I wanted to make this blog post to highlight some important fig genetics.
There is some amazing genetic diversity within Ficus Carica, but once you've tried 20 or more carefully selected fig varieties, you may be wondering how much more different it can get. These varieties are great choices for something a bit different and I've also added in some underrated options for good measure.
Sweet Joy - This is a well under the radar fig variety from Trees of Joy. It's a honey type that's quite sweet, but it has different honey flavors than your typical Peter's Honey. This one is a clear cut above. It's the marshmallow fig. Distinct marshmallow honey flavor with a spicey skin.
Longue d'Aout - This fig tastes like cotton candy. No joke. I've tasted it in grapes and in my own Early Blush apricots, but now in a fig.
Barbillone - This is truly a unique fig. Especially in texture. It's light. If a cloud could be a fig, it would be this one. It's kind of like a honey fig x sugar fig combo. I think it's right behind Zaffiro. And it didn't take long to become an instant favorite. It's that good.
Coll de Dama - While the flavor of the Coll de Damas is quite complex and not all that unique, the texture is what I believe puts it in the category of a variety that must be grown by every fig grower. The texture is very thick. Like a pancake batter. It's more than just a thick jam you can find in a jar at the supermarket. It's got something extra and in my opinion it's the best eating experience that you can find in Ficus Carica.
Sucrette - Underrated and not talked about enough. Thick & dense jam texture. Has a great ability to dry on the tree. It's productive and ripens during mid season. While I don't think this fig is very unique. The texture is however superb like a Coll de Dama, but what's underrated about it is its performance in colder zones. It's one of the most reliable figs when planted in the ground in 7B. My good friend Rewton reported this to me during the growing season. Elated, I planted mine in the ground and followed suit. It's extremely rain resistant and if it can survive my cold winters, what a huge plus that is.
White Triana - Like honey figs, White Triana has a higher amount of melon flavor, and when allowed to ripen, quite a nice berry flavor develops. If figs were a jelly donut, that's what the Melon Berry flavor profile would be. They're their own class of figs and I highly recommend that you try them. Longue d'Aout was already mentioned, but White Triana is very underrated. There is a class of figs that is similar to White Triana. You've got Lattarola, Lyndhurst White, Atreano, etc... but White Triana is the best of them all thus far. It's seriously very good when allowed to develop its full flavor.
LSU Hollier, Albo, Bebera Branca, Pecciolo Bianco & Monaco - These figs make up the flavor profile "Honey Berry." They are honey figs at their core, but they have an additional berry flavor. Similar to the improvement that Sugar Honey figs are to the Honey profile, Fruity Honey are also an improvement to the Honey category. They're just simply more complex and as many fig connoisseurs know, berry is usually better. I call this profile fruity because it's not exactly the full on berry you'd see in Cherry, Complex Berry or Melon Berry. It's quite mild, but when ripened properly, you get something unique and interesting. Well worth the effort to cover this profile if you're collecting varieties. It's also quite hard to find.
Little Ruby - These are small dried fruit bombs of flavor. They are super figgy. The dried fruit flavor in these is higher than in any other fig I've tried.
Da Ponte de Quateira - The Most Syrup I've Seen in a Fig Variety. A unique flavor and texture from this fig. The pulp is FILLED with fig syrup. I couldn't believe it. Definitely recommend this fig for something different OR if you're in a dry place.
LSU Tiger - It's in the skin. LSU Tiger has a hard to find chewy skin that every collector needs to experience. A favorite at a local tasting I hosted this year. Super underrated. It's seriously one of the best figs I've got. I can't believe it took me so long to realize that.
Golden Rainbow - This fig produces huge honey figs that are quite early, rain resistant and tasty. The variety has it all. Definitely one to trial for commercial potential. Huge leaves and therefore very vigorous. Puts out figs like few others. It's extremely precocious and productive. If I weighed my harvest from every tree, this one would have to be on the top of the list. For that it's quite underrated.
LSU Purple - Probably the most underrated fig on this thread. You're a fool if you don't like this fig and I will no longer trust your fig tasting reviews. It's not the best by any means, but it's like eating fig jelly combined with melons, mild berries, honey, brown sugar and cinnamon. The off putting flavor people have been describing for years comes from the skin. It's a spice flavor that you find in persimmons & Sweet Joy. Personally I think it adds something special, but if you don't like that flavor, just don't eat the skin. Really though.. I have been overly impressed by its other features. Very short hang time, gets perfectly ripe very easily and clearly has strong rain resistance. I wouldn't be surprised if this fig had Black Mission in its parentage. Very similar visually, but with better flavor and less berry. It's a different and slightly more interesting Black Mission with better performance.
Wild Berry Flavors, Strong Grape, Fruit Forward, Cherry
There is a lot of unique berry flavors. Too many to count I think. I named a lot of honey figs that I find to be unique in this blog post, but there just isn't that many honey figs like there are berry figs. In fact, think of any berry found in nature and I bet you can find a fig flavor profile to match it. Especially when figs are caprified, they can produce some incredible and wild flavors that you wouldn't believe are found in nature. I really like the berry flavor of Vagabond. It's like an intense grape. Rossellino has an intense berry flavor when it's allowed to fully develop and dry. It's like an intense fruit punch. Very much so fruit forward. Lastly Hative d'Argenteuil is quite fruity, but is also like eating a cherry.
Time for a little speculation...
What I want is a fig that has a creamy texture and a caramel flavor. I think Brianzolo Rosso will be just that, but for now... Zaffiro is a pretty damn good option. Exactly Caramel? Maybe.
Zaffiro - Not only does it have a more complex honey flavor, but it also has a unique coconut flavored skin. There's also other figgy flavors present allowing the two profiles to meet at a nice balance.