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Sucrette Fig | Comprehensive Variety Review

Updated: Jan 18



There are 1000s of fig varieties in existence, but fig varieties like Sucrette 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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Varietal Characteristics


  • Origin: Dr. Rivals (France)

  • Categorization: Unifera

  • Similar varieties: Cul Noir

  • Taste grouping: Sugar Berry

  • Texture: Jammy

  • Size: Small to Medium

  • Ripening period: Midseason

  • Vigor: Average

  • Rain resistance: High

  • Shape: Ovoidal

  • Hang time: Below Average

  • Split resistance: Average

  • Climate preference: Well adapted

  • Hardiness: High

  • Taste rating: 4.6/5

  • Light requirements: Average

  • Productivity: High

  • Does it need pollination? No

  • Fruit color: Green, grey, and yellow skin with a red pulp

  • Soil pH level: 6.0-7.5


Origin and History:


In my opinion, Sucrette is an underrated gem in the fig world, especially for those dealing with humidity and cold winter temperatures. Its ability to thrive, be productive, and have outstanding flavor and texture make it a must-try for any fig lover.


  • Sucrette is grown in the South-West of France, from the collection of Professor Rivals, at Toulouse. His collection is now sheltered by the Botanical Conservatory of Porquerolles. 

  • Eventually obtained by Baud (a well-respected French nurseryman), he was the one to make it popular worldwide. Not just in France.

  • Sucrette translates to sugar or candy.



Strengths:


  • Thrives in Humid Climates: Sucrette handles rain and humidity well, even standing up to Hurricane Ida in 2021.

  • Highly Productive: This mid-season fig produces fruit abundantly, ensuring a plentiful harvest.

  • Dense, Sweet Texture: When you bite into Sucrette, you'll enjoy a thick, cake-like pulp filled with intense sweetness and a hint of berry flavor. It rivals the Coll de Damas in texture.




  • Great for Drying: Sucrette's high sugar content and resistance to rain make it perfect for drying, with unique black bottom sugar spots enhancing its appeal for home growers. 


Keep in mind, that sugar spots will not be present in dry climates or during times of dry weather. In fact, a notoriously ugly fig called Smith has sugar spots in spades when grown in the humid Southern US. In my Northeastern Philadelphia climate, sugar spots are a rare sight. Even with Sucrette, they are not always present.

  • Underrated Flavor: Sucrette has a mild berry taste with honey notes. It's not as acidic as some figs, providing a high sweetness.

  • Tastes Acceptable When Underripe: This trait allows Sucrette to be picked underripe before heavy rainfall and still maintain a good eating experience.




Exceptionally High Cold Tolerance: Fellow fig enthusiast and friend, Steve N. (also known as Rewton) who grows and trials many fig varieties in Maryland (zone 7A-B) favors Sucrette among many varieties for colder growing zones. After his 2023 winter report, it had high marks. Credit to Steve for such amazing work and dedication to this hobby. Check out his YouTube channel here. Following his lead, I planted my Sucrette in the ground to test it myself.



Potential Weaknesses:


Splitting: In wetter conditions, Sucrette may experience some splitting.
Availability: Finding true Sucrette cuttings might be a bit challenging as the USDA version of Sucrette does not match the Sucrette from Dr. Rivals, but Col Noir, a similar variety with identical characteristics, is more readily available.

Comparison:


After Figues Du Monde introduced Cul Noir in France, I noticed that it shares a lot of similarities with Sucrette, a well-known French fig variety popularized by Baud. While I can't yet say for sure if they are exactly the same, there are many common traits.

When trying to identify a fig variety, the most consistent and reliable trait is the shape of the fig. Both Cul Noir and Sucrette have an oval shape. The presence of a black bottom from sugar spots is also something noteworthy. Additionally, I've observed a consistent collection of underdeveloped achenes near the eye of the fruit when cut open. This might indicate something unknown or a difference in the flowers within that part of the fig. Check the descriptions from each grower below to form your own conclusion.


From Pierre Baud’s book: Le Figuier


  • Uniform variety which, exceptionally, can make a few fig-flowers. 

  • Round autumn fig with ovoid, green with green-gray, medium-sized (40 to 45 g)

  • Light red flesh.

  • Good weather resistance thanks to a relatively thick skin.

  • The variety is grown in the South-West, from the collection of Professor Rivals, at Toulouse, a collection now sheltered by the Botanical Conservatory of Porquerolles.

  • Fruit: exceptional taste quality, fruit very sweet.

  • Use: fresh, jam, confectionery, drying. Very good resistance to cooking.

  • Particularity: it is tastefully excel-slow but aesthetically unattractive: its skin often stains black at full maturity when the conditions are humid.

  • Medium development tree, from 4 to 6 m diameter t from 2.5 to 4 m in height to rather erect port.



France, Rivals collection, Conservatoire de Porquerolles (real origin unknown)

Description

Medium-sized tree, very fertile.

Uniferous fig tree, green skin, colored black when exposed to sunlight and cork when it melts. The exterior appearance of the fruits is very variable, a little blue may appear, or even a thin, semi-transparent skin over the entire fruit. The pulp is strawberry.

Maturity is spread from the beginning of September to the end of October. This spread of the harvest is favored by the particular character of this fig which remains firmly attached to the tree and can thus be preserved naturally. This small fig with unusual colors (the epidermis starts green then gradually becomes stained with black, mainly around the ostiole and at the site of the sunstroke). The tail is small but strong and the figs can thus dry on the tree easily, taking on a cork color, indicating the transformation into a dried fig. Harvesting is easy and you can choose the desired stage of maturity because this fig is difficult to fall and does not ferment in the event of excessive humidity. It is one of the rare figs that resists autumn rains well.

Additional Resources:


Sucrette Fig - Made it Through Hurricane Ida! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8adq69kR2w


Sucrette -- The French Know Their Figs! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvlLKmzsEBc


Figboss.com/varieties - Check out the fig variety directory for more information on other fig varieties.




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