The easiest method to get a sense of how figs taste is to eat one, as with most other delicacies.
There are a lot of seeds in figs, but they have a great texture. Most figs are shaped like pears. The color of their skin is generally black or purple. Biting into them is a pleasure since it’s soft and easy.
The flavor of this unusual fruit varies greatly depending on whatever kind you choose to eat. Unusual because it’s an inverted flower, not a fruit.
In addition, what you’re matching it with might have an impact on how it tastes. That is because you may use figs in various dishes, notably sweets, by cooks for a variety of objectives. However, I consider it a crime not to enjoy them fresh.
Naturally, not everyone likes fig flavors as a result of their own particular taste.
Fig Flavor Groups
Since I have the opportunity to enjoy eating a dozen of different fig varieties each season, and many more in the past, I would describe the taste of figs as very complex. Not individually, but there are so many varieties of different flavors that you simply can’t describe them in a few sentences like most other fruit.
To describe fig flavors, we have to put them into several categories. Even then, I feel those categories don’t do them justice because, ideally, the flavor of each fig variety would be best described on its own.
Putting many fig varieties in the same category doesn’t mean they all taste the same, but rather similar. I’m putting this categorization together to help people avoid buying fig varieties that taste like the ones they already have.
I will try to include all the fig varieties that I had the pleasure of tasting, although there are many more figs that I’m unfamiliar with.
If you notice the same fig variety is in two or more categories, it means the flavor is so mixed that I could not place them into only one category.
With so many fig flavors, it would be a shame not to diversify upon what you already have.
Sugar / Figgy Flavored Figs
Melon undertones with traces of figgy tastes are present in this blend. When shriveled, figginess has a flavor similar to raisins, dates, American persimmon, or other dried fruits.
This category is probably the most basic fig category. From what I learned reading history, most figs tasted like this in the middle east, where they originated from.
Figgy flavored fig varieties include LSU O’Roourke, Brunswick fig types, Columbaro Nero, California Brown Turkey, Southern Brown Turkey, Improved Celeste, Palermo Red, Grantham’s Royal, Celeste, Sicilian Red, Sal’s Corleone, Panevino Dark, Aldo, Weeping Black, Magnolia, and Black Jack.
Honey Flavored Figs
Melon tastes are complemented by a sweet fig “nectar” that may be found in the eye, gathered in the gap, and glistening throughout the piece. Both in appearance and flavor, this honey-type fig varies a bit more than most others.
There is a lighter-taste sub-category. Although not as rich as your regular honey fig, this kind has a greater degree of complexity. It might have a lemony or tangy flavor. This is a somewhat unusual profile, but I decided to leave it in the honey category because it is very similar.
Honey flavored fig varieties include LSU Gold, La Magdeleine, Izbat An Naj, Yellow Long Neck, LSU Champagne, White Marseilles, Sweet Joy, Beall, Dottato, Mary Lane Seedless, Zaffiro, Kadota, Pingo de Mel, and Lattarula.
Sugar Berry Flavored Figs
The color usually ranges from pale on the edges to medium-dark red towards the middle. The taste can be compared to that of a fruit punch. Often reminiscent of strawberries or grapes.
Sugar berry flavored fig varieties include Florea, Hunt, LSU Tiger, Mega Celeste, Azores Dark, Hardy Chicago / Mt. Etna fig types, LSU Scott’s Black, Blue Celeste, Azores Dark, Pastiliere, Sucrette, Capol Curt Negra, Sultane, Violette de Marseilles, Souadi, Teramo Unk, Nebo, Brandon St. Unk, Koura Black, Forastera de C’an Reviu, Figo Preto, Ischia Black, Emerald Strawberry, Portuguese Black, Maltese Falcon.
Melon Berry Flavored Figs
Meon berry figs need to be perfectly ripe for the flavor to be great. Sweet and mild to moderately berry-flavored, they have a high level of sweetness when they are at their best. I would even say sometimes sugary instead of berry-like flavor.
