The quality of any pepper comes from the careful picking process. The peppercorns do not all ripen at the same time, so there may be unripe green peppercorns on the same drupe as fully ripened red peppercorns. So, the peppercorns are picked at different stages of maturity depending on the type of pepper required. To obtain a grand cru pepper, the picking needs to be done solely by hand. This method, which respects the plant, means that only the fully ripened drupes are selected and picked. Machine picking means a greater yield but lower quality pepper and the plant is ill-treated during the process. This grand cru pepper is harvested when fully ripe in the province of Wayanad, one of the 14 districts of Kerala. With only 2,000 kg harvested each year, this is a rare pepper cultivated by small farms.
The peppercorns are left on the pepper plant until they are fully ripe or even overripe. They continue to grow in size then a sort of noble rot develops on the pericarp, which is what gives the pepper its sweet notes and reddish colour. Once harvested, the Indians use a natural method called the “dry processing” whereby the peppercorns are laid out in the sun for two weeks and turned regularly so that they do not ferment.
This pepper releases fruity and floral aromas which bring to mind fruit compotes or small acidic cherries. Its fairly spicy flavour will delight a pear tart, soft fruit salad, roast poultry, pan-fried girolles, wine sauce and is perfect for wood-grilled red meat. Pepper, whether whole or ground is a living product which can lose its aromas, be oxidized or go rancid. It needs to be correctly stored to preserve its full flavours. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct light.
|Genus and botanical species||Piper nigrum|
|Ingredients||black pepper from Wayanad|
|TRACES EVENTUELLES D'ALLERGÈNES||céleri, sésame, moutarde, fruits à coques.|