I never gave much thought to my surroundings growing up. Home was just home – the place I had always known. I had my chores, but nothing was completely dependent on me. I think that’s how it usually is – until you become an adult. And then suddenly, responsibilities that you never even thought of are on your plate along with everything else.


It’s become somewhat of a running joke in our family that I’ve turned into a “country girl”, but it’s true in a lot of ways. I am doing things I never, ever imagined I would be doing. Take the last few weeks – I’ve made jam, frozen figs for later, baked bread, made mayo, and baked up some granola bars for snacks.

Ten years ago, I didn’t know how to cook anything. And if you think I’m exaggerating…well, I wish I was. I could boil water to make boxed mac and cheese, but that was as complicated as I got in the kitchen. So to even think about making bread or cheese at home is still a bit shocking and unreal.

frei brothers zinfandel

After finally learning how to cook and having land of our own to take care of and preserve, Nick and I have found a good balance of using what we have available whenever possible.

And one of the biggest perks we inherited with this house when we bought it 3 years ago? The 2 fig bushes in our yard. Until 3 years ago, I had never had a fresh fig. I didn’t even know they could grow in Virginia! And now, all of a sudden, I’m drowning in fresh figs from August through October and I’ve had to learn to keep up, to use what we’ve been given, and to preserve them for the months to come.

wine poached figs 1

Besides freezing and turning into jam and slicing on pizza (or just eating over yogurt with honey and walnuts), another way I’ve been learning to stretch the fig season and enjoy what we have is to come up with new ways of serving them for dessert. There’s only so many times you want to have the same roasted or chocolate dipped figs. Thanks to a challenge with Kitchen PLAY and Frei Brothers Reserve winery, I came up with my new favorite way to eat figs.

wine poached figs 2

Figs, poached in Frei Brothers Reserve Zinfandel, some honey, a bit of vanilla, and some orange juice, that are then chilled and served over ricotta cheese with shaved dark chocolate.

It’s not complicated. It barely takes any time to make. But it sure does look impressive.

Zinfandel Poached Figs with Ricotta and Dark Chocolate

Looking for a new way to serve figs? This dessert is perfect for a fancy dinner party or a relaxing night at home. The cook time is minimal, and you just can't beat the flavor of the wine sauce paired with the creamy ricotta and dark chocolate.


  • 1 cup Frei Brothers Reserve Zinfandel
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 8 fresh figs
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ oz. dark chocolate


  1. In a medium saucepan, mix the wine with the honey, orange juice, and vanilla bean paste. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  2. Add the figs to the wine and let them cook, simmering, for about 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened and reduced.
  3. Turn the figs every few minutes so they cook in the wine on each side.
  4. Remove the pan from heat, and pour the figs and sauce into a bowl. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge to cool for at least an hour.
  5. To serve, spoon a ½ cup of ricotta into a shallow dish, top with 4 figs, spoon some of the wine sauce over them, and grate some dark chocolate over the top.
  6. Pair with a glass of Frei Brothers Reserve Zinfandel.

Like my property is my place worth preserving, Frei Brothers Reserve works hard to preserve Frei Ranch where they employ several sustainable practices including their 50/50 giveback program where they preserve an acre of land for every acre they plant in grape vines. Pretty awesome, right?

Frei Brothers Reserve together with National Geographic Traveler is currently hosting a photo contest on their Facebook page, encouraging others to share their “places”worth preserving for a chance to win monthly prizes as well as the grand prize trip to Frei Brothers Reserve winery and Yosemite National Park. Want to find more recipes or share your Place Worth Reserving? Make sure to check out Frei Brothers Reserve online and on Facebook for more information.

This post was sponsored by Frei Brothers Reserve in partnership with Kitchen PLAY. All opinions are my own.


  1. This is such a gorgeous recipe! Those figs sound awesome!

  2. I would love to have a fig tree in my backyard…how lucky you are!! I’ve never had wine poached figs but they sure do look delicious!

  3. Oh my, how divine! This dish looks wonderful :)

  4. I’ve never had figs before (gasp! I know), but I have a feeling this would be the perfect way to try them.

  5. Oh now thiiiiiiis is what I want.

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