With a jar of these capers from Kazzen in your pantry, you’ve got a flavor explosion at your fingertips. Briny and tart, with an unmistakable umami edge, these little buds are a secret ingredient in some of our favorite punchy Italian dishes. Unlike the capers you find here in the U.S., which are usually packed in a vinegar brine just like pickles, Italian capers are dry-packed in salt. This helps concentrate their flavor rather than diluting it into the surrounding liquid.
Capers are the young buds of a flowering shrub that grows across the Mediterranean region. The only way to harvest capers is in the early morning, to catch them when they’re most tightly closed. Too small to be harvested by machine, they must be picked by hand, then left to dry for a few days before packing. When it comes to Italian capers, one region rises above the rest: the island of Pantelleria, off the southwest coast of Sicily near Tunisia. Caper bushes are one of the few native plants that thrive in the island’s dry, rocky terrain and intense heat, and Pantelleria capers are known to be the most flavorful and largest in Italy.
Run by three brothers from Pantelleria, Kazzen is dedicated to sharing the unique bounty of their home with the rest of Italy and the world. A true labor of love, Kazzen uses traditional methods and recipes to continue the flavorful legacy of their island.