Earlier this month I was introduced to Caprera, an online marketplace fighting for independent food and drink producers throughout the UK. With a convenient single delivery system, customers can order a variety of products, from handmade jams to small batch gin, all in one convenient delivery.
I’m a big fan of finding more about the people being products, so I was excited to have a nosy and find out more. It’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed, and was quickly wishing there was a warning accompanying the website. Everything looks delicious, and if you’re already the tiniest bit hungry a quick peruse will leave you completely ravenous.
I was sent a few treats to try, and they completely lived up to my expectations. Salty sweet the fudge was perfect, and the dense sticky gingerbread tray bake had a delicious spicy kick.
After recovering from a slight sugar coma I was given the chance to interview Caprera’s founder Jeremy Hibbert-Garibaldi, asking him a few questions about their producers and their plans for the future…
How do you decide who fits the bill?
We want to make good food accessible, and good food is not only about local or organic. What we are looking for is savoir-faire, human involvement in the production process and sustainable ways of production. It is all about artisan people passionate about what they do and you can easily tell when listening to their stories and tasting their products that they do. In addition to visiting them, enquiring their production process and tasting the quality of their products, we have a list of criteria, such as no food additives, not mass-produced and therefore not sold in supermarkets for example.
Part of our mission is to give access to our customers to delicacies coming from all over the UK (and recently from abroad) which are not so easy to find, most of the time sold only on farmers’ markets or in small regional delicatessen shops. By doing so, we support at the same time our independent producers and give them the opportunity to reach more customers. These artisan products are most of the time produced in small-batch and the stories and family recipes they bring with them are unique.
This is why storytelling is so important at Caprera, and we are doing our best, through video documentaries, interviews, magazine articles and producers’ pages, to let our customers discover these great people. It is probably also a way to support cultural patrimony and diversity. It is an additional criteria, all our producers have a unique story to share.
Finally, an important criteria, at Caprera there is no middleman. We want our customers to buy directly from our producers while we will handle the logistics to offer them a consolidated delivery. This is an important point which means that when we accept to sell an olive oil from Italy for example, we are dealing directly with the independent producer and not an importer or reseller. It guarantees the best price for the customers and they know what goes to the producers at the end of the day. A real improvement in a world where classic retailers lack transparency.
What would be your perfect hamper?
I am personally a big fan of the hamper for a dinner party. It covers most of my favourite products: charcuterie, olive oil and seasonings, but also some additional goodies such as old cheese and savoury biscuits.
It is always a very difficult question to have to choose only a few products from all these amazing products we have tried and we love. I would probably go for the dried beef from Dorset Charcuterie, the Old Tom gin from Jensen’s and the macadamia nut and white chocolate chip brownies from Crosbies.
Will you be expanding your range, what’s next for Caprera?
We have currently more than 50 producers in the family and about 30 more currently going through the on-boarding process. The range of products will continue to expand, and I can promise you, we are on a daily basis so impressed and proud of the number of independent producers we can find through the UK and how creative they can be in producing unique, innovative and most important so good products.
We have started opening our doors to foreign producers, one in Italy and one in Greece. We will keep exploring these opportunities as my dream would be to offer in the future to our customers the best Mediterranean olive oils, old gouda from the Netherlands, pepper from Cambodia or saffron from Iran, directly from its producers while discovering how rich is our world.
Have you a dream product you’d love to stock?
Our current focus includes sparkling English wines as we have tried some great ones and I think they should be on more tables, even more with spring being here. Other ones would be either my Italian grand-mother pasta sauces or my French one homemade jams, but this sounds like a dream.
So there you have it, definitely a brand to watch out for! Jeremy clearly has big plans for the future, and with products so delicious you’d be mad not to give them a try. My delivery came beautifully packaged, and without a doubt a selection from Caprera would be the perfect gift for a foodie friends.
Disclaimer: We were sent few treats from Caprera and asked for our honest opinion. We were under no obligation to eat them all in one sitting, but with food this tasty it’s impossible not to.