Fairway has just imported the glorious fig products of ARTIBEL, the pride of Italy’s Calabria region, where figs and hot chiles RULE. Fig-lovers rejoice! Calabria to the rescue!
You must try the FIG CONDIMENT in the cool bottle – meant to be poured over cooked fish, shellfish, lobster, fruit salads, green salads and ice cream and sorbets. There are 3 of them – orange/chile, balsamic, and mint. And there are the jars of the brilliant Calabrian red pesto, extra fig jam, 5 different marmalades — of chiles and of the local Belmonte tomatoes, of the local Tropea onion, of the local clementine and mandarin oranges, a cream of chestnuts, a pumpkin pesto and little teeny hot Calabrian red chiles.
We also imported the Artibel fig cakes in several different shapes – logs, balls and loaves. These are fabulous served with cheeses and cured meats. Finally, there are jars of preserved Calabrian figs in natural syrup and baked figs in a natural molasses, both of which are a knock-out served with ice creams and sorbets.
FILOTEA PASTA: We found this pasta from Ancona, the Adriatic-jutting elbow of the Italian region Le Marche, and angels sang. Ancona is a superb city for food, certainly seafood, and it’s the only Italian city where you can see the sun rise AND SET on the sea. FILOTEA is ‘artisanal production’ pasta – smallholder crop durum wheat, fresh eggs from free-range Le Marche chickens, cut on dies that leave a rough texture that really clings to sauce, hand-packed (no factory production line machinery), short cooking time. We declare that FILOTEA is the best pasta we have yet to taste. Anywhere. All of it, we repeat: Handmade with fresh eggs from free-range Le Marche chickens: Linguine, fettuccine, spaghetti, pappardelle, pennette and squid ink chitarra (guitar strings).
And then there’s EMPORIO GOURME’– a whole gorgeous line of jars of grilled preserved vegetables from an artisan in Milano, Italy. They are beyond superb. They are a celebration. Serve them with all manner of antipasto, with toasts and cheeses and cured meats. These big fat jars are hand-crammed with extraordinary examples of Italian onions, sweet peppers, Prataioli mushrooms, tomatoes and Roman-style artichokes.
All these things are pretty enough and cool enough to make great gifts. Or keep them around for emergency snacks with cocktails, easy dinner, and general culinary joy.