White peppercorns come from the same vine as the black. They are soaked in water to soften the black outer shell, which is then removed. Their flavor, while still distinctly peppery, is quite different from that of black peppercorns. The soaking gives these white peppercorns a mellow, slightly fermented taste. White pepper is strongly preferred over black pepper in European kitchens. In this country we consume about twelve times as much black pepper as white, while in Europe the ratios are reversed. Finely ground white pepper is also popular in Southeast Asia.
Ground white pepper virtually disappears in most dishes, allowing the introduction of fine flavor without marring the presentation of light-colored sauces and dishes. While grinding whole peppercorns as needed is the best way to get peak flavor, we also offer a finely ground white pepper, which is ground fresh weekly in our shops.