After tasting probably the finest pepper in the world, we’ve realized that the generic pepper eaten at home is flavourless and uninspiring. We think we can do better.
Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice. Today, Americans consume more pepper than all other spices combined and pepper makes up about one-fourth of the world’s trade in spices.
Pepper has been around for ever; the plant is native to India and has been used in cooking since 2000 BCE. In fact, pepper was such a prized trade good that it was referred to as “black gold” and used as a currency.
Peppercorns come from a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae. The vine’s fruit is green when it’s fresh. Once it’s dried, we get black, red or white peppercorns. Pepper has demonstrated significant health benefits and is known to improve digestion.
Luckily for us, we’re in Kampot – practically the land of delicious premium peppercorns. Like champagne, Kampot pepper has a protected geographical indication, which recognizes the uniqueness of its key qualities. There’s a mystique surrounding Kampot pepper. Some people in the industry allude to the high quartz content in the soil as an explanation for its rich flavours. Whatever the reason, we’ve fallen under its spell.
In Kampot, pepper is ubiquitous. We’ve found it in everything ranging from curries and chocolate to vinaigrette and vanilla ice cream. Battered and fried green peppercorns are also delicious. We’ve heard it’s great with fish and the Brits are bonkers for it on their strawberries.
ONE GRIND AT A TIME
We now have an entirely new appreciation for premium pepper. And, just as in recent years high quality salt has found an important place in the kitchen, we believe that the same is true for pepper. It’s black and white.
One of our next stops is Kerala, India – home of the Tellicherry peppercorns. We’ll be sure to report back on our experience with another of the world’s highest grade peppercorns.