The word melange means to "mix or mingle." We here at Brooke & Bradford have custom mixed and mingled our favorite peppercorns into one convenient jar to provide you with a well balanced, flavorful and beautiful seasoning.
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. When dried, the fruit is known as a peppercorn. Peppercorns, and the ground pepper derived from them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit) and white pepper (ripe fruit seeds).
Black pepper is native to south India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently, Vietnam is the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world's Piper nigrum crop. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice.
The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine, not to be confused with the capsaicin characteristic of chili peppers. Black pepper is ubiquitous in the modern world as a seasoning and is often paired with salt.
White pepper consists solely of the seed of the pepper plant, with the darker-coloured skin of the pepper fruit removed. This is usually accomplished by a process known as retting, where fully ripe pepper berries are soaked in water for about a week, during which the flesh of the pepper softens and decomposes. Rubbing them removes what remains of the fruit, and the naked seed is dried.
Ground white pepper is used in Chinese and Thai cuisine, but also in salads, cream sauces, light-coloured sauces, and mashed potatoes (where black pepper would visibly stand out). White pepper has a different flavor from black pepper; it lacks certain compounds present in the outer layer of the drupe.
White pepper has less aroma and flavor as black peppercorns, but a far sharper pungency and heat than black pepper.
Green pepper, like black, is made from the unripe drupes on the flowering pepper vine. Fresh, unpreserved green peppercorn drupes, largely unknown in the West, are used in some Asian cuisines, particularly Thai cuisine.
Their flavor has been described as spicy and fresh, with a bright aroma.
Pink peppercorns are the fruits of a plant from a different family as black, white, and green peppercorns. Pink peppercorns come from the Peruvian pepper tree, or its relative the Brazilian pepper tree. Pink peppercorns are not a true peppercorn (genus Piper), but since they are the same shape and size as true peppercorns, they are marketed under the name "pink peppercorn." They are used as a spice and have a lighter pepper-like taste.
The Peruvian and Brazilian pepper trees are ornamental and are found in California, Arizona, Florida, and Texas. If you have a Brazilian pepper tree, you can collect your own pink peppercorns. These pair well with seafood and in light sauces due to their pretty color and light taste.
For recipes using melange peppercorn, please visit our blog.
To purchase a grinder to grind your peppercorns, please visit our kitchenware section. We have large and small grinders that you can purchase empty, or purchase pre-filled with your choice of salts and peppercorns.