There are 1000s of fig varieties in existence, but fig varieties like Noire de Bellone or Barnissotte are worth learning about. Check out the other comprehensive variety reviews I’ve created on other fig varieties on the variety directory page found here:
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And check out my recent video on this variety to learn more about it below!
Similar varieties: Barnissotte, Bellona, Figue de Nice
Taste grouping: Sugar Berry
Size: Medium to Large
Ripening period: Midseason
Rain resistance: Above average
Shape: Highly variable
Hang time: Below average
Split resistance: Above average
Climate preference: Well adapted
Taste rating: 4.9/5
Light requirements: Low
History and Other Information
Fig enthusiasts have long celebrated the diversity and richness of fig varieties, and the Noire de Bellone stands as a testament to this. Originating from France, this variety was once hailed as the "queen of figs," showcasing its esteemed position in the world of fig cultivation. The texture of the Noire de Bellone is unparalleled, reminiscent of the revered Coll de Dama variety, with a thickness and consistency that is quite remarkable. Not only is it delightful in taste, but it is also quite easy to grow, ripening a productive crop during mid-season and proving reliable even in humid climates. Its productivity is commendable, with the tree bearing fruit on almost every node.
The history and story behind the Noire de Bellone are as captivating as its flavor profile. Although it is a star in France, thanks largely to a famous nurseryman named Baud, its presence in the United States is surprisingly sparse. It's puzzling why such a fantastic variety hasn't become more mainstream in the U.S., especially when its flavor and growing performance rival top-tier figs like the Verdino del Nord and Hative d'Argenteuil.
You can check out Baud's nursery catalogue, here:
The distinct physical characteristics of the Noire de Bellone, especially its skin with hints of green amidst its dark hue, make it recognizable. Its flavor profile so far matches a sugar fig or “Sugar Berry”, with nuanced fruity notes. Notably, it doesn’t yet have the pronounced berry flavor that some fig enthusiasts chase.
Barnissotte: A Synonym of Bellone
I want to note that I was able to compare side by side another fig variety that I am growing called Barnissotte. I believe it to be a synonym for Bellone.
Barnissotte can be found growing at UC Davis. However, its origin is unclear and the name given to this variety must be a mistake. Many years ago Barnissotte was originally theorized to be a synonym of the very popular commercial fig called Bourjassotte Noire on Figs4Fun many years ago. Once it was grown by hobbyists, this was confirmed to be false.
If you look at Condit's Monograph, you'll see that he lists them as synonyms. You can see why there's confusion.
"Barnissotte (syns. Bellegarde, Bernissou Negra, Bourjassotte Noire Bouriageotte, Brogiotto Fiorentino, Brogiotto Nero, Précoce Noire, Burjassotte Preto, Grosse Bourjassotte, Grosso Figo, Monacello, Ficus polymorpha var. depressa Gasparrini, F. carica barnissota Risso). Second-crop figs medium to large, but variable in size and shape, from 1-1/2 to 2-3/4 inches in length, and from 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter; shape turbinate-pyriform, sometimes oblique, with broad apex; average weight 50 grams; neck variable, either prominent and somewhat flattened, thick, and short, or indistinguishable from body; stalk thick, short, loosely attached, allowing many figs to drop when not quite ripe; ribs elevated, narrow, prominent on account of deeper coloration; eye medium, open, scales erect, chaffy; surface somewhat glossy, with distinct, pruinose bloom; white flecks large and conspicuous, as shown by Condit (1941a, fig. 9, A); color purplish black on apex and body, lighter toward the stalk, some specimens with green color persisting in irregular patches on body and apex; meat white; pulp light strawberry; flavor fairly sweet and rich. Quality good to excellent, especially in coastal climates."
You can find Condit's monograph, here:
In the video below, see how Bellone compares in flavor and texture to 15 other fig varieties: