I've created a series of blog posts that contain comprehensive information on fig varieties that are what I could consider standards. Check out the other blog posts on the other varieties I've covered in the variety directory here:
Check out my recent video on this variety!
Similar varieties: Calvy
Taste grouping: Elegant berry
Size: Small - Medium
Ripening period: Very early
Rain resistance: Above average
Hang time: Very short
Split resistance: Average
Climate preference: Well adapted
Hardiness: Very High
Taste rating: 4.5/5
Light requirements: Below average
Campaniere is a fig that was made popular by Figues du Monde. I would suggest that if you're interested in this variety, please go check out Thierry's blog: https://figuesdumonde.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/campaniere/ - You can email him to find specifics on the exact origin, but as he describes this tree can be found in the Lot of France and has been known to have existed there since the end of the 1900s.
I've spoken to Thierry quite a bit about this specific variety. He has told me privately that, "Campaniere survived a harsh winter in February of 2012. There was 10 days of frost. During the day it was -5C and in the nighttime it reached -20C (-4F). After all of that, even the buds were intact. The mother tree is about 140 years old, but there is a younger one about 20 years old who is in the wind and has good resistance too. They are in a draining place and we should not neglect the limestone and potassium to help the tree to resist the cold." I have no reason to doubt Thierry's story, but more testing is definitely needed to have full confidence in this degree of hardiness and if proven true, this would be the hardiest fig I know of. Even moreso than Hardy Chicago, which shows good hardiness at 0F when established. There are other varieties boasting to have survived similar temperatures below 0F, but none corroborated as of yet. What I can say for sure is that the limbs of Campaniere were more lignified than any other variety I had planted in ground the last two years. It appears to just stop growing or significantly slow down during the summer, while many other varieties continue in my yard due to plenty of moisture. This allows it to have time to lignify almost perfectly by frost.
What's shocking though about this fig is just how early it ripens. It is among the earliest of varieties. Ripening alongside Malta Black, Ronde de Bordeaux, Florea, Celeste, Iranian Candy, Yellow Neches, Pastiliere, etc... This combo of early and hardy puts it in a class of only one other fig and that's the amazing Hardy Chicago, but I would argue it's even better. Yes.. even better than Azores Dark or Malta Black.
This year I'm really seeing that in action. The hang time is so short, that I am almost guaranteed to ripen and enjoy every fig on my Campaniere trees. From the time it starts to swell and change color from green and hard, it only is about 4 days till ripe. That's amazing. There's only one other fig that I know of like that. De la Senyora (Hivernenca) - The Black Madeira killer/replacement we've talked about in a prior blog post.
So making a case for this fig is very easy and I haven't even described the taste. It's top in its class in so many categories already... It's early, hardy and has a short hang time. I could end the blog post now and that should be enough to convince you to grow it. What's even more spectacular is its ability to dry on the tree. It's not at the level of a Nerucciolo d'Elba or Figoin, but it's not too far away. Having a great ability to hold well on the tree and a high brix to fight fermentation and mold, it enables it to dry easier than many many other varieties on the tree. Even here in the Philadelphia area it's possible to see completely dried Campaniere figs.
To top it all off the production is high and the flavor is top tier. A solid 4.5 that anyone would be happy to enjoy with an elegant jammy berry flavor. Good fig flavors, sweetness and a taste that can last on the tongue.
Put this all together and you have one of the best overall figs that anyone could grow. I really hope one day to see this fig in nursery catalogues across the US in addition to the already amazing standard varieties like Hardy Chicago, Violette de Bordeaux & Celeste. And I will definitely keep promoting this fig until it is. It's a standard and deserves a spot in many grower's yards. Not just the hobbyist, but the average fig grower. This fig is special in so many ways. Enjoy!