Diodoros – The Capers of the Valley

Diodoros – The Capers of the Valley” are spontaneous capers harvested within the Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the Temples. They belong to the same family of the famous capers of Pantelleria, even if they are smaller and more fragrant, being a non-cultivated but spontaneous species: a small woody shrub (Capparis spinosa) widespread throughout the Mediterranean basin. The flower bud, improperly called fruit, is consumed above all of the caper, whereas the real fruit is the so called “cucunci”, which is made up of fertilized flowers and is characterized by an ovoid shape, a fleshy consistency and an intense flavor.

In nature there are many botanical varieties of caper plant: in the Valley of the Temples it is possible to find rare specimens of a variety of capers absolutely free of thorns (Capparis spinosa Var. Inermis).

Since ancient times, many authors have focused on the beneficial properties of capers; the caper is mentioned in the Bible (Ecclesiastes), where it is presented as an aphrodisiac. Even Dioscorides and Galen, famous doctors of classical antiquity, celebrated the healing properties of the plant as an antirheumatic, digestive and diuretic remedy.

Moreover, among the Romans a medicated wine, obtained by macerating, for about two months, natural caper buds with juniper berries, was renowned.