Fig is an ancient and traditional product. The Emperor Augustus ate figs with cheese and fish; for Seneca, along with bread, they were an entire meal. Quotes concerning the processing of dried figs can be found in Horace’s and Columella’s Satires.
They are an energetic and nourishing food, a natural antioxidant, characterized by digestive properties. During the second post-war period, they were one of the few desserts which people could afford.
It is one of the most typical products of Calabria, where their production is still in its growing stage. Here farmers leave figs to dry in the sun, as tradition requires. Here the 'Fratelli Marano’ company works figs with care and passion from three generations according to artisan practices.
As tradition wants
Every summer, in the hills of the hinterland of Cosenza, there is a tradition consisting in gathering the tasty figs that this corner of land and its climate offer, and letting them dry in the sun according to ancient traditional methods, on mats of interwoven reeds, which in the local dialect are called ‘cannizzole’. In September, after expert farmers have finished their work, the dried figs, which became white, are transported in the ‘Marano Brothers’ artisan workshop.
Today, thanks to many years of careful work, their figs, characterized by original names and valuable packaging, are known and appreciated both in Italy and abroad: USA, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Poland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, and Greece. They can be found in the best gastronomic boutiques, gourmet shops, and delicatessens. The quality of these products, alongside with their originality, particularity, history, and unique characteristics, have allowed the various ‘Giocondi’ - simple figs, without filling, covered with dark or white chocolate - and ‘Coroncine’- small crowns prepared with figs fixed together by means of a little myrtle branch - to meet immediate success and let more and more know and appreciate what is considered a true wealth of Calabria.
Davide Marano, one of the owners, explains: «Our figs can be tasted at any time of the day. In the morning, they represent a healthy and energetic breakfast; they are an excellent snack at any time of the day and have the important characteristic of acting as both sweet and fruit. After lunch or after dinner, they go well with either some liquor or a sweet wine, or even with a good rum or cognac. And this happens for both more traditional figs and the ones coated with chocolate».
Figs & Chocolate
Marano says: «Our passion for this extraordinary fruit is so strong that we want to let it know to everybody». The range of products consists in more than 30 different references: ‘Crocette’, obtained by means of four overlapping figs stuffed with almonds or walnuts and a candied orange peel, baked and flavoured according to an ancient recipe whose ingredients are sugar, cinnamon, and laurel; or ‘Trecce’, consisting in intertwined figs.
In addition to the traditional typical products, Marano Brothers create many original recipes, prepared with chocolate, more modern and suitable to the different requirements, such as ‘Paciocchi’, which now are among their most popular products, consisting in figs stuffed with almonds or walnuts, baked and proposed with a coating of extra dark chocolate, white chocolate, or milk chocolate; the line ‘Ficule’, consisting in soft figs which, before being coated with chocolate, are stuffed with six different types of artisan creams prepared at home, such as pepper cream or the one containing liquorice of Calabria; the ‘Bon Bon’ line, among the most “spirituous” products, because they are pralines prepared with a paste of figs and some different spirits; and the line of ‘Ghiottini’, delicious figs, covered with extra dark chocolate.
The processing is carried out by hand, because there are no machines which can replace man in this particular manufacturing.
Packaging, too, is refined and varied. Depending on the products, it consists in boxes, bags, tins, wooden boxes, glass jars. The new line ‘Transparency Marano’ is proposed in glass jars, characterized by retro-vintage style with special plugs, which, once emptied of the figs, can be reused in the kitchen.