Fico Bianchelle (local variety of fig)
Ficus carica L.
RISK OF EROSION: High
Medium-high vigor tree with semi-upright to open habit. The variety is uniferous and produces only a type of fruit (forniti). These are globular in shape, with a flat apex and a slightly depressed ostiole. They are uniformly small (34 grams). The neck is absent or short. The ostiol is very large, without a drop, with large scales, of the same color as the epidermis and adherent; it is also resistant to cracking. The petiole is short and thick and the abscission from the branch occurs easily. The peel, with a medium-hard consistency, is green in color with an irregularly shaped yellow overcolor. The lenticels are scarce, white in color and large. Easy to peel, with prominent longitudinal lines on the surface of the fruit and overall, very sparse longitudinal cracks. The flesh is amber to red in color, with a not very pronounced flavor, medium texture, very small seeds.
The ripening of the fruits takes place from the beginning of September and continues to climb until the beginning of the following month.
The Fico Bianchelle is perhaps the best known and most characteristic variety of fig in Amelia, although many other varieties have been present along with this for some time. The renown of this variety is undoubtedly due to the use that in the past was used for its fruits. The Bianchelle were in fact the main drying figs.
An important historical source in this regard is discussed extensively by Dr. Mancinelli Arturo, in one of his writings dated 1925, entitled “The figs and plums of Amelia”. In giving an account of the main varieties of fig (and plum) grown at the time, the author delves into the technical aspects of fruit processing and packaging.
The figs of this variety were placed to dry on racks made by manually weaving common cane stems (Arundo donax L.), called “camorcanne”. The late ripening of the Fico Bianchelle (September) often meant that the process was accompanied or completely replaced with drying «in the common bread oven […] at a temperature of 40 to 50 degrees» (Mancinelli, 1925). Once the drying was finished, the packaging process began. In this regard, Mancinelli distinguishes between home packaging, made by peasant families for self-consumption or for the local market, and industrial packaging, for sale in Italian and foreign city markets. In the first case the craftsmanship led to the creation of “sertoni” and “mattonelle”.
On the industrial preparation front, Mancinelli specifies that the manufacturing of the tile follows the artisanal one, except for the fact that the shape has been modified «in order to make it more marketable and with a greater aesthetic effect». However, the procedure provides that the figs, dried in the sun and selected, «are split according to the longitudinal diameter, seasoned with toasted almonds and chocolate and finally pressed under an iron press». At the time of his writing, Mancinelli reports that the companies that deal with the packaging of «wheels and tiles of seasoned figs» are different, although in importance he only mentions «the award-winning company A. Girotti and the food company of Amelia di Varazi and Del Pezzo.
TYPICAL PRODUCTION AREA
This variety was once widely grown and cultivated in Amelia.
Variety for fresh consumption. Traditionally it was the most used fig for drying and the production of the famous dried figs of Amelia.
Texts taken from “Regional Register of Autochthonous Genetic Resources of the Umbria Region”