What’s better than one delicious peppercorn? How about FIVE?! That’s right, five incredible, delicious peppercorns together in one stunning mix. What do we call it? Well, the The Five Peppercorn Mix of course! Could there be any other name? This tantalizing mélange is comprised of Black, White, Green, Red Peppercorns and Mexican Allspice. The Peppercorns all originate from Asia and South America. This mixture is the Rolls Royce of spice blends. It truly has everything. Hot spicy notes, bold umami flavors, rich nuances of red fruit and exotic spice, and so much more. When we said it has everything, we mean it!
Let’s dive right in to some specifics on the back peppercorn. If there’s one spice that has infiltrated American kitchens more than any other, it has to be Black Pepper. It’s been in the hearts and kitchen cabinets of Americans for centuries! Our Black Peppercorns are sourced from Vietnam and Brazil – two very hot climates that produce outstanding peppercorn products. The intense heat and humidity provide the perfect atmosphere for intense flavor and unparalleled quality. The flavors are not single note at all, but instead a deeply layered symphony of nuances. Flavors vary from woodsy to sharp and piney, to dried tropical fruits. This is certainly not your average table pepper – that will become more apparent as your start seasoning!
The White Malabar Peppercorn is from the Malabar region of Southwest India. It consists solely of the seed of the ripe fruit – after the darker skin has been removed. This is accomplished by soaking the berries in water for about a week – so that the skin softens and decomposes. It’s that very soaking process that gives the White Peppercorns their distinct earthy perfume. Because of the naturally night color of the peppercorn, it pairs well with light colored sauces like hollandaise and veloute. It can also have an interesting fruity citrus kick.
The Green Peppercorns start their journey in beautiful Cambodia – the hot and humid climate provides the ideal environment for growing these piquant little pearls. The peppercorns are picked when young and still green. Because of that, they haven’t had an opportunity reach their peak of peppery punch. They’re still a bit spicy mind you. That kick isn’t completely absent. But it is noticeably more muted than its black peppercorn counterparts. It’s its young green state, the peppercorns have lots of bright citrus and vegetable notes like green tomato, chili, and asparagus. After harvest, the peppercorns are dried slightly – this isn’t a complete dehydration, the corns are still soft and can be eaten without further cooking.
The Kampot Pepper, in both its long and small round forms, is perhaps one of the most interesting and exotic spices on the planet. While it’s been assumed for many years that the best peppercorns originated from India, the Kampot Peppercorn – which hails from Cambodia – is having a bit of a moment. The Kampot Provence sits on the southern coast of the country, and produces some of the most extraordinary spices the world has ever known. The flavor of these incredible peppercorns is just as complex as the region. As you begin to taste it, powerful and fruity aromas develop. The flavor is unique and continues to evolve through the tasting process. There are initial notes of dried fruits such as prune, fig, and dates – then higher more acidic notes of dried fruit like currant, raspberry, and strawberry. Beneath all of this is a very subtle honey-like sweetness. The pepperiness, while certainly noticeable, is not overwhelming. The spiciness is more intense than black peppercorns – but with a pleasant zing, not a hot jalapeno heat.
And of course, we can’t forget the Mexican Allspice! While, not technically a peppercorn – this ancient spice does share some of their characteristics. Obviously, this potent allspice hails from Mexico. The ruddy brown orbs are actually the dried fruit of the pimento dioica tree. The berries are said to have the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice combined – hence the name allspice. It is thought that the mayans used it for embalming due to its fragrant aroma. Mexican Allspice berries have the darkest color and are the largest (compared to Jamaican and Central American grown allspice). Allspice cultivated in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras tend to have a greater variance in both size and volatile oil content.
But here’s the real question… what do you do with your new Five Peppercorn Mix?? The obvious answer is, just about anything! The mixture does need to be ground, so it’s best to load it up into a spice grinder, or grind small amounts in an electric grinder and store it in a salt or spice cellar. Because of its broad range of flavors, it’s perfect for both raw applications before cooking and for use as a finishing spice after the dish has been cooked. Try cracking some over a salad of spring lettuces with asparagus and goat’s cheese. Or a liberal sprinkling over a leg of lamb prior to roasting. The spiced nuances of the red peppercorn and the Mexican allspice are perfectly suited to game dishes like duck and venison. Additionally, the white Malabar and green peppercorns are fantastic with seafood. Crack some over a grilled filet of striped bass or a bowl of beer steamed mussels. You’re going to find yourself putting our Five Peppercorn Mix on everything! It’s just that good. Bon appetite!