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Capers occupy a permanent post in the Mediterranean flora. Between May and September caper bushes begin to flower and the buds becomes what we know as capers.
Pantelleria island is a hot, dry, wind-swept volcanic island south of Sicily and east of Tunisia. The capers from Pantelleria are the best of all. For four main reasons: the island's volcanic soil give the capers their particular taste; the temperature of the island alternates between hot days and cool nights giving the capers their strong fragrance; there is a rich tradition of growing and picking capers on Pantelleria; and last but not least, the particular caper variety, which grows only on Pantelleria (the cultivar spinosa nocellara), is very special and rare. Pantelleria capers are so unique, they are the only capers that are certified IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta).
La Nicchia started to pick capers in 1949 and the activity continues according to the local tradition and culture. The capers are harvested early in the season when they are still small, firm, and green. Workers endure hot sun, sharp thorns and rugged terrain throughout the summer to pick the precious buds as they ripen. Once picked, the capers are preserved in sea salt from Trapani which maintains their fragrance and consistency. The whole process is artisanal and done entirely by hand, including the packing of the capers in jars and bags.
The capers from la Nicchia have a tight and snappy texture and a mild, slightly floral flavor. It is easy to use these capers. In a strainer, just rinse the capers under water to remove the salt used for preservation. Pat them dry with a towel, and they are ready to use. La Nicchia capers can be used to make sauces and dishes like spaghetti con bottarga and caponata. You can also use them to garnish meat and fish or mix them in salads, or to top pizzas.
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