Pink Peppercorns

Pink Peppercorns

Katherine Loffreto

Ever had a peppercorn that wasn’t… peppery? No heat at all. Not even a spark. Would that be the same as a lion without its roar?  Or perhaps a trumpet without its iconic tinny blare? Maybe. Or maybe it’s something extraordinary, unique, and very very delicious. You see, these sweet peppercorns, they’re real. They exist. We’ve tasted them. And now we’re bringing them to you.

The Pink Peppercorn is a spice anomaly. Not actually a peppercorn at all, but rather a berry from the shrub Schinus, more commonly known as the Peruvian peppertree. Only fruits from the Piper nigrum plants can truly be called a “peppercorn”. In fact, the plant these berries are derived from cashew tree, and can potentially cause allergic reactions in individuals with tree nut allergies. That aside, it’s a stunning and delicious ingredient, that we’re thrilled to shine a spotlight on!

The flavor of the Pink Peppercorn is incomparable. There really isn’t anything else like it. The outer fluorescent shell of the berry sloughs off and inside is the pungent and punchy inner core. Initially, the flavor is quite sweet. Those hints of sweetness give way to a complex flavor profile of juniper and spruce, spiced woodsy notes, and earthy forest flavors. One important note of distinction, this “peppercorn” should not be ground. It’s too delicate for a grinder, and would just end up as a mashed paste. Better to use the berries whole, as a beautiful vibrant garnish, or crushed very gently to release their aromas.

While it may seem like such a strange ingredient is limited in its applications, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The sweet fruitiness of the Pink Pepper immediately lends itself well to dessert and pastry applications – particularly when red fruits are involved. Just imagine a few crushed berries folded in with freshly sliced strawberries and vanilla panna cotta – or a sprinkling of whole berries on a crème brulee with sugared raspberries. Heaven! Additionally, they make a great accompaniment to delicate seafood and vegetable dishes – preparations like ceviche and crudo, or perhaps some raw spring vegetables like asparagus or hearts of palm.

We encourage you to give this unique ingredient a try! It’s guaranteed to quite literally brighten your dishes and contribute a pop of something spectacular and out of the ordinary. Your guests deserve something different, and we’re here to help you give it to them!