Pepper (Piper Nigrum) originates from the Malabar Coast, in the south-west of India. It is a vine which belongs to the Piperaceae botanical family. Today it is found in many tropical belt countries.
Pepper grows in clusters. Green pepper is a fruit picked before maturity. It is subtly spicy, delicately hot and very fresh.
We rarely see it in our markets. It is typically found dehydrated or brined. The grains yellow as they ripen. They are generally picked at this stage of maturity. When dried in the sun, they wrinkle and turn brown, becoming black pepper. At full maturity, the fruit turns a shimmering red colour. It is then soaked in rainwater basins and its skin is removed. After a long period of drying in the sun, white pepper is obtained.
Red pepper (mature fruits) shouldn't be confused with "pink pepper ", incorrectly named because it does not belong to the Piperaceae family. Another language mistake - "grey pepper". It doesn't exist! It is actually a mixture of poor quality white and black pepper powders. It isn't of great interest to us.
Never buy pepper as a powder. Its aromas are subtle and disappear quickly when it is milled. Avoid aggressive cooking as it makes it bitter and burnt.
Preferably use a pepper mill on your dishes when serving. It looks elegant and the odours are intoxicating.
The regular use of different peppers will convince you of their diversity. The use of these peppers will not fundamentally change your cooking, but it will customise your dishes by bringing them a touch of exoticism and taking you on a journey
In our kitchens today we use several different olive oils or vinegars because they are different, so then why should we always use the same pepper?
The definition still used in today's dictionaries is very vague and without any real accuracy: Aromatic and vegetable substance used to flavour food.
I propose a new definition, more adapted to today's cuisine, based on the use of the product and not its provenance:
A spice is an aromatic vegetable substance used to flavour dishes. It can come from fruit, bark, roots, flowers, leaves, bulbs, seeds, whole plants, pressing fruit and fermentation of plant substances.
Language has also distorted the first meaning of the word spicy, which no longer means "with spices", but which is perceived pejoratively as being "powerful, pungent, blowing your head off"! whereas spicing is the art of seasoning, the precision, the subtlety.
We therefore invite you to rediscover the use of spices…