Dried Figs

 In TasteHistory

Writing about Malta in the 19th century, Louis de Boisgelin states that ‘figs when dried, furnish with a little barley bread the principal sustenance of the numerous and finely formed inhabitants of the islands of the archipelago.’

August provides the perfect hot and arid climate for drying figs, which are split in two and laid out on a sunny roof or terrace to dry until leathery in appearance. The figs are layered with bay leaves, toasted flaked almonds, raisins soaked in anisette, and fennel seeds, and then covered with greaseproof paper and weighed down for a couple of weeks. The resulting slab of compressed dried fruit known locally as tin taċ-ċappa or tin tal-balla is traditionally eaten on the feast of St Martin when it is cut into thin slices.

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