Fig bites are easy and so delicious. Make this version with candied lemon and goat cheese. It’s the perfect gluten-free and vegetarian appetizer recipe!
Pat and I recently took a trip to Napa to do a little wine tasting. It’s so nice to get out of the city for a day trip and we love exploring new wineries! For this trip, we chose William Hill Estate. We decided to up our game a bit with their Collector’s Experience.
Wine Tasting at William Hill Estate Napa
The tasting features tasting from the “library” of the winery, aka wines from past vintages to their current releases. The oldest was a 2007 Meritage, which retails for almost $90 a bottle! It was interesting to line up glasses from different years and taste how the older wines compared to the younger varietals.
William Hill Estate also has a trail where you can explore the vineyards and places to sit to enjoy a glass of wine! They even put our wine in a nice “to-go” glass. They are dog-friendly, which was a huge plus for us.
The woman doing our tasting was incredibly knowledgeable and interesting to listen to! I’ve done many tastings, but I learned so much at William Hill Estate.
Basic Wine Tasting Facts
- The tongue has different zones for tasting, so it’s important to swish the wine around your whole mouth. Acidity is the outer sides of the tongue, the tip is where sweetness and residual sugar are appreciated, tannin structure is in the center and the back of the tongue tastes the alcohol.
- White wine keeps about 3-5 days in the fridge after opening, red keeps about 2 days. Using a vacuum sealer can extend wine’s life by about 24 hours but you will still notice some changes in the taste.
- Decanting wine helps to bind tannins and open up the wine, especially on aged red wines. Wine should be decanted for about 30-45 minutes. Any longer leads to volatile acids forming and the wine may oxidize.
- Aerators act like high-speed decanters, but just like the microwave versus a stove aren’t quite as good as actually decanting wine.
- Terroir literally translates to “sense of place” and is all of the components that go into wine like wind, sun, and soil composition. This can vary even within a few yards.
Bite-Size Recipes for Wine Pairing
Our tasting was accompanied by the most thoughtful bites featuring local cheeses and farms. It was absolute perfection!
In fact, they were so good I was inspired to recreate them for myself! I hope you enjoy these fig and candied lemon bites with goat cheese. I absolutely adore bite-sized appetizers! Nothing is worse than an awkward, hard to eat, messy appetizer! Inevitably I end up with something spilled down the front of my dress, frantically trying to wipe it off with a cocktail napkin.
Making Bite-Sized Appetizers
To make the candied lemons, I used this super complicated, shockingly time-consuming recipe from Epicurious. They were absolutely incredible and worth all of the crazy steps! That being said, it was absolutely worth it and I made a huge batch so I can give the rest away as gifts in cute jars! If you don’t want to spend two days (seriously!) making your own candied lemon peels feel free to follow the recipe of your choosing!
For the life of me, I couldn’t come up with a more creative name than fig and chèvre bites with candied lemon. (2 points for you if you help me out.)
Fig & Candied Lemon Bites with Chevre
A fig bites recipe for the best-candied lemon peels you will ever have, made in a huge quantity so you have plenty of leftovers for other uses or for gifts! Paired with fig and goat cheese, it makes the perfect bite-sized appetizer.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 30
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Stove + Oven
- Cuisine: American
- 12 lemons, washed
- 4 cups sugar
- 4 cups cold water
- 15 Figs
- 2 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
Make candied lemon peels:
- Quarter lemons lengthwise and remove peel (including white pith) in 1 piece from each quarter. I did this by carving the flesh out with a paring knife and then I used a spoon to scoop out the leftover flesh. Fruit can be set aside for another use.
- Cut the peel into approximately 1/4 inch squares or for other uses 1/3-inch-wide-strips.
- Put the peel in a large bowl and cover with cold water, then soak 1 hour. Drain in a colander.
- Blanch peel: transfer peel to a medium sized heavy pot. Cover the peel by 1 inch in cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, then drain in a colander. Repeat 2 more times.
- Cover with cold water one more time and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 more minutes, then drain in a colander.
- Return pot to stovetop and add 4 cups sugar and 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil until syrup registers 220°F, about 30 minutes.
- Add peel and simmer over low heat until translucent, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let peel stand in syrup, uncovered, at room temperature 8 to 12 hours.
- Return syrup with peel to a boil and boil, uncovered and undisturbed, until it registers 226°F on a thermometer, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand uncovered another 8 to 12 hours.
- Return syrup with peel to a boil one more time, uncovered and undisturbed, until it registers 228°F on a candy thermometer, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let peel and syrup stand uncovered, at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
- Reheat syrup with peel over low heat (careful as it will burn!) until the syrup has liquefied (peel will have absorbed most of the syrup), then drain peel in a colander, catching liquid contents in a bowl or pot as they may clog your drain!
- Immediately spread peel, separating pieces, on baking racks set onto cookie sheets and dry, uncovered, 8 to 24 hours. If they continue to be a bit sticky, you can bake them at 165F for 15-25 minutes.
Assemble the appetizer:
- Cut the figs crosswise into 1/4 inch slices, discarding top and bottom slice.
- Place a dab of goat cheese on each fig slice.
- Top each goat cheese with a piece of candied lemon and serve!
Candied Lemon Peels adapted from Epicurious
Keywords: dried fig appetizer, candied lemon peels, goat cheese fig appetizer, bite size appetizer
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