There’s pepper and then there’s Cambodia’s Kampot pepper. You might think that the stuff that comes out of shakers and grinders is pretty much the same wherever you go, but to increasing numbers of chefs, restaurateurs and foodies, ordinary pepper bears as much resemblance to Kampot pepper as vin de table does to fine Bordeaux.
Kampot Pepper is known as the best pepper in the world. It holds the prestigious Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) that puts it on the same footing as other appellations of origin like Champagne, Cognac, Darjeeling Tea… Once you have tried Kampot Pepper no other pepper will do.
A nearby sea, flanking mountains, a quartz-rich soil: It’s the perfect spot on earth, devotees say, to yield a product they describe in that rapturous vocabulary usually reserved for fine wines: “aristocratic, virile, almost aphrodisiacal,” with subtle notes of caramel, gingerbread and mild tobacco.
(Denis D. Gray, The Associated Press)
“The dogged determination to revive a once threatened crop is now starting to pay dividends. “It has a lot of cachet, something from the past,” says Bourdain. A full renaissance is a long way off: Cambodia exported only a few thousand kilograms last year. But awareness is growing fast, and as Laiskonis points out, Kampot pepper offers that all-important element of romance. “It has been rescued from time and events,” he says. “Ingredients that tell a story are a special thing you can offer people.”
Chef Anthony Bourdain in Time Magazine Jan. 16, 2012
“It’s got a floral dimension that’s really something special,”