Capers and Condiments
The Domaine La Michelle grows also capers, reintroducing a forgotten local tradition.
Until the beginning of the XXth century, capers were growing on the hills and terraces of Auril, Cuges, and Aubagne. They were harvested by women, who abandoned this activity to replace men in essential activities at the beginning of the first World War.
Ideally suited to be cultivated on the narrow, dry terraces (restanques) typical of our region, the culture of capers had an obvious interest for Jean-François and Nelly Margier, who were always interested in the rehabilitation and traditional exploitation of the land. They planted about 100 caper plants between 1990 and 1993. Today, they produce between June and August about 100 kg / 220 lbs. of capers.
Every two days we harvest the small buds offering the perfect maturation. We pickle them in vinegar for two to three weeks. After that, we replace the vinegar and package them in small jars for sale at the Boutique du Moulin, our outlet, and in fine food stores.
The caper is a traditional ingredient of the Provencal cuisine: in Provencal, "tapen" means caper; it is the root of the word "tapenade", the famous paste made of olives, capers, and other ingredients. It brings its notes of acidity and spice to many other dishes: capers and anchovies on a country bread toasted with tapenade, with ray fish, in a salad with black olives, ripe tomatoes and rice. When the caper bud grows, it can still be harvested; it looks now like a gherkin and can be used the same way with a plate of cold cuts, for instance.