The Mediterranean taste of white fig

Let us leave behind the highway to Salerno, because the landscape here cannot accept iron nor cement. The eye looks at the hills and the Giungano Mountain, which welcomes any traveller losing himself in this slow corner of life: the Cilento.

Ph. Enrico Nocera - Trentaremi

Ph. Enrico Nocera - Trentaremi

Everything here is on a human scale, away from the chaos of the city life. Olive trees and vineyards crowd the countryside, the scent of the Mediterranean vegetation is heady, the sea brings sweet gusts of wind and an always pleasant climate. It’s no surprise that some of the gastronomic excellences of Campania were born here, including the white PDO fig.

Eight thousand fig trees overlook the sea, suspended on a hill close to Agropoli. We are in the company “Il Fico” (The Fig), which with its clear and concise name enchances the goodness of this fruit. The family Ruocco with Paris, Guido and Maurizio, who are the father and the sons, is the hearth and the soul of this wonderful piece of land. They continue the family business, that was born in an olive trees field, respecting the traditions of Cilento.

In harvest period, the hands of the farmers speed through the branches, the baskets are filled with fruits with a green skin and a white, limpid, plump pulp. The aromas are all to be experienced: honey, acacia, summer yellow fruit. The flavors are so many that it’s hard to believe that only one type of product is collected here.

the fruit ready for harvesting | Ph. Enrico Nocera - Trentaremi

the fruit ready for harvesting | Ph. Enrico Nocera - Trentaremi

The fig of Cilento is so sweet that it is good even when dried. In these hot summer months, the whole drying process starts and will bring to the Christmas tables the typical fruits, stuffed with many types of ingredients: walnuts, fennel seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, chocolate pralines.

The drying process is delicate and is performed respecting the ancient traditions of Cilento. Put on wooden racks, the fruit is exposed to the sun for three days with all the peel, until it reaches the right degree of dehydration. Then it is cut in half and stuffed with the selected ingredients. Afterwards, it is baked in the oven at 180 degrees.

wooden racks for dehydration | Ph. Enrico Nocera - Trentaremi

wooden racks for dehydration | Ph. Enrico Nocera - Trentaremi

But the food lover will find even more motives of interest. Another type of recipe has its origins in the kitchens of the Cilento countryside: the fig “munnato”, peeled, steam cooked or used to prepare typical products such as a kind of salami made of figs tied together. Its versatility expresses itself in a thousand other ways, from the production of distillates to molasses for desserts.

«We don’t want to propose an industrial product, always equal to itself and with a standard taste. In the white fig tree you really feel the essence of this fascinating and wild land which is the Cilento».

dried figs | Ph.Enrico Nocera - Trentaremi

dried figs | Ph.Enrico Nocera - Trentaremi

Looking at it from here, this piece of suspended land shows itself with its best dress. One of the highest expressions of the Mediterranean lifestyle, between slowness and natural rhytms, which are a guarantee of longevity.

Enrico Nocera - Taste

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