Pepper grows on a shrub like plant and there are four varieties that are harvested by hand. The fresh green peppercorns are rarely exported as they do not travel well. Black peppercorns are the most common, and are harvested from the green fruit when some of the fruit begins to turn red. The red fruit is left on the vine for up to four more months to absorb the sun and this becomes the delightfully sweeter more subtle red peppercorn. All of the peppercorns are hand sorted to remove any unripe or cracked peppercorns. The white peppercorns are made by putting the red peppercorns in a brine, then sun dried and hand rubbed to remove the outer skin revealing the most delicate and aromatic of peppercorns, the rare and distinctive inner fruit that the French even use in pastry and ice cream.
The red and the white peppercorns are much sought after as they have unique flavour differences and due to their scarcity are correspondingly more expensive.
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