Fig + Chocolate

Perhaps you remember the fig ice cream I wrote about earlier in the fall. Wanting to bolster the spirit of my fresh figs — the last of the season — I set out to buy dried figs, only to be told that my organic shop was all out, and still waiting for the new crop to be delivered. Aha! This made complete sense — fresh figs need a little time to dry, yes? — but the seasonality of dried fruits wasn’t a matter I’d ever given much thought to.

Not a fortnight later, waiting in line at the little stand at the Batignolles market where I buy my walnuts and such, I caught sight of a cardboard sign that read, “Figues séchées, nouvelle récolte!” Next to it was a box of baglama figs* from Turkey, wreathed together by a crude string that looped and looped around their tips.

Dried, yes, undoubtedly, but still soft, plump, and holding their pouch-like shape: a far cry from the shrivelled pucks one ordinarily comes across. These were the most glowing dried figs I’d ever seen, and I didn’t need the tasting sample that was kindly offered to know I would not go home without a fig garland.

Just like the Burgundy prunes I hold so dear, these figs are too good to cook with: they are best savored on their own, torn open with your fingers to expose the flesh and seeds**, or, and this is my current collation obsession, with a square or two of Montezuma’s chili chocolate, brought back from London.

So simple, yet so superb a pairing. The muscular sweetness of the fig, the bitter edge of the chocolate, the soft but persistent heat of the chili, the conjunction of leathery, grainy, solid and smooth — what more could one wish for?

* Although the lady told me it was the variety of fig, the term baglama seems to refer to the drying method instead — bağlama means amongst other things “tying,” or “knot” in Turkish (perhaps someone who speaks the language can confirm or infirm). It is also the name of a remarkably fig-like string instrument.

** Botanically speaking, I’m told, these seeds are in fact the real fruits, held prisoner in that fleshy pouch we call “fig.” Let us not go into how many fruit servings this translates to.

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  • andrea-michelle

    What a wonderful pairing! You’re right, figs are a ‘multiple fruit.’

    I take dried figs and raw almonds and blend in a food processor to form a yummy paste — my personal panacea!

  • Well, I was told at one store that dried, shredded coconut was ‘seasonal’ too.
    That was a new one on me.

    Who knew dried coconut had a season?

  • flo

    quelle bonne idée cette association, tu ne poucvais pas mieux me parler, j’adore les figues, et le chocolat…j’en ai plein la bouche, là, tout de suite;-)

  • Jessica


    Have you tried the fig-caramel dark chocolate by Lindt? I hope you can find a bar- living in Zurich will expose you to many, many different bars of chocolate. :)


  • What a unique pairing! It sounds absolutely to die for :).

  • JEP

    I have drooling all thru this post. I would love to try these along with chocolate, of course!

  • Yes, the verb “baglamak” means “to tie” so baglam more or less means “tying”. I had never heard of that drying method but I can tell you that Turkish figs are among the best!!

  • Your figs are beautiful. I love the idea of the spicy chocolate too. I’ll bet it would be great chopped up into cookies. We should make fig and chili chocolate chip cookies!

  • Marcia

    I love figs, fresh or dried. I can find fresh figs in the late summer and early fall in several markets. When they are BIGIF (buy one get one free) I try different kinds. Sometimes I see dried “baby figs” ; they are just 1-2 bites but very delicious.

    I love dried figs with cream cheese inside. Same with dates–open them, put a daub of cream cheese, and press the halves together. They are nice on an appetizer tray for parties.

    Of course, everything goes better with chocolate. I read about that luscious sounding chocolate and will have to look for some.

  • Fig and dark chocolate – what a wonderful sounding combination.

  • Une très jolie idée d’association!

  • What a wonderful combination!

  • Yes, baglama means “tied (thing)”. It is one of the 9 ways how dried figs maybe sold in Turkey. With chocolate is great, but do try them also stuffed with whole hazelnuts and/or walnuts.

  • Clotilde, I wonder if you could also find these baglama figs in the Turkish shops on rue du Faubourg Saint Denis? The figs remind me of those lute-like instruments, the saz, in the windows of the music stores. Think they call the area ‘little Istanbul’ it’s full of cafes with hookah smokers and a small mosque tucked into a courtyard.

  • Just as with figs, Clotilde, the seeds on the outsides of strawberries are actually the fruit. Weird, isn’t it?

  • Lovely! I would add a slice of cheese for a light dessert.

  • I don’t believe I’ve had a proper fig tasting yet. I tried them as a child and hated them but it’s about time I try them again. Your love of figs has inspired me.

  • Normally I like to eat dried figs by themselves, however, a friend once fed me dates with cheese and then chocolate with port on a rainy afternoon so it’s not hard for me to imagine how good this pairing of figs and chocolate is.

  • Hmmm . . . you’ve inspired me to give these a try. Although I still get a pang of “waah” when I look out on the bare branches of our fig tree–beautiful as they may be.

    Merry Christmas!

  • jenn

    dried figs and roasted cashews are also delish. i’ve been roasting them in some olive oil and honey with a sprinkling of salt. next time i’m going to try injecting them with reisling syrup. in the states, you can get lovely organic dried figs at trader joe’s.

  • sharon

    Yum! Chocolate and figs! I like fresh figs barbecued. Maybe I should try sticking a piece of dark
    chocolate in one and see what happens.

  • Annie

    C’est vraiment injuste de savoir qu’il n’y a qu’en Europe qu’on retrouve de si bonnes choses. Malheureusement ici au Québec on commence tout juste à s’ouvrir aux choses séchées naturellement (sans sulfites). Et je ne parle même pas de la fraîcheur de certains produits.

    Mais bon, c’est effectivement une superbe idée d’association que la figue fraiche et le chocolat.


  • Reggie

    Have been having a winter of figs on Ocracoke Island, NC, where figs seem to be a big deal. But the best new chocolate bars were brought for Christmas here by my old Dutch exchange student, now living and working in DC. Lindt 70% chocolate and chili and pomegranite, mango or cherry. Have gone crazy looking for them in USA, but he reports they came from a friend back from Switzerland. No mention by lindt of them anywhere, though they are touting a dark chocolate fig caramel bar now. Anyone in Zurich seen these others. Wow, the sweet/sour fruit with the chili was chocolate from another world. Looking forward to wider distribution by Lindt.

  • Melanie

    Fig and dark chocolate what a perfect combination, I must try this.
    @Reggie – a dark chocolate fig caramel bar from Lindt sounds fantastic! I was recently bought a one of their chocolate hampers and am now addicted to the recipe bars!

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