My friend, Rita, gave me a small fig recently. Her brother had shared some with her and she knew that I was grieving the loss of my newly-planted fig tree at the farm. It took just a few bites and it was gone. But they were splendid.
My mind wandered back to other figgy memories. In Sicily a few years ago, Pietro, the owner of the cafe in the village where we were staying, invited Robin and me to his kitchen one morning. We began the day with a lively discussion over a magnificent bowl of sun-ripened figs, bursting with freshness. He claimed we would find none better. One juicy bite and I believed him.
Then there’s this photo, one of my favorites of my grandson. In the picture below, Austin is offering me figs picked from a tree he had planted and nourished into bearing fruit. They were so satisfying that I could have easily offered them as a welcoming snack to guests, as ancient nomads would have centuries ago.
“The Easy, Sexiest Salad in the World”
Well, that’s what Jamie Oliver calls this combinations of figs, burrata cheese, and prosciutto (or Parma ham) with a balsamic reduction. Recipe here. It’s pretty doggone good.
But what is burrata? Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains stracciatella (a buffalo milk cheese) and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. The difference between mozzarella and burrata? They’re basically just different types of Italian semi-soft cheese.
I realized that my favorite fig moments have come as tasteful gifts from family, friends and strangers. The world’s oldest fruit remains a symbol of prosperity, well-being and security—a hope for good times when, as Micah wrote, “everyone will sit under their own vine and fig tree” without fear. No wonder we enjoy sharing the ancient fruit and its message with each other.