I don’t have a long list because this category could be described as a mix of several different ones, and very few figs fall under them.
Melon berry flavored figs include Longue D’Aout fig types, Atreano, and Black Zadar.
Bordeaux / Resin Berry Flavored Figs
A dark shade of red or purple is the most common color among resin berry figs. When fully ripe, they remind of complex French black wine with raspberry tones. Most certainly unique berry-type flavor.
Bordeaux / resin berry flavored figs include Ronde de Bordeaux, Violette de Bordeaux, Mission, Black Celeste, Moro de Caneva, Neruciollo d’Ebla, Vista, Petite Negri, Beers Black, Valle Negra, Kathleen Black, and Noir de Caromb.
Tropical Berry Flavored Figs
Fruity, tangy, lemony, or acidic berry figs. Pineapple, peach, and other tropical tastes are commonly present in some varieties in the tropical fig category.
Tropical berry flavored figs include Red Libya, Sbayi, GM 175, Yellow Neches, Fico Pesca d’Oro, and Flanders.
Caramel Flavored Figs
Caramel figs feature melon, light brown sugar, and figgy tastes, but they’re flavored with caramel more prominently than figgy flavored figs.
Caramel flavored figs include Wuhan, Beall, LSU Purple, Osborn Prolific, Galicia Negra, Burgan Unk, Blava Campanera, Florea, Grantham’s Royal, Motoso Preto, Vern’s BT, Black Mission, and Moscatel Preto.
Elegant Berry Flavored Figs
Similar to what people usually call “Complex Berry” in terms of intensity, but considered as more “foreign” by many. It usually features raspberry flavors.
Elegant berry flavored figs include Malta Black, Azores Dark, Smith, Black Madeira, Cavaliere, Dels Ermitans, Del Sen Jaume Gran, De La Senyora, Coll De Dama, Violette Sepor, Socorro Black, Bourjassotte Grise, Bourjassotte Noire, Black Greek, De la Roca, Paradiso, Adriatic, Campaniere, Del Sen Juame Gran, Verdino Del Nord, and Dark Sicilian.
Honey Berry Flavored Figs
I would say honey berry is a honey fig compared with sugar berry flavor. A mix of both categories.
Honey berry flavored figs include Desert King, Atreano, Brooklyn White, Bebera Branca, Albo, Pecciolo Bianco, LSU Hollier, LSU Scott’s Yellow, Conadria, and Black Zadar.
Cherry Flavored Figs
Cherry figs are classic berry figs with intense cherry flavor. I would include them in the elegant berry category, but the flavor is much clearer than with raspberry and other notes in that category, so they deserve their own.
Cherry Flavored Figs include Rubado, San Biagio, Cavaliere, Hative De Argentile, and Unk Pastiliere.
Bitter / Spicy Flavored Figs
The spicey flavor from the skin provides the pulp with a unique taste. The flavors of cinnamon and persimmons, sweet or sour, may be found as well.
Bitter / spicy flavored figs include Dall’Oso, Sweet Joy, Nerucciolo d’Elba, White Marseilles, and LSU Purple.
Why Flavors May Be Different for You
All figs have a melon-like or “Figgy” flavor to them, regardless of the variety.
While ripening, the flavor of the melon will go away as other flavors become more prominent.
The texture and skin of the fig are just as significant because they provide unique flavors as well. Depending on the thickness of the skin, the flavor can range from bitter, nutty, or figgy. Meaty, jammy, and congealed gel are three of the most common fig textures I’ve encountered.
While these categories are a good general rule, the tastes will differ based on your growing circumstances, caprification, duration of ripening, and taste receptors, so experimentation is necessary.
The best example I know is the Black Zadar variety. I have tasted it in Croatia, where it’s from. Black Zadar there is my top 3 fig variety ever. However, in the US, it never matures as amazingly as in Croatia.
Some varieties are best grown in places they adapted to. When you take a variety and put it somewhere else, it sometimes fails to adapt to different climates and soil, altering the flavor.