Tuesday, September 14, 2010

sustainable single-estate peppercorns

we take the black peppercorns on our counter for granted... but this pantry staple was once so deeply coveted that the king of europe launched voyages (including the one that led columbus to america)to find better trade routes to india with an eye toward controlling the crop... in the middle ages, rent could be paid in peppercorns instead of cash... (my landlords always like benjamins) when the visigoths held rome ransom, they demanded gold, silver- and 3000lbs. of peppercorns.....! beyond its heat and sharp bite, black pepper also enhances our ability to taste food, stimulating our salivary glands so we experience flavors more fully... this sensational effect only comes from freshly ground pepper... once the hard, black shell of the peppercorn is cracked open, its aroma immediately starts to fade, and most of its flavor and scent disappear within a half hour... replacing your pepper shaker with a good pepper mill is one of the simplest way to enhance your everyday cooking... parameswaran's special wynad estate peppercorns ($30 for 200gr / 7oz) unlike most black pepper, which comes from multiple plantations, this organic, hand picked black peppercorn is grown on one estate on the wynad plateau in kerala, india... using only sustainable, fair trade black pepper cultivation to produce these black pearls of heat has proven worth it for chefs and old-school diners that still love to pile down steak a'poivre......! being that we should be conscious about all of the products that line our kitchen shelves, chefs and home cooks alike never take the time to think about the daily ingredients that have had an effect on the worlds markets and food supplies... this pepper is a blend of two varieties of black pepper- karimunda and panniyur which are grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers... the peppercorn berries are allowed to ripen to maximum size and flavor, then picked by hand and sun-dried... even more important these bad-boys are vacuum-packed on the estate to preserve freshness and flavor to avoid the typical ills of transport... this peppercorn berry sports a rich, deeply complex, beautifully floral, with a ripe, floral, lavender-like warmth... flavor that is earthy and smooth with moderate heat that builds gradually, but not ferociously......! the most commonly utilized in the kitchens of america is the tellicherry peppercorn and is still considered to be the world's finest pepper... named after a port town in the state of kerala on india's malabar coast... do a quick bit of research on the most mundane of products in your kitchen and you will be surprised to learn more about them and their checkered past.....!