Of all the dried fruits there are, dried figs are probably/obviously the best.
But Hungry Sam, you ask, how can you discount the wide world of other dried fruits?
Easily! I answer. I mean, raisins? Don't make me laugh. Apricots? Better than raisins, but never as intriguing as a plump, dried turkish or black mission fig. Carob? What am I, a dog? Blueberries, strawberries, apples, bananas? Weak, at best.
Ah, but FIGS! Figs are complex, they have real, fascinating, texture, sweet, nutty flavor, and they instantly transport me to the Levant and Near East; they make me think of the lunches of countless ages of nomads wandering the emptiness between city states and oases.
But you know what's INFINITELY BETTER? Of course you do, because you saw the title to this post!
Honeyed, melon-y, succulent, juicy, plump, fresh, off the tree black mission figs.
Oh my god. I had my first fresh fig only a year ago (Jen's neighbors have a tree), and have only had perhaps a dozen in my life, but they're memorable, each one. They have an otherworldly-looking interior, with weird-tentacly tendrils, and each one looks a little different inside. The flavor is sweet but not saccharine and presents irresistible honeydew tones. Because the sugars are still dissolved in the fruit's juices and not crystalized, fresh figs have a smoother texture and don't have the grittiness of the dried fruit. Each bite pierces through taut skin and a thin, soft flesh, right into the aforementioned interior.