Autumn means figs: The History of Girotti Figs
Fichi Girotti (Girotti Figs) are a unique dessert typical of the ancient town of Amelia, located in the centre of Italy. They are dried figs stuffed with chocolate, orange peels, almonds, nuts or other dried fruits prepared following the original receipt.
Umbria, a land rich in fig’s plants, is the scenery of our story
Yet in Middle Ages figs were considered such a wonderful fruit that every year farmers from Ameria (the current Amelia) had to bring to the Pope “centum pignatuli ficuum”, one hundred small pot full of figs.
In the past fig’s plants represented a problem for farmers and their harvest; the production was huge and infesting so the only solution seemed to be cutting the plants down.
Antonio Girotti decided to found his factory in 1830, buying the figs from the growers and increasing, in this way, their wealth.
Years later his product became popular in the nation thanks to his grandson Quirino, who started the selling in stations and cafés with the famous manifesto of a woman carrying the stuffed fruits.
After the First World War, Girotti’s fig appeared in the Rex transatlantic and their popularity bring them to be served in King’s meals and in official events like the Mille Miglia.
By that time, they were so popular to be sold, even, in the United States.
Beyond the fig there is some more…
Around the creation of the iconic manifesto of Girotti figs there are many legends that makes everything more interesting and mysterious.
One of this, set in the middle age, illustrates the story of a girl, Matilde, married to the cruel Lord of Chiaravalle, who wanted to kill his husband and escape from their castle in Amelia.
She managed to carry on her plan with the help of her family and an old man, who knew a secret passage to escape the castle and run away in the countryside.
Years later Antonio Girotti, once become owner of those lands, along the bank of the river Rio Grande, searched for a long time for the secret passage but he never found it, and the mystery was never revealed.
It is said that the woman pictured in the manifesto might be Matilde, the protagonist of the legend.
But, how this speciality is made?
In the making process the fig is dried, cut down and filled with different ingredients. Then it is put in moulds that give them the typical rounded shape.
They are sold in café and shops in three different coloured boxes: green for almond stuffed figs, red for orange peel stuffed fig and blue for the nut stuffed ones.
When you visit Umbria do not forget to look for this delicious fruits and enjoy them surrounded by the amazing countryside.