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Report 1104: Perfect Piemonte and Bella Bologna: A Succulent Journey for the Senses and Soul

By Palma from California, Fall 2006

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Page 6 of 18: The Endless Breakfast, Camogli, and a Candlelit Picnic

photo by Palma

Beach at Camogli

After a shower and coffee, we sat down to one of Diana’s breakfast extravaganzas: freshly squeezed juice, melon and berries, baked halved peaches with sugar and pine nuts, smoked salmon, fresh plump tomatoes with basil, fresh bread, croissants with butter, jams and Crema Jovi. It didn’t stop there. Out came a new favorite: baked puff pastry rounds with a dab of gorgonzola, a slice of salami, and a half fig! Just pop those babies into my mouth, for all my favorite flavors in a burst of sensory heaven! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry out in ecstasy, so I just kept eating them! Ok, we were filled to the brink, but it was the promised omlette morning. What would we like in our fritatta? We groaned with pleasure, took a short break from the food orgy, and let Diana choose for us. She returned with a pancetta, goat cheese and herb omlette with truffle oil on top! As amazing as that was, even more amazing was that we ate it…ALL! By 10 a.m., we rolled out to the car and took off for our daytrip to Camogli.

It took about an hour to reach Genoa, then a few more kilometers along the coast road, and alongside the villas and hotels by the sea in Recco, and into Camogli. We stopped for coffee and a rest room, and then strolled the length of the beach area. At the other end of the beach, we walked through an arch to see the inlet full of fishing boats. This area gave the town a “realness” and gave us an understanding of the local economy. We had images of the fishermen and their families who live here year round, selling their daily catch to restaurants and markets. It is clearly not just a charming little tourist seaside village. I bought a small print of the town, and by 2:30 we thought we might actually be able to eat a scoop or two of gelato. I had read about the great gelato in Camogli on Slow Travel. After scouting out several gelaterias, we were drawn to “La Cremeria del Paradiso”. I had panna cotta con caramel, and crema con biscotti; Brad had chocolate and cinnamon. Yes, this took a top three position with gelato from Castellina and San Gimignano. We headed back to the autostrada at 3:00, and at 4:30 we were in a bar in Acqui Terme for a beer for Brad and cappucino for me.

We wandered through a few shops, and at a tiny jewelry store, I found three more charms for my gold bracelet. We continued down the streets we now knew, when we heard a voice say, “Ciao, ciao” repeatedly. We turned and ran into Diana, who was buying fruits for tomorrow’s breakfast. She directed us to the best cheese shop in town, Centrale Market. There we bought three cheeses, some salami and prosciutto, and flatbread for an al fresco dinner. We made a quick internet stop, and were ready to head back for our picnic.

When we returned to the Baur’s, Diana had set up a lovely dining table for us by the pool. There were placesettings, wine glasses, candles, roses, music, fresh peach salsa, condiments, salt, olive oil, and a bowl of freshly picked figs from her tree. I thought, “I am NEVER going home!”

After dinner, Diana, and Micha joined us for more wine and conversation until bedtime. Max was very sweet and affectionate, and gave me a lot of attention…a turning point in our romance.

Max is a big, sweet puppy. His parents are training him to calm down his enthusiasm around guests, and respond to their commands. We tried to comply with the house rules, but I am a complete sucker for a friendly puppy. Max and I established a ritual of good morning, and goodnight kisses, whenever he was being a “good boy” for his mom and dad. Hence, the line of jokes about Max being my “boyfriend” got started. Apparently, he didn’t kiss “just anyone!”

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