About Us

I was watching a TV episode filmed by the late Anthony Bourdain about twenty year's ago, the world-traveling food savant and close observer of local customs. He had done a show about historic Palermo then took a small plane to the magical island of Pantelleria.  The name means “Daughter of the Wind” in Arabic, and Pantelleria lives up to its name. I was quickly intrigued by this wind-blown desert island. No beaches, no fresh water or visible economy. Just a volcanic outcropping, 32 square miles of charcoal-colored lava and glossy black obsidian.  No wonder it has also been called “The Black Pearl.”

By any name, as I found out, the island is already well known to many food experts for producing the world’s best capers, those small, piquant flower buds long prized for the burst of flavor they can add to almost any savory thing we eat and drink. I learned that capers are the undeveloped flower of the Spinoza bush that thrives in the natural conditions of Pantelleria, which are very harsh to plant life: volcanic soil, the dry heat of the hot Mediterranean sun, constant, strong winds and very dry conditions, all perfect for the cultivation of capers and other herbs, especially oregano and rosemary. Picked by hand, sorted by size, and packed in that famous Trapani salt, Pantelleria capers are notable additions to whatever you may be cooking that day. Or drinking: caper berries and martinis are classic go-togethers. 

To keep the capers always handy -- as Italian cooks do – we’ve developed ceramic miniatures of the Dammusi, the ancient farmhouses that dot the island of Pantelleria. Made of lava stone with a rounded roof to catch rainwater – there’s no other water source on the island – the Dammuso is not only our logo, it’s the perfect place to store capers and caper berries as you cook. Here’s how: estimate how many capers/berries you’ll be using this week and rinse off the salt in cold water.  Then pour them into the ceramic Dammuso, and add a few drops of your best olive oil. Keep the balance of your salted capers and berries in the plastic bag, stored in a cool dry cabinet out of direct sunlight -- and always within easy reach!

- John A. Savittieri