Ina Garten's Tip For Sourcing Fig Leaves For Cheese Boards

Even when you're looking for them, fig leaves aren't always the easiest ingredient to find. Go ahead, "wine" about it — but not without a charcuterie board nearby.

According to Specialty Produce, fig leaves are large and broad in size, reaching up to 25 centimeters long and 18 centimeters wide. The taste, it says, is similar to the fragrance with notes of coconut, vanilla, and walnut. For this reason, fig leaves can make for a delicious, unexpected addition to the meats and cheeses on your charcuterie board. But what's a snacking sommelier to do if fig leaves are nowhere to be found?

Luckily, Ina Garten has come to the rescue — again. From cooking chicken and fall-off-the-bone-ribs to transforming tuna melts and even store-bought ice cream, the Barefoot Contessa has a tip for it all. Now, Garten shares her tip for sourcing fig leaves for cheese boards — and it might come as a bit of a surprise.

Ina Garten wants you to use those garden shears

The best place to find those elusive fig leaves isn't the grocery store or an online outlet: It's the flower shop. The Barefoot Contessa herself recommends visiting your local florist. Many florists, Garten says, also carry lemon or Galax leaves, which the chef suggests as a fitting substitute if fig leaves are out of reach.

To the right palette, fig leaves could be well worth the hunt. According to Specialty Produce, the sweet, nutty flavor profile of the fig leaves pairs well with fish sauce, peppers, chicken, apricots, red chile peppers, red curry paste, and more. But, if it is a cheese board or charcuterie board you are working on, as pointed out by Splendid Table, they are also great for wrapping cheeses.

Plus, if your florist comes through with flying colors and you now have an entire bushel of fig leaves on your hands, there are plenty of other uses for the ingredient in the kitchen: Fig leaves can be smoked into sugar for crumbly butter cookies, used for making teas, or arranged as wraps for seafood (via Specialty Produce).