This week my husband surprised me with a fig tree. Our girls already have an apple tree each to look after and him turning up with a fig tree for me was possibly the most romantic thing he’s done in the last two years. I didn’t realise that I like figs so much, that even he had picked up on it. Here are the 6 reasons why I love fig so much, and why you too should surround yourself of those little things that remind you of your roots.
1. A trip down memory lane
I cannot express how happy this tree makes me. The scent of fig invokes childhood memories of visiting my grandparents. They had fig trees and I loved playing near the tree, picking figs and eat them fresh from the tree.
2. The beauty of figs
Figs are fascinating, I love the taste of this sweet fruit. Perfectly ripe, it tastes like honey. I also like the texture, from the smooth skin outside to the grainy bits inside, and the earthy colours.
Fresh from the tree, in fig jam, in salads or toast, dried with almonds, or, occasionally, baked with honey and yogurt or cheese – I love it in any way, shape or form.
3. We love fruit… and fruit trees
In our home, we love fruit and fruit trees. There is always a bowl filled with fruit. If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we have an apple tree and a raspberry bush. We also have olive trees, and herbs. We have a small garden and it feels like it’s becoming a nourishing and giving place. It’s small – an estate agent would probably say ‘cosy’ – but we love it.
4. A story to tell
This fig tree is another opportunity for me to connect with my roots and to share them with my children. Not the figs, though. Those are mine, they can keep the apples! (just kidding).
This fig tree has already given us a theme for a story. At the moment, the girls like to ask me to tell them real stories. The day we got the tree, I told them the story of when, a long, long time ago, a little girl about their age called Andrea liked to visit her grandparents and play by the fig tree… she loved the smell… and to pick the figs there and then.
At the end I produced a small, still green, but already fragrant fig that had fallen from the tree when in transit. They were delighted with the late night sensorial story!
5. The scent
The scent of a fig tree is heavenly. It’s simultaneously fresh and warm, it’s sweet but not sickly sweet, it has an earthy and green quality to it. It’s just delightful and it makes me so happy.
As it turns out, I already surround myself of fig aromas: the potpourri, the reed diffuser and even one of my perfumes have a fig scent!
Before this Diptique eau the toilette, I had the Jo Malone Wild Fig perfume, and I still have the Wild Fig soap bar given to me 12 years ago. After all these years, it still gives the clothes in my wardrobe a wonderful smell. That’s quality for you! If you want to get a Diptyque or Jo Malone perfume, you can get your scrumptious perfume online at John Lewis (this is an affiliate link) where I got mine.
Of course, nothing beats the natural scent of a real fig tree, but a nice quality perfume or home freshner can be a good substitute.
Do you suffer from ‘cultural amnesia’?
For so many years, I had forgotten my Portuguese identity. These little pleasures bring it all back. If you too suffer from ‘cultural amnesia’, surround yourself with little treats, aromas and reminders from back home. Connect again with your roots and pass it on to your little cherubs. Make it magical, let them delight, and yearn for roots that they will, we hope, search for and explore of their own accord one day.
Do you forget to speak the target language?
If like me you often forget to speak the target language, surrounding yourself with little reminders like this – a plant, a work of art, a book – from your childhood will serve as reminders to speak the language and to talk about the country and it’s culture.
Dreaming of the future
I am looking forward to growing old alongside my beautiful, bountiful, aromatic tree. I picture my self sitting under it, reading a book, enjoying the silence, just a small breeze reinforcing that wonderful scent. And then suddenly, children erupt from the house, running, roaring with laughter and speaking beautiful Portuguese. Slower paced giggling takes over. The children ask if they can pick figs. I reply affirmatively and they say “Avo, conta-nos uma historia verdadeira…” (Granny, tell us a real story…)
Liked this post? Then you’ll probably like this one about food as culture and how I used spices to introduce my children to Portuguese food, its flavours and aromas from a young age.