When Bob Cratchit in Charles Dickens',Christmas Carol' made his wishes for Christmas, he hoped for a new job, love and some figgy pudding. From the 16th century (at the latest) figgy pudding was one of the traditional dishes in English Lenten cuisine. The figs used were certainly South-European, and in the Middle Ages most of them came from Portugal. This article deals with five aspects of the production and trade of figs in the Portuguese realm. In the first two parts the article describes the production of these dried fruits and how local communities acted as protectors of the regional harvest. Then the units of measure of fig production in Portugal and their Arabic and Christian origin will be outlined, while the last two parts deal with the export of the dried fruits, chiefly to England and Flanders, and the direct connection between Portuguese and Hanseatic merchants. The article will show how important this trade was, given that the king of Portugal alone exported 400 tons of figs to Bruges at the end of the 15th century.
|Translated title of the contribution
|The saga of the Portuguese figs
|Number of pages
|Published - 2015