Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tellicherry Black Pepper

Every time we introduce a new customer to our
Tellicherry Black sauce, we inevitably get asked the
same question: "What's a Tellicherry".

Tellicherry is not a "what", it's a "where". Located
on the South-Western coast of the tip of India, near
Cochin, Tellicherry is in the heart of pepper

Both Tellicherry pepper and Malabar pepper come from
the same plant and are harvested at the same time.
Tellicherry pepper are the larger of the two and
will have matured further before the harvest,
benefiting from a better location on the vine and
thereby receiving more sunlight. Only the largest
10% of these peppercorns are good enough to bear the
name Tellicherry, making these peppercorns very,
very special, indeed.

In India, pepper is part of the cultural heritage of
the people. Growing pepper is seen more as an art or
a craft than as a metier. Even though it is a
cash crop, pepper growing and grading is taken very
seriously in this part of the world. Farmers take
advantage of centuries of skill handed down from
generation to generation to grow and harvest these
tiny black seeds of flavour.

Once picked, it takes about a week for the
peppercorns to dry in the sun. During this time,
they will lose a share of their flavour in the
process. Until recent years, all pepper drying was
done this way. Although, nowadays it is not uncommon
for pepper to be rapidly air-dried indoors.
Interestingly enough, this new technology brings
with it the benefit of less flavour loss. Thus,
today's peppers are fresher, cleaner and more
full-bodied than ever before and allow the farmers
to fetch a higher price.

Although the size of the peppercorn is very
important to garnering the name, "Tellicherry", the
maturity of the peppercorn is the ultimately
all-deciding factor. It is the extra-ripening time
that the Tellicherry peppercorn receives that
increases the percentage of essential oils in the
fruit and makes it taste so aromatic and why the
Peppermaster chose these peppercorns for our black
pepper sauce.

Peppercorns although not chillies, are often a
chiliheads first foray into the world of pepperfire.
As children growing up in North America, what would
setting the table be without a shaker of pepper?
Well, it wouldn't be rightly set, now would it? As
we grow up and our tastes become more cosmopolitan,
we are introduced to the splendours of the
peppermill. Once having experienced the glory of
fresh ground pepper, who would return to the dusty
dryness of the pepper shaker? From the peppermill
with ordinary Madagascar black peppercorns, (sold
most commonly as "whole black pepper"), one
eventually discovers the perfume and wonder that is
Malabar and hopefully as well, Tellicherry.

I had opportunity to read of the adventures of one
who visited India to research the true art of
peppercorn manufacture, as I researched this article
and he tells of his visit to Mount Tellicherry

Picture sweeping mountain slopes gazing down on a
lush untouched jungle. Imagine the perfumes and
odours of the world famous outdoor markets and all
the spices wafting on the air. He describes a
landscape very different and exotic, than ours, one
ripe with cardamom and cinnamon, their perfumes
carrying on the breezes and fields and fields of
wild pepper bushes.

Pepper bushes grow to about 3-5 feet in height. They
dangle their berries much like tiny bunches of
grapes and although they have been known to grow
well in other climates, the soil and climate of this
region of India produces the best peppercorns in the

Interestingly enough, it is in the drying of the
peppercorns that they get their distinctive colours
ranging from green-yellow through red and brown to
jet black. The long bunches of berries are picked
almost ripe and allowed to dry to their familiar
shape and colour as we know them. Even more
interesting is that what we know as "white
peppercorns" are not another species of pepper at
all, but instead they are the de-husked center of
the ripe peppercorn.

I learned in my research, too, that the varieties of
peppers that we know as "pink, long and Szechuan"
peppercorns are all different species of plant and
indeed are not true peppercorns at all.

As the Peppermaster already knew and I learned,
Tellicherry is synonymous with the absolute best
grade of peppercorns. They are of better quality,
the flavour is richer, and more varied and you'll
discover that this black pepper is well worth the
time it takes for us to use it in our sauces.

Here at Peppermaster, we get our Tellicherry in
airtight light proof pouches which we only open
right before we will use the peppercorns. We grind
them fresh and only process what we will use
immediately. Although hand mills and mortars and
pestles are recommended for the average kitchen, we
use a high speed blender to crush the corns for our
sauces. It is this last minute grinding that gives
our Tellicherry Black sauce its distinct flavour.

If you haven't had the opportunity to fill your
peppermill with Tellicherry black peppercorns, we
suggest you do. And in the meantime, pick up a jar
of our Tellicherry Black sauce and introduce
yourself to the rich intense flavour of Tellicherry
pepper. We've married the Tellicherry to three of
the richest flavours we know; fresh roasted garlic,
rich dark Guatemalan espresso and to bring into full
bloom the flavours of all of these ingredients,
French Cognac that completes the bouquet.

Peppermaster Pepper Steak

Easy Salt & Pepper Shrimp
1 Tbsp Butter or Cooking oil
1 Tbsp Tellicherry Black Sauce
1 lb peeled, veined Shrimp (with or without tails)

Heat butter (until melted) or oil in saute pan. Mix
in Tellicherry sauce. Saute shrimp until just

Serve with steamed vegetables and wild rice.

Easy Pepper Steak
2-3 Tbsp Tellicherry Black Sauce
1/4 Cup heavy cream
2 New York strip loins (or your preferred cut)

Combine cream and pepper sauce with a whisk. Bring
to a simmer over low heat, keep warm.

Grill steaks to desired doneness and spoon on the
pepper sauce or serve it on the side in a gravy

Serve with baked potato and grilled vegetables.


Jud said...

very helpful, thank you.

Amitabh said...

Very nice research. Any place you know where one can buy pure Tellicherry black pepper?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for information on Tellicherry peppercorns. Great Web site....Tom

Pepperfire said...

You can usually purchase Tellicherry peppercorns in shops who specialize in imported spices and delicacies.

Let me know if you meant in "institutional" quantities.


Amitabh said...

Would you know if the Costco Tellicherry product is any good. I did buy it and it tastes a bit better than general supermarket McCormick brands. I guess my question is are all Tellicherry peppercorns the same?
I may want to try out Permeswaran brand as well.

mineesh said...

dear friend
iam from tellichery. my name is mineesh. this blog gave me a new information about tellichery.. tellichery is a small town in kannur district in kerala state. this blog say that our papper is very good one and it is world famous. but we dont know this. thanks for this information. if u want any help from tellichery please contact me my id is, thanks again


Bruce Morgan said...

A good place to buy quality Tellicherry (and other gourmet pepperorns) is my web site at Pepper-Passion. Not all Tellicherry is created equal and there is some couterfeit product out there.

There seems to be a lot of confusion as to what Tellicherry is exactly and what makes it different than Malabar. I will be writing are article to clarfy this next month and will post it in our blog section

Saimond Jelly said...

Black pepper corns is king of spices. black peppercorns are left on the vine longer so they develop a deep, rich flavor.