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Kampot Red Peppercorns

Kampot peppercorns from Cambodia carry a strict regional designation, much like Champagne. The black varietal starts out fruity and floral, which gives way to a spicy richness. The red ones start out with a subtle, jasmine-like sweetness which opens up to a subtler heat.

The Spice House
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Cambodia’s history of growing fine peppercorns begins in the 13th century when Chinese explorer, Tcheou Ta-Kouan, noted their cultivation in the region. In the 1800s, the Dutch army defeated the Sultan of Aceh in neighboring Indonesia. Upon the Sultan’s defeat, he burned his fields of valuable pepper crops to prevent the victors from profiting off them. It was at this time that part of his pepper production moved to Cambodia. French colonists soon arrived in Cambodia, and with their helpful knowledge of mass production, pepper production grew rapidly. By the 1900s the region was producing 8,000 tons annually. Another byproduct of the French influence was the impact of their culinary reputation. The French would export the fine crop of peppercorns to France, where French Gourmands—including Auguste Escoffier—embraced it as the finest pepper in the world. This all came crashing down with the takeover of the Khmer rouge in the 1970s. This was a very dark period in Cambodia's history, with 2 million people disappearing, among them Cambodia's intellectual elites. Pepper production came to a halt over the next 35 years as the Khmer rouge were pushed only to be followed by 30 years of civil war. In the last dozen years or so, generations old pepper farming families have returned to their home country of Cambodia and brought their traditions of pepper farming with them. With the help of some business development organizations along with private supporters, the pepper cultivation is beginning to get back on track. We would like to show our support by introducing you to this rare and exceptional pepper. The people of the Kampot region are very proud to produce the first Cambodian product to receive a Protected Geographical Indication. You may be more familiar with a similar type of certification in France, known as AOC, or appellation d'origine contrôlée. This is the same certification protects naming rights of regional products like Champagne. Red pepper is the most sought after of all of the Kampot pepper. Unlike the black pepper, which is picked while still green and then ripens to black, the red pepper is left on the vine four months longer. That growing time produces an even more complex end result, but one with less heat than it black counterpart. Kampot Red pepper starts off with a pepper flavor, but quickly you will note fruity and jasmine-like floral notes, as a very subtle sweetness hits your tongue. Some heat then ensues, and it does linger, but it is not as bold and strong as the black pepper. This pepper is special and adds a bit of the exotic to your culinary repertoire.

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