Giving A Fig
Another day, another festival. That’s one of the things we love the most about France, there’s always a party somewhere, and we’re always invited. In this case, it was the fig festival in the old medieval town of Vézénobres, a beautiful showcase for one of my favorite fruits.
There were figs in forms I’d never before imagined.
These beautiful little candies in the shape of figs looked too beautiful to eat, and at 1 Euro per piece, you can join me in imagining how good they must have tasted, because we’ll never know.
Ditto, or idem, as you say in French, for these utterly gorgeous tarts. The fact that I wasn’t even tempted to buy these ultra-attractive treats must mean that I wasn’t actually there for the figs. As it turned out, what I really wanted was
to see artisans selling their wares,
some of which looked a lot better than they tasted. Really, I bought a cookie here because the cookies looked like they might have come from a much earlier time and the guy looked like he needed a customer. The dry mouthful made me think that the “earlier time” might have been a baking date several days prior to the festival, as opposed to the ancient recipe I’d imagined, but I didn’t…..care. You were waiting for me to say that I didn’t give a fig, right? The thing is, we were there because people did give a fig, even if it wasn’t about figs per se.
They cared enough to get dressed up
even though our friend Alain, always impeccably turned out, looks like he might have a touch of robe envy.
They cared enough to dance and make music in the streets.
And yes, some of it was really and truly about the figs. But in general I think the day was about the French love of color and pageantry and dressing up and getting together to have a great time in a beautiful setting, and whenever possible, making something to eat or drink be the star attraction. It’s pretty hard to argue with that as a lifestyle.
Coming from a Puritan land, as we do, we’ve had to get over the feeling that we ought to be doing something productive, or meaningful, whatever that means. But I’m here to say that we’re pretty nearly over it now, and we can hardly think of a nicer way to spend the day than traipsing around an ancient place with friends and friendly strangers, all of us in the mood to celebrate. Something. Anything.
And in case there aren’t enough fig recipes in your life, here’s one of my all-time favorite things to make with dried figs Fig and Walnut Tapenade with Goat Cheese. Getting a little dressed up when you serve it doesn’t hurt either.