This is the season of lists, and when people ask me what a food writer recommends as a great gift, I think of Fran's Chocolates. While Fran Bigelow's gray and smoked salted caramels get much of the (well-deserved) attention, her double chocolate figs have me swooning even more.
This delicacy is made with a whole, dried Calimyrna fig, which some describe as the filet mignon of figs. It resembles a baby pumpkin--though a pumpkin with chocolate inside (a ganache made of semisweet chocolate pieces and heavy whipping cream) and outside (a couverture of dark chocolate).
They run about $5 each, but that's a small price to pay for chocolate perfection.
So what do Fran's double chocolate figs teach us about sex?Basically, they are sex.
Chocolate's long been considered an aphrodisiac, with the presence of phenylethylamine and theobromine providing stimulative effect. Figs have a similar, long-time association with sex. They're good for sexual health, as they contain nutrients beneficial for stamina and fertility. Figs, in fact, were likely the actual forbidden fruit, with Adam and Eve wearing fig leaves to cover their own "fruits."
If you've ever sliced open a fig, you get more of the sexual connection, as a split fig, bursting with pinkish-red color, makes you feel like you've found a vagina. No surprise, then, that the Greek word sykon translates to both fig and vulva.
The whole process of making a chocolate-stuffed fig is a metaphor for sex. First comes the foreplay. According to Bigelow's recipe, you prepare a fig for stuffing "by gently rolling between your thumb and fingers to loosen the seeds and soften the flesh." The next step: Insert something thin into the bottom of the fig and "wiggle it to enlarge the hole slightly for stuffing."
Now it's time to wrap that ganache (play it safe) in a pastry bag and then "insert [it] into the fig's bottom." You want to "gently squeeze" and "thrust until the creamy explosion fills the engorged area, and you hear moans of fig-filled ecstasy."
Okay, I made up that last quote, but if fruits could feel and express themselves, that would be the outcome.
Sound far-fetched? Well, note that Bigelow instructs that just before penetration (or engulfment, if you prefer), "hold each fig's stem gently between your index and middle fingers."
Ah, yes, the "stem." See, it's all about pleasure.