Monday, November 24, 2008

Review: ORTIGIA Fico d'India

Transliteration of the Italian fico d'India may be Indian fig, but it is really neither fig nor from (the real) India. Less glorified, it is a type of very garden-variety cactus -- the prickly pear.

It grows in almost every continent, and is common in the Mediterranean and North Africa, besides Mexico and the Americas. The green succulent pads have a mild vegetable taste when cooked, sort of like a cross between green beans, okra, and artichoke; and the bright magenta fruit has a sweet, watermelon-apple-kiwi flavor.

However, that said, Ortigia Fico d'India (an acqua di colonia), confoundingly, smells rather more like a fig/figuier fragrance than a prickly pear one -- certainly not the fruit, anyway. Very grassy and vegetal and somewhat like Profumum Ichnusa, i.e. fig leaf with an undertone of something vaguely milky.

Ortigia's copy calls Fico d'India a 'dry, almost velvety scent, which mirrors the plant: dusky pale green with explosions of remarkable orange flowers.' Well, it doesn't seem to me at all velvety or particularly dry, though green and fresh like aloe -- and not too interesting. But pleasant for the Bath & Shower Gel, which, enhanced with olive oil and collagen, is wonderfully moisturizing. Its bottle looks quite nice, too... but I think they've transformed Dionysus into a woman! Or hermaphrodite.

ortigia product images from
cactus image from
detail of floor tile mosaic in Pella, Greece, of Dionysus on leopard, also from

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