Sunday, September 2, 2007

Camogliesi in Camogli

Charming Town

Charming People

'Knock-you-flat-on your-back' desserts!
Camogli, Italy

East of Genoa is the small happy town of Camogli. Here the streets are lined with shops, the beaches are filled with sun-worshipers, and the buildings are as colorful as their people. In most large cities you are taught not to look strangers in the eyes, keep to yourself, and watch your stuff. But in Camogli I was greeted with a smile and a "Buona sera!" everywhere I went. Even at the beach a friendly local woman we were next to introduced herself and told us about her family and asked about ours and where we were from. It was the type of conversation that makes you feel good, like you have connected with the world around you and that you are no longer just witnesses to it.
For lunch we stopped at a small shop and ordered some pizza and a local dessert called Camogliesi ah Rhum. The very nice sales girl helped me to pronounce it properly and told me it was a Camogli specialty. The dessert is a round ball of pastry covered in chocolate and powdered sugar with a chocolate rum creme center. Back home in the states, I make a dessert called a Rum Ball. Basically it is the same kind of thing that this store makes except for one major difference. In my Rum Balls you add just a touch of rum to add a little flavor. In a Camogli Camogliesi ah Rhum you add just enough pastry and chocolate to make the rum solid. It's a very good desert, but a little strong for my taste. If you like pastries with a lot of kick then I highly recommend it. I went back and asked the sales girl just how much alcohol was in it and she told me the dessert was 70% alcohol. Again, a little strong for my taste but it was definitely worth the try.
By mid-afternoon I was very hot and feeling a little out of place in my blue jeans and my grey t-shirt, so I stopped in at a store that was no larger than a small bedroom and bought a bright blue linen button-up and a new pair of linen shorts. Now I was starting to feel like I fit in. The sales clerk here was an older gentleman and did not speak a word of English. He too was very friendly and polite and even gave me a 20% discount when I asked for one. We left Camogli a few hours later but plan to return to this jewel of a town as soon as we can.

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