chef Bob incorporated a pasta that was actually designed by Mauro Olivieri, an architect who created it in 2011 to much acclaim. Called “Campotti”, the name combines Campi (its maker) and “Otto” which means eight in Italian. The pasta is a figure eight shape with a larger bottom and smaller top. The pasta is lauded for bringing “a new sensation to the palate, a better grip with the sauce” according to the Pastificio. The chef shared his recipe for Campotti with The Daily Meal. And Pastificio dei Campi Gragano is exporting the pasta to the US and Canada. (You can find out more from Italian Food Excellence.)

Related

Meals at Monastero Santa Rosa begin with breakfast on a silver tray and proceed to lunch alfresco on the pergola-shaded dining terrace. At night the Ristorante’s spectacular views vie only with Chef’s Bob’s cuisine for attention. Monastero Santa Rosa provides a travel experience that’s unparalleled on one of the world’s most magical coasts.