Featured in the November 2008 issue of Cooks Illustrated!
Special is absolutely the word to describe these lovingly raised peppercorns from Kerala, India. They are organically grown and carefully harvested in the Wynad (or Wayanad) district of Kerala. This area is known for producing India's finest pepper. What makes these peppercorns so special is their extended time on the vine. Most pepper is harvested when green. Parameswaran, the owner of the small plantation in the Wynad where he lives with his family, allows his pepper to grow until the berries are reddish and fully ripe. This makes harvesting more difficult because the vines must be picked numerous times as the berries ripen, not one time when all are green. After harvesting, the peppercorns are sun- dried, then vacuum-sealed to preserve their peak flavor and scent. The time and work is well worth it, as the berries have big, intense, complex flavor.
To produce the white pepper after harvesting, the ripe berries are soaked in 20 changes of spring water over 20 days. Once soaked, the outer skin of the berry is removed and the pepper is sun-dried and packed in the same way as the black. These white peppercorns are much spicier than the black and are perfect for light-colored food that loves a kick.
The production of pepper of this quality is demanding and labor intensive. In the Wynad many households will pick a small quantity of these ripened berries for their private use, but Parameswaran is the only exporter of this fully-ripened pepper, making it rare and revered in the United States and around the world. Parameswaran's Special Wynad Pepper was featured as one of the best by Cook's Illustrated in 2008 and it still holds that accolade. We are thrilled and pleased to have secured a new supply of both black and white peppercorns and offer them in Parameswaran's 75 gram bags, as well as larger quantities in our bulk zip bags.
For best flavor and potency when not using, keep tightly closed in a cool, dark cupboard away from direct heat or sunlight.
* Please note only the 75 gram bags are vacuum sealed.
Posted by James Shanley on 5th Nov 2012
I'm enjoying my Wynad pepper. The taste is forward, yet more nuanced than Tillicherry. The difference is most apparent when used as a finishing spice. A very tasty item to have on hand.
Not as good as the '09
Posted by Steve Black on 3rd Nov 2012
We were thrilled by the complex flavors and aromatics of the 2009 crop, which came in a vacuum-sealed bag. We even froze portions in my lab's -80° freezer and they remained excellent; reason for mentioning this is that we finished the '09 recently and moved on to the new crop. We find the present bulk offering indistinguishable from a good Tellicherry, not bad but not meteoric.
Worth the price and the wait.
Posted by Lori on 18th Sep 2012
I had read about this pepper and was anxious to try it but it was always out of stock. I was so happy when I saw the post that it was available again. I ordered one pound and hoped that I wasn't making a mistake. When it arrived and I opened the bag, I knew why everyone had given it rave reviews. Then when I put it in my mortar and pestle to grind, there was a slight floral aroma. Upon tasting it,the flavor had a nice spicy bite but not overwhelming. So glad I ordered a pound!!!
Posted by Unknown on 10th Sep 2012
Pepper as spice, not just seasoning, with its own unique flavor profile.
Posted by Master Pepperer on 7th Sep 2012
The flavor is quite similar to my favorite - tellicherry - but the burn. Man - it grows and grows and then just lingers forever! And that's just biting into a corn. I can't WAIT to try it on something yummy, like a steak!