The first time I tasted a fig, I was five years old. My mother and I were visiting her family in Italy. A large party went out into the countryside for the day, walking a long way in the hot sun. I recall everyone resting in the early afternoon when the sun was at its highest, and then waking to eat warm figs right off the trees. I don't recall the taste then. The memory I retained was of laying on the back of my great-uncle, and falling asleep to the comforting smells of his tobacco and fresh male sweat. Years later I wondered at that memory and why it stayed so clearly in my mind. I suppose it was one of the earliest recollections of intense sensory experiences. To my surprise, very recently, when I took possession of the family's extended slide collection, I found a picture of that very afternoon, that very moment.
Recently I treated myself to some perfectly ripe black figs from the St. Lawrence Market. I don't know where they came from, but they're about as delicious as I have had.
Then I tried this: Fig and Champagne Preserve from Parkdale Preserve Company here in Toronto. Unlike many other confections that boast impressive ingredients, this delicious preserve tastes of two things most intensely: figs... and champagne. Designed I believe to go on cheese, I put it on bread as I love a low-sugar jam.
They have an Etsy site. This is a perfect holiday gift, hostess gift, spoil-yourself gift. They're at a gift show near you, Toronto. I recommend and I can't wait to try all the other flavours!