The ‘dottato’ fig, better known as the Cilento white fig, has been grown for centuries in the Cilento district of the province of Salerno. Its wrinkled skin is a uniform pale yellow in color and its flesh is soft in texture. It is eaten either fresh or, according to tradition, sun-dried.
In past centuries, Cilento farming communities, especially in Prignano Cilento and neighboring villages, developed a special technique that isn’t found in any other area where dried fig are produced, either in Italy or elsewhere in the Mediterranean. It consists of peeling each fig before drying, hence the term ‘monnato’ (pl. ‘monnati’), which means ‘peeled’ in the local dialect. The figs are peeled by hand straight after being picked, with great care being taken not to nick the flesh. The subsequent drying operation involves the whole fruits being laid out on cane racks and exposed to the sun and wind from early morning until just before sunset. At this stage the figs are turned frequently by hand to allow them to dry evenly. During the night or when the weather is bad, they are stored in special shelters, known as passolare. The whole process lasts from two to 20 days, according to the size of the fruits and the weather conditions.
The dried ‘monnato’ fig is milky white in color with creamy nuances and chestnut honey streaks. It melts in the mouth and has an intense, complex aroma.
The best known traditional recipe is ‘monnato’ fig capocollo. In this case, the dried fruits are split open, laid out flat and covered with chopped almonds or walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and lemon or mandarin zest. They are then rolled up to form a capocollo, or salami shape, baked in the oven and packaged. To serve, they are cut into thin slices just like a capocollo or a salami.
The figs are harvested from August to September; once dried they are available all year round
The Presidium brings together the few producers left who still produce the ‘monnato’ fig following the complex traditional procedure. The production protocol also envisages that the figs be grown in accordance with the principles of organic farming.
Communes of Prignano Cilento, Ogliastro, Agropoli and Torchiara (province of Salerno).
Presidium sponsored by:
Campania Regional Authority
Piazza Cavour, 8
Prignano Cilento (Sa)
Tel. +39 333 8381895-349 3127649
di Antonio Di Perna
Via della Sacra Famiglia, 86
Tel. +39 320 3683912