Kampot's Prize Pepper

Discussions about restaurants, cafes, coffee shops or bars in Cambodia. Feel free to write any reviews you have, whether its the best burger you've had in Phnom Penh or the worse pizza in sihanoukville, we want to read it! Discussions about Khmer dishes are also in here, or you can leave your own. If you own a restaurant, feel free to let the expat community know about it here so that we can come check it out. Found a favorite cafe or have a place we should avoid? Tell us about it. Asian recipes & questions are always welcome.
User avatar
Posts: 44255
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:13 am
Reputation: 2737
Location: CEO Newsroom in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Kampot's Prize Pepper

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

The world’s most prized pepper?
Only by the late ‘90s, long after the Khmer Rouge lost power, did local farmers – many with generations’ of peppercorn farming running through their veins – return to their roots.
By Robert Reid
16 January 2020

A recent re-emergence of a flowering vine that grows on poles in south-east Cambodia is the product of a local strategy paved with the best of intentions. But the road to reach the farms is not paved at all.

It wakes the palate and enhances the taste of other foods

I learned this in a tunnel of dust, as I rode a motorbike around tuk-tuks on red-dirt roads. Once I stopped for a mask to fend off the dust, the scene was stunning: water buffaloes wading through flooded rice fields by lush hills home to bat-filled caves housing ruins older than Angkor Wat. Ahead, outside the city of Kampot, loomed local farms where the quartz-rich soil produces the world’s premier organic peppercorns.

At least eight centuries ago, locals began growing this peppercorn vine, which is native to Kerala, India, and had spread to Southeast Asia. But the “Kampot pepper” – as it’s now christened – only became a global product after French colonials got their taste buds on it. In the late 1800s, the French set up plantations, growing the peppercorns on 10-foot bamboo poles and then exported vast amounts of them back home where they became – as the late Anthony Bourdain cooed on his TV show No Reservations – “the tabletop standard for all of France.”

In the 1970s, however, the brutal Khmer Rouge regime viewed the peppercorns as a symbol of colonialism and forced farmers to grow rice instead. Only by the late ‘90s, long after the Khmer Rouge lost power, did local farmers – many with generations’ of peppercorn farming running through their veins – return to their roots. At the time, farmers were impoverished, so they turned back to what they knew: the same farming practices that had run in their families for generations – and nearly all did it on small plots of land.

Although Kampot pepper prices peaked when red pepper sold for $25 per kilogram in 2014 and have dropped off slightly since – particularly as cheaper Vietnamese pepper has taken over the world market in recent years – farmers here bank on the lasting appeal of Kampot pepper’s superior quality as a selling point, primarily for European buyers. It’s all produced organically, as the locally run Kampot Pepper Promotion Association mandates, with the perfect amount of sun and fertile soil to make it a pepper worth paying extra for.

In 2010, this “comeback” pepper earned Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the World Trade Organization, becoming to pepper what Champagne is to sparkling wine or Prosciutto di Parma is to ham.
Full article: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/2020011 ... zed-pepper
Cambodia Expats Online: Bringing you breaking news from Cambodia before you read it anywhere else!

Have a story or an anonymous news tip for CEO? Need advertising? CONTACT US

Cambodia Expats Online is the most popular community in the country. JOIN TODAY

Follow CEO on social media:

  • Similar Topics
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 100 guests