Exploring Artisanal Italian Figs with Sweet, Sun-Dried Fichi di Cosenza PDO

"Between the months of August and October, figs are skillfully harvested and processed by hand – a crucial factor in the quality of the product."

A cornerstone of Calabrian cuisine, Fichi di Cosenza PDO are one of Southern Italy’s most abundant and celebrated culinary delights.

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Grown on the rolling hills of Cosenza in Calabria, Fichi di Cosenza PDO are sweet, artisanal dried figs that are processed by hand under the Calabrian sun.

An age-old Italian treat

As early as the Roman era, the cultivation of figs has long been one of the most important and active means of trade in the Southern region of Calabria. They are made only from the domestic Dottato fig variety, which appear light green in colour and adopt a pale yellow shade once dried. Fichi di Cosenza PDO are especially popular during Christmas and March, for the Feast of St. Joseph, when Italian tables are filled with a variety of dried fig dishes and desserts. According to legend, St. Joseph’s Day commemorates the patron saint for having ended the famine in Sicily with a special feast.

Check out 10 Delicious Reasons to Cook like a Calabrian.

Hand harvested and sun-dried

Located between the mountainous areas of Pollino National Park and the Sila plateau, the production zone for Fichi di Cosenza PDO is a small area, approximately one-third of the province, that boasts a unique and ideal microclimate characterized by mild weather and moderate wind during the summer. Between the months of August and October, figs are skillfully harvested and processed by hand – a crucial factor in the quality of the product. Once picked, they begin a natural drying process under direct sunglight or protected within greenhouses for a period of roughly three to seven days.

Sweet, honeyed flavour – and healthy

 Sweet and aromatic, the amber flesh of Fichi di Consenza PDO tastes delicious enough to be considered a dessert; yet, their abundant health benefits prove otherwise. Concentrated in minerals – mainly calcium and iron – as well as carbohydrates, Fichi di Cosenza PDO are a tasty, energy-packed snack.

Fichi di Cosenza PDO are also enjoyed in a variety of ways: dried and natural; filled with nuts, candied fruits and cream; or coated in chocolate, to name a few. They are also baked into popular local sweets, such as pitta ‘mpigliata (a Calabrian christmas cake), petrali (a half-moon shaped biscuit stuffed with the dried figs, nuts and orange peel zest) and Salame di Fichi (fig salami flavoured with rum, candied fruits, nuts and dark chocolate). For a traditional Calabrian delicacy, try Pallone di fichi (ball of figs) made using dried Cosenza figs baked into a sphere shape and wrapped in fig leaves.

 

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