7 settembre 2012

At a Grocery's


Yesterday morning I was at a Grocery's named “Droghe e Coloniali” (“Drugs and colonial items”, a name identifying an ancient shop where imported items such as spices and exotic herbs were to be found side by side with traditional grocery items). I don't know if there's something similar in all port-cities; here you can find all kinds of spices both whole and ground, coffees from around the world even roasted on the spot, creamy shaving foam sold by weight; detergents for terracotta, slate, parquet and any other delicate surface that comes to mind; teas for all tastes; natural sponges; Eritrea scented paper to burn; freshly baked "pandolci bassi" (genoese Christmas cakes with candied fruits)  even out of season; enormous bags filled with chick peas, millet, oats, lentils and any other grains; packs of "beschèutti du Lagàssu" (Lagaccio healthy cookies for breakfast); natural wax candles, hair and shaving brushes of olive wood; cinnamon and licorice logs; handmade Valobra soaps; candies of every kind: Valda mint drops, eucalyptus candies, licorice Sukaj, sucre fondant, fruit jellies and who knows what else hidden behind the counter ... 

I don't know if you recognize this type of store, and especially the smell that's in it. A mixture of all these items, plus a hint of damp  and greaseproof paper ready to be used for packing goods. I understand that for someone this could be an unpleasant smell of old stuff, but I love it. It speaks to me of childhood, when I used to spent my holidays in the countryside with my grandma, and the few stores where we went to shop for daily needs had all that very same smell. In the historic center of my city there are still few shops of this kind; but this morning I was in Marassi, out of the center. I've enjoyed the visit with every fiber of my being: I took deep breaths of that wonderful smell that sooner or later will disappear, and for its wealth of infinite shades (depending from the season and the availability of new "drugs") can never be completely rebuilt.

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