Italian Pepper/Olive???

I was in Palermo, Italy last September and had a great anti-pasta plate at a hotel bar. On the plate was a pepper the size and shape of an olive. It was green like an olive but soft like a pepper. Nobody at the bar spoke English and none of us spoke Italian, so we never found out what we were eating. We did not run into these peppers any place else in Italy. Anybody have any idea what they were??

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14 Comments

creamtea September 8, 2011
You can find caperberries in the U.S. I've only tried the Roland brand, a little stronger and more vinegary than what I tasted when in Italy, but there are other brands: http://www.amazon.com/Bel-Aria-Caperberries-Stems-15-75/dp/B001UP1BQ6
 
pierino September 8, 2011
Peppers are a New World product and didn't really take off in Europe until the sixteenth century, but then they went everywhere back and forth. Sicily, "always occupied, never conquered" had waves of invaders bringing new twists to ancient cuisine. Sometimes these things have dialect names that are impossible to pronounce properly, even in Italian. Capers though, are native to the Mediterranean. But you must distinguish between the flower buds and the berries which can be quite large.
 
boulangere September 7, 2011
Maybe Pierino will chime in here . . .
 
aynsleyt September 7, 2011
We had these as part of a cheese tray at a local beer tasting. I could NOT for the life of me remember what they were called, but they are the "caper berries" in the rosti recipe picture!!! Thanks!
 
hardlikearmour July 12, 2011
Awesome! I was just going to suggest taking a peek at the picture for this recipe which shows giant caper berries. http://www.food52.com/recipes/7937_rosti_with_gravlax_caper_berries_and_horsradish_cream
 
mrathmel July 12, 2011
SOLVED!!! Thanks to TonyS and SKK. They were giant caper berries. Thank you for helping us solve this mystery!
 
SKK July 12, 2011
Just asked a friend of mine who spent a lot of time in Italy, and he says - much like Tony S - that it sounds like a giant caper.
 
mrathmel July 12, 2011
yes, it was spicy. Vinegary like an olive and not too spicy heat-wise. I'll check out caper berries. Are they as large as an olive?
 
Tony S. July 12, 2011
Was the "pepper" spicy? Could it have possibly been a caper berry?
 
mrathmel July 12, 2011
Thanks for the link hardlikearmour, but that isn't the pepper we had. Someone last night told me to check through olives. What is throwing me off of olives is that the pepper was not hard. It was soft and had seeds like a pepper. There was a stem and the fruit itself was not smooth like an olive, but kind of patterned??? I am going to make a call to the hotel as soon as we can track it down. In the meantime, thanks for all the responses. What a great resource!
 
hardlikearmour July 12, 2011
I wonder if it was a green cherry pepper. Like the Cherry Pick Hybrid on this page: http://www.tomatogrowers.com/sweet.htm
 
mrathmel July 11, 2011
Thanks to ibbeachnana and sexyLAMBCHOPx, but neither link looks like the pepper we had. SexyLAMBCHOPx, I like your idea about calling the hotel bar. I'm going to give it a try. If I come up with an answer, I'll post it. Thanks again for your help!
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx July 11, 2011
Perhaps a vinegar pepper?
Look at this photo and the description:
http://www.food52.com/recipes/13242_pork_chops_and_vinegar_peppers

If not, have someone who speaks Italian and call the hotel bar and ask on your behalf - why not?
 
ibbeachnana July 11, 2011
I'm curious to know the answer as well. Looked at the peppers from the site below and if the Incas were greens, could be a possibility as they grow green to orange. Filius Blue? Backyardgardener.com has a great list but no photos, but good descriptions.

If you look at the first photo on "Tutta la cultura piccante" fthere are some smalll green peppers that look like green olives.

http://www.peperoncino.org/old/
 
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