Caravaglio Capers
Food & Drink — Eat

Caravaglio Capers

Italy

Mood of Living  /  Jan 6, 2015

Antonio Caravaglio, Caravaglio Capers founder, has devoted his life to preserving and sharing local tradition.

Antonio Caravaglio, Caravaglio Capers founder, has devoted his life to preserving and sharing local tradition. Caravaglio grew up on an island off the coast of Sicily called Salina, one of seven islands that make up Le Isole Eolie (the Eolian Islands). He comes from a generation of farmers; so it came as no surprise that he would follow in his family’s footsteps.

After studying agriculture in Messina, Sicily, Caravaglio returned home to Salina where he started his own caper and wine company at the age of 25. His vision was to share the long tradition of caper making across the globe.

Q & A with Antonio Caravaglio

 
Antonio Caravaglio

Antonio Caravaglio Founder of Caravaglio Capers

Mood of Living: What is your occupation?

Antonio Caravaglio: Wine and capermaker.

MoL: How would describe your occupation?

AC: My work is one of maintaining the agriculture that is typical to our area. Agriculture here is our main economy.

MoL: Before becoming a capermaker you were..

AC: I come from a family of agricultural farmers. My family was growing and selling locally. I studied agriculture in school. Then, after my studies, I started my own wine and caper company – growing, producing, packaging and distributing.

MoL: What inspired you to become a capermaker?

AC: The island and my family.  As a boy, I had two options: to be a farmer or sailor. I chose farmer.

Caper plant
Caper plant
Cucunci (caper berries)
Cucunci (caper berries)
MoL: Where did you learn your craft?

AC: By studying. I went to school for agriculture. It taught me theory, but the practice, that I learned from my family, a generation of farmers.

MoL: Why are capers in Salina considered the best?

AC: Because here in Salina, we have been cultivating capers for centuries. We have become masters of this trade. When planting capers, we make it so each generation is genetically identical as the generation before. Therefore, all the capers are the same. Plus, they grow everywhere in Salina! We have a great climate for them to grow. But, what really makes them taste the best, as well as differ from other capers, is that they are hard on the inside, not airy or empty like others.

MoL: Why is Salina so green and fertile in comparison to the other Eolian Islands?

AC: Because Salina has the highest mountain and absorbs the most water.

MoL: Where do you look for inspiration?

AC: From this island. I am very attached to Salina. It inspires me every day.

MoL: Do you have a hobby?

AC: I listen to lots of classical music in my free time. Composers like Mozart and Bach are some of my favorites. I also like to go fishing for tuna.

MoL: What is your favorite quote?

AC: Beautiful places make good wine.

MoL: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

AC: I hope to be continuing to expand my business globally and to be introducing my products to new places.

MoL: Do you have any words of wisdom?

AC: Live in the moment. Don’t just say you want to do something – do it!

MoL: What advice can you give anyone interested in starting his or her own business?

AC: Do what you love. Because if you have a passion for what you do, it will bring you forward in life. If you want to get into this business, you have to start locally but always think globally. In this sense, make and produce the best local product around, then market it in the global economy.

MoL: In what countries do you sell capers?

AC: The U.S.A., Norway, Canada, Great Britain, and Germany

MoL: Where can we buy your capers in the US?

AC: Dean & DeLuca and Eataly

MoL: How are capers best served?

AC: By themselves. With a little vinegar, olive oil, and raw garlic.

MoL: How long does the caper plant last?

AC: A caper plant is like a tree – a short tree. It lasts forever. There are plants here that over 200 years old.

  • Capers ready to eat

    Capers ready to eat

  • Capermaking process

    Capermaking process

  • Caper plant

    Caper plant

  • Jar of cucunci (caper berries)

    Jar of cucunci (caper berries)

  • Salina Island

    Salina Island

 
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Photography courtesy of Helena Picone

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