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Naples goes gourmet

May 2, 2008 |  6:00 am

Dscn0949 Naples, the tony waterfront neighborhood in Long Beach, has never been known as a gourmet hangout. Folks who live there seem to be less interested in salumi than sailboats (the ones at their backyard docks). But that may be changing. There are a couple of good restaurants on the island now and a pretty good kitchenware store. Most recently, and surprisingly, there’s Naples Gourmet Grocer. Tucked in the corner of a strip mall, it is stuffed full of unexpected treasures.

Start with Fra’ Mani salumi, including the salametto and sopressata, and even Paul Bertolli’s fresh Italian sausages, which are much harder to find. There are three hams: silky La Quercia prosciutto from Iowa as well as prosciutto from Parma and 20-month-aged jamon serrano from Spain. There’s also chorizo bilbao from La Espanola, guanciale from Niman Ranch and ventreche and andouille from D’Artagnan. Cheeses include a nice run of Cowgirl Creamery and a couple of very good choices from Cypress Grove, including the new Truffle Tremor, a creamy goat with a subtle undertone of white truffles. Breads and pastries are from Bread Bar. Ice creams are from Ciao Bella and Dr. Bob. Packaged goods include oils from La Tourangelle, caramels and marshmallows from Little Flower Candy Co., jams from June Taylor and pickles from Rick’s Picks.

All that wonderful food and great picnic spots not five minutes away -- it looks like Naples may be changing.

Naples Gourmet Grocer, 5650 E. 2nd St., Long Beach. (562) 439-6518.

-- Russ Parsons

Photo by Russ Parsons