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Joie de Fig
Figgy Faves from the Girl & the Fig
by Sylvie Greil

"My life is full of recipes everywhere I look," says Sondra Bernstein, proprietor of The Girl & The Fig in Sonoma. And thanks to her, our kitchen is full of delicious fig-based products such as a jar of spiced fig chocolate, spiced fig caramel and apricot fig chutney, all from Bernstein’s fig food product line.

The "girl" met her first fig in Florence in 1979, and though she's explored a lot of other fun fruits while building her small foodie empire in the Sonoma wine country, which includes two restaurants (she also has The Fig Café), a radio show, a book and more recently the Salon de Fromage, figs are still her faves.

Bernstein recommends the spiced fig chocolate to bake little tartlets. Or you can drizzle it on vanilla ice cream (and, we imagine, some Asian pears, for a unique twist on Poire Hélène) or serve it as a fondue with fruit, poundcake and marshmallows. However, we, having grown up on Nutella, have discovered a more sophisticated adult version in it. It’s to-die-for on a rustic piece of sourdough bread with a nice crust!

Suggested retail prices are $8.95 for Spiced Fig Chocolate and $8.25 for Spiced Fig Caramel. Fig Food products available at specialty markets throughout the country and from the Joie de Figue catalogue at www.thegirlandthefig.com.

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