Set in the southern part of the Gulf of Naples, Capri is part of Italy’s Campania region, which is most famous for its pizza (originating in Naples), water buffalo mozzarella (the vast majority of Italy’s water buffalo come from this region), a variety of handmade pastas, fresh locally-caught fish and seafood, and limoncello (the sweet, bright yellow liqueur made from, most famously, lemon rinds from Sorrento).
As is the case throughout Italy, lunch is typically the biggest, most social meal of the day and can consist of up to four courses with extras (salad, cheese course) along the way. The usual progression goes something like this:
-antipasti (literally “before the pasta”, prosciutto and melon is common);
-primi piatti (first plate, most often pasta);
-secondi piatti (the main course of meat or fish, and served with contorni, side dishes of vegetables); then
-il dolce (dessert, such as tiramisu, pannacotta, or torta caprese).
When dining out, bread or grissini are automatically brought to the table and will appear on the bill later as part of the il coperto (cover charge) or pane e coperto (a nominal bread and cover charge).
One of the world’s most iconic dishes, this is simply fresh water buffalo mozzarella, sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil (and sometimes vinegar), and basil leaves - white, red and green, just like the national flag.
Ravioli all Caprese
While ravioli is considered by some to be a Genoese speciality, Capri’s version has gained global recognition. Recipes tend to be heavily-guarded secrets, but typically the thin, handmade pasta is filled with a mixture of aged cacciota cheese (a semi-soft, tangy cows and/or ewe’s milk cheese most famously from Umbria and Tuscany), eggs, herbs (often marjoram), and other grated cheeses (anything from parmesan to buffalo mozzarella). The delicate parcels are then topped with a simple tomato sauce and garnished with basil.
Totani (cuttlefish) is fished all around Capri at night and appears in a number of dishes, most typically con patate (sauteed with peppers then simmered in white wine with potatoes) or ripieni (stuffed with cheese and herbs and simmered in a light tomato sauce).
Pezzogna all’acqua pazza
A type of spotted bream common in the Bay of Naples, the fish is gently simmered in “crazy water”, an ironically sober cooking liquor generally consisting of water, salt, oil and tomatoes. Often served with crusty bread.
Like the popular boquerones in Ibiza, these are fresh white anchovies marinated in vinegar (or lemon juice) and oil.
This flourless almond and dark chocolate torte is often likened to an American brownie.
Unsurprisingly, Capri’s proximity to the official home of the pizza (Naples) means many restaurants serve Campania’s famous export.
AND TO DRINK...
Vinified from the Falanghina, Greco and Biancolella grapes, it’s a good match for fish and seafood. It’s rumoured that Tiberius was such a fan of the wine that his friends nicknamed him “Biberius” (or “Lush”).
What to Eat: Capri
When in Capri...Caprese Salad at Lido del Faro
Sublime: ravioli alla Caprese and the lightest gnocchi with creamy pesto at La Rondinella, Anacapri.
Daily catch at La Rondinella, Anacapri
Melanzane at Aurora - not as pretty at the celebrity clientele but tasty enough
Best dish of the trip: pasta with burrata, alici and tomatoes. Lido del Faro Restaurant.
Top-class gelato at Bar Embassy, Capri.