See these funny-looking dried figs?
My dad and I found them in a little Middle Eastern shop in Victoria. They were sitting in a giant basket right by the door. We peered down at them, curious.
Dad brought me up eating dried figs and dates, but we had never seen any quite like this. They were pale blonde and I was fascinated to see that each one was split into a Y, baring its little seeds to the world.
Usually, I like dried figs that are soft and pliable. These looked tough and crunchy . . . but also kind of intriguing.
The owner saw us looking at them and said we should try one. We took one to share, but he insisted we each had to eat our own because "they are too good to share."
As we were chewing – these figs are chewy, but all that chewing leads to a kind of sweet tenderness – he told us that they were very special figs because they only grow in the desert in Iran.
We were hooked. Dad found a plastic bag and filled it to the top. The owner told us we could also soak them overnight in milk and have them for breakfast.
Despite their funny looks, these are not cheap little figs. The owner told Dad that he gave him a $2 discount so he wouldn't have a heart attack over the price.
Still, they were worth it. We treated them like jewels, with a limit of three at a time. We did try them one morning soaked in milk and they were softer and gave the milk a nice fig flavour . . . but we agreed we like them best in their chewy, dried-out state.
What kind of fig is this, you may ask?
I wish I knew. I scoured the Interweb, but to no avail. However, I can tell you is that the Iranian word for fig is "anjeer." Maybe I'll have to go on a fact-finding mission to the Iranian desert to get the exact name of this particular fig? I wonder what else grows there.
P.S. If you live in Victoria, the shop's name is Mediterranean / Middle Eastern Deli and it's on Pandora Street.
one year ago: grilled chicken sandwiches
two years ago: 8 hours in san francisco and sour cream coffee cake
three years ago: swedish tea cookies