The protected geographical name "Fico Bianco del Cilento" refers to the dried product of the cultivar "dotted", a valuable variety of fig diffused throughout the Mezzogiorno. In particular, the protected product is the one derived from a specific type of the cultivar, which has been selected and spread in Cilento over the centuries: the "White of the Cilento".
Product having unique characteristics and of absolute value, appreciated also abroad, the "white fig of Cilento" DOP owes its denomination to the uniform pale yellow colour of the peel of the dried fruits, which becomes brown for the fruits that have Undergone a baking process in the oven. The pulp is of a typical pasty consistency, with a very sweet taste, of amber yellow colour, with mostly empty aches and internal receptacle almost entirely full. These characteristics, considered of excellence for the commercial category of dried figs, are precisely the distinguishing traits that qualify the "Bianco del Cilento" DOP on the markets.
Packaged with natural in different shapes (cylindrical, coronal, spherical, bag) The figs of the Cilento are also marketed in the ancient way, places that is in bulk in baskets made of material of plant origin that can reach even twenty Kilos of weight. A traditional preparation still in use is the one that sees the figs "fenced", which are threaded into two parallel wooden slats to form the "spatulas" or "Mustaccioli".
The "Fico Bianco del Cilento" DOP is also placed on the market with almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, fennel seeds, citrus peels (ingredients from the same production area) or covered with chocolate, or even immersed in rum, with the objective To broaden the range of the offer, especially at Christmas time. More and more sought after are also dried figs and then gilded in the oven, especially those stuffed. Precious, but increasingly rare for high preparation costs, are the worlds figs, without peel, with a clear colour tending to pure white and with a delicious flavour.
The valuable characteristics of the product as described are due, in addition to the intrinsic qualities of the variety, also to the environment of cultivation and processing of fruits. Indeed, the mitigating action of the sea and the barrier posed by the chain of the Apennines to the cold winter currents coming from the northeast, together with the good fertility of the soil and an optimal pluviometric regime represent the ideal conditions Soil-climatic for the production of figs in Cilento. Moreover, it is important to place the right emphasis on the fact that, in addition to cultivation, the drying and processing phases of the product are carried out in full in the geographical area of production, in agricultural structures and rural buildings, in a harmonious process of Interaction between product, man and environment. The simplicity of cultivation and the resistance of the plant to phytopathological adversity, then, have allowed the cultivation to gain also the liking of the Cilento farmer who has always placed the fig tree in his company, in specialized culture or Subsidiary.
It should not be forgotten, moreover, the function carried out by this cultivation in the maintenance of the landscape and the rural area, from which it seems almost inseparable.
The introduction into the fig Cilento seems to be before the sixth century A. C. It is to be attributed to the Greek settlers who in this area had founded several cities.
Famous authors of the Roman era have praised the characteristics of the agricultural products of Cilento including dried figs. In many documents, in fact, it seems obvious how the dried fig tree is the identification of the area of Cilento. Cato, and then Varro, said that dried figs were commonly used in Cilento and Lucania as a food base for the labor employed in the fields. It is easy to understand how this millennial coexistence has strongly influenced the local culture, which transpires in idioms, in stories, in fairy tales and in everything that is an expression of the human imagination.
Still, in the middle of 1400 is documented, in the "Quaterno customs of the Marine of Cilento" (1486), the existence of a flourishing activity of production and marketing of dried figs, started on the main Italian markets as a valuable food. The "Fico Bianco del Cilento" DOP has gradually evolved, from "bread of the poor", as it was once defined, to precious food to be consumed especially at Christmas time.
Figs, therefore, have always been a significant source of income but also basic food for local populations in difficult historical periods, thanks to the abundance of them and the possibility of storing them for the whole time of the year with Drying. In fact, it owes its secular tenacity and the capacity of Cilento producers if today we have a product of absolute quality. Fig plants for millennia have thus contributed to characterize the rural landscape of Cilento becoming, together with the olive, the icon of the local peasant civilization..
The production area of the "Fico Bianco del Cilento" DOP includes 68 municipalities, located south of Salerno, from the coastal hills of Agropoli to the Bussento and largely included in the area of the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano.