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Thursday, 10 July 2008

Sicilian Item of the day : Cucunci

Nobody knew how good it tasted, until Sicilians revealed one of their best kept culinary secrets : Cucunci.

Cucunci is not quiet a caper. It is even more: like a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly, so too, do caper buds - if not picked - turn into a beautiful. And in my opinion, the most beautiful flower ever.

When a bud flowers, you typically lose the fruit...but with Cucunci, right after the flower buds, magically another fruit grows, even tastier than the humble caper that originally was.

Reputed to kindle the appetite, lower blood pressure, mitigate toothache, lower cholesterol and increase ones libido, capers are ubiquitous and plentiful on the beautiful volcanic Aeolian islands off the coast of Sicily. They turn up in antipasti, in salads, with pasta, meat, fish or as snacks and they’re preserved either with dry salt, in brine, wine vinegar or sott’olio (in olive oil).

Yes, capers and cucunci are really big in Sicily and even have own little festival : La sagra del Cappero (Caper Festival).
This bizzarre festival takes place in Pollara, in the island of Salina, part of the Aeolian archipelago. It is a fiesta of food, music and street games in the main square, all in honour of the humble caper. La sagra del Cappero is celebrated every year, on the first weekend of June.


  1. Yum, I love capers! Last May I went caper picking with friends in Sicily. Not just the caper, but the tender leaves too were placed under oil for a delicious caper salad. -- Love your blog!

  2. I too am an addict of capers. The "tender leaves" you are talking about, is that the flower, otherwise known as Cucunci? This is my favourite part of the caper. In fact, we wrote a post on this,

    By the way, your books seems amazing!