Thursday, October 23, 2014
Forget Limoncello in your freezer, Hello Black Fig Vodka by Philip S. Kampe
Growing up in New Orleans has made me a lifelong fan of figs. My parents had several fig trees in the backyard and my task as the only child, was to pick the figs early in the morning, before someone else did.. The reason I picked the figs early was simple, if I didn't the blackbirds would.
Figs ooze a little syrup early in the morning. The fig syrup is a magnet for hungry blackbirds, who survey the neighborhood for fig trees.
Since those early years of my life, figs have played an important role. When I traveled Europe for several years in a VW camper, part of the trip was traveling to the southern parts of Europe and Turkey to find figs. Some were fresh, many were dried. I remember the south of Italy, Sicily, Spain, Yugoslavia (at the time) and Turkey were fig meccas for me. Dried figs last a lot longer than fresh figs. My preference changed through the years for dried figs.
Upon returning to America, I opened several nut and candy shops--akways carrying dried figs in bulk. There were Turkish figs and California figs. Both sold well.
Today, at wine tasting events, dried figs exist, usually as part of a cheese plate.
My wife's family is from the Isle of Capri. I took a fancy to Limoncello during a visit twenty years ago and have been stocking my freezer with Limoncello ever since. Capri and Sorrento are famous for Limoncello. The reason is that the lemons are football size and taste like no other lemons in the world.
At a recent trade tasting, a gentleman from the Boston area was pouring Fig Vodka next to a guy pouring Limoncello.
I chose to try the Fig Vodka instead of the Limoncello, since it was a new product for me. The fig vodka was aptly named 'Black Fig' vodka. As the glass approached my lips, the aromatics of the figs took over. For a split second I felt like I was eating dried figs. I then sipped the fig vodka and knew that this was the drink for me.
Shortly after leaving the tasting, I went into a local wine shop and bought my first bottle of Black Fig Vodka. I paid a little under forty dollars. When I returned home, I took the Limoncello out of the freezer and inserted the bottle of Black fig Vodka.
It's been two weeks since the purchase of the first bottle. I am ready for bottle number two. For whatever reason, I feel healthy drinking this vodka. Maybe because it is made with calimyrna figs and wheat grain.
At 30% alcohol, I have found my match.
There will always be room for Black Fig Vodka in my freezer.
And hopefully yours?
Philip S. Kampe