The Champagne of Pepper
At BoTree, we often refer to our Kampot Pepper as “the Champagne of Pepper,” a lovely but also apt description. A bit like the most prestigious sparkling wine in the world, the flavour is intense, waking up all of our senses: with that fizzing sound, the scent of Champagne goes through the nose, bubbles tingling our taste buds, the cold, light-gold glass in our hand. With Kampot pepper, we tune in to the sound of the grinder triturating the black (or red or white!) peppercorns, smelling the pepperine molecules in the air, then hitting our palate smoothly but decisively and enriching the taste of every bite.
Like Champagne, Kampot pepper is not just a fantastic sensory experience: it has also been awarded the European Union’s prestigious Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. What the EU wants to tell us with these long words, capital letters and obscure acronyms, is that these are unique products, with a history that people need to know about and a reputation worth fighting for. PGI means quality with deep economic and cultural ties to a specific geographic area.
Protected Geographical Indication sets product standards
Kampot Pepper was the first Cambodian product to receive PGI status in February 2016, joining the ranks of Cognac, Roquefort and Stilton cheeses, Parma ham, and Tuscany olives, among others. And we can’t forget Scotch whisky from our own neck of the woods.
The PGI certification means strict requirements for Kampot Pepper, including:
· Production must be 100% organic
· Only local non-chemical fertilizer can be used
· NO sub-standard peppercorns are allowed: they are removed through a diligent sorting process. Non-compliant peppercorns can be sold as regular pepper but NOT as Kampot Pepper.
· There are strict geographic borders of where Kampot Pepper can be produced: every peppercorn must benefit from the unique climate, soil, and traditional farming knowledge that is typical of the small region around Kampot town.
Of course, there are a number of authorities that work to ensure products meet each requirement:
· There is an external control body, Ecocert, that checks production is truly organic and sustainable
· As well as an internal management body, the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association.
An every day special celebration
Beyond being recognized as high-quality products with strong geographic origins, we also see a more visceral connection between Kampot Pepper and Champagne. Both are premium and celebratory, providing a symphony of flavours for your taste buds and an elevated experience. They create a sense of indulgence even when incorporated into everyday life.