Mark Rotella, the grandson of Calabrese migrants, persuades his father to visit the region for the first time in thirty years. They arrive unannounced in his grandparent's village and are welcomed as if they'd been expected all along. Thus begins the first of many visits by Rotella to Calabria to 'water his Calabrese roots'.
He meets Giuseppe, a postcard photographer, who becomes his guide to all things Calabrese. They travel the region together and Giuseppe initiates Rotella into its secrets - how to make soppressata and 'nduja, where to find hidden chapels and grottos, and, of course, how to steal a fig without actually committing a crime.
Stolen Figs is a marvellous evocation of Calabria and the Calabresi. It is an entertaining and insightful memoir that doubles as a fascinating travel guide - full of the earthy and unpretentious way of life of a region that is largely untouched by commerce or tourism.