Pepper can be humble, it can be spicy but without a doubt it is essential.
To better define Pepper’s place in the world, it was once almost unaffordable for the Queens and Kings of Europe. The desire for more cost-effective options changed the world as the likes of Christopher Columbus set out to find more direct trade routes.
One of the world’s best peppers is grown in Cambodia along the gulf of Thailand. Kamchay and Lampong varieties of pepper have been cultivated there for centuries and are best known by the name of the local province, Kampot. For those most passionate about French foods, when Cambodia was one of France’s colonies, all the pepper sold in France came from here. But the pepper production has a much longer history. The earliest known mention of the production of pepper in Kampot comes from the 13th century and predates even the Angkor civilization.
In 2015, the European Union awarded Kampot pepper the Geographical Indication status in the European Union. This guarantees price protections in the international market. Despite the distinguished status, Kampot faces some growing pains. Thanks to the work to reestablish the farming of Kampot by the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association (KPPA), the production has increased substantially after nearly being decimated by the Khmer Rouge.
Kampot pepper is now widely available, although caution should be used when purchasing. Even today, the pepper is valuable enough to face counterfeiter. Make sure the Kampot you purchase is coming from a reliable or legal source.