Ahh figs… there are few festivals we enjoy as much as the annual fig fête at Solliès-Pont – a small village in the Var department, about 15 minutes from our home in Toulon.
And if you can’t tell from the photos, this festival is a food-lover’s dream. The streets are lined with gorgeous, plump figs in every size, shape, and configuration. Fig tarts, fig jam, fig cookies, bottles of fig liqueur and some mighty potent fig wine.
Solliès-Pont is the fig kingdom of our area and also “exports” its figs all over France. Everyone in town seemed too absorbed in sampling the homemade creations and knocking back fig kir royales to get down to details, but fig-growing is indeed the mainstay of the small community.
And since figs are their claim-to-fame, the annual festival is quite the who’s who of local talent. There’s even a cooking competition styled after the famed show Master Chef… Master Fig. Quite rightly contestants must cook a range of dishes using the star fruit of the day.
After a bit too much summer sun, and one too many passes by the Kir Royale stand, we decided to hang up our chefs hats for the day and stick to what we do best… eating.
Like most of the Provençal festivals we’ve attended, some well-planned grazing at the food stands is usually the main event of the day. And no matter the theme of the day’s festivities, you’re sure to find some local standards – grilled fish, barbecue, paella, and couscous, sausage vendors, and every cheese under the sun.
What I love about these food fêtes is just that… they’re a mix of elegant, local creations and downhome cooking. And the French really let loose at these parties – far from any stuffy, highbrow notions of French cuisine you might imagine.
I mean can you be stuffy dressed as a giant fig or dancing down the street playing the trombone? I think non…
Figs are still everywhere at the local markets, so today I tried my hand at the Fig with Almond Creme recipe below. They didn’t come out looking as pretty as I’d hoped, but the hubs pronounced they were very, very bon. The heavy pour with the rum really paid off…
Hope you enjoy et à bientôt!
For more info on the festival, check out the festival website here.
Figues à la crème d’amande
6 large figs
1/2 cup almond powder or crushed almonds
1/2 cup of softened butter + extra butter for the ramekins
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons rum
sliced almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter 6 ramekins or other small ceramic molds suitable for the oven. Wash and dry the figs, cut each one cross-wise on the top (see photo above). Place a fig in each ramekin.
Using an electic mixer or handheld mixer, beat the eggs, almond powder, powdered sugar, regular sugar, butter, and rum together until the mixture is smooth. Pour on top of the figs in each ramekin. Top with sliced almonds and bake for 25 minutes.
Serve warm with a bit of berry jam on top as desired.
recipe credit: Cuisine et Vins de France