Our savory, funky Fermented White Peppercorns are highly prized in Indonesia but rarely found in the US. They add a deep umami flavor and funk to everything they touch. They're grown on a family farm on the island of Bangka by a farmer named Pak Sugiri and his son, Ilham. The peppercorns are picked fresh and fermented according to traditional methods. Grind over steak to mimic the flavor of dry aging, over veggies for heat and depth, or in traditional Cantonese and southeast Asian dishes that call for white pepper.
- Substitute for black peppercorns where you want a funky kick
- Grind over seafood dishes (especially good in crab cakes)
- Add to blended vegetable soups, like potato or cauliflower soups
Bangka Island in Indonesia is famous for the particular fermentation process that farmers use to process their peppercorns, picking fresh pepper and soaking it in open-air fermentation pools for two weeks, using the natural sugar in the peppercorn fruit to create a white pepper that's savory, cheesy and unlike any other we've tasted.
Since we're huge fans of anything funky and fermented, and of spices with very specific methods of processing, we had to go to Bangka to find a farmer to work with. Ethan had planned a trip in the summer of 2017, around the time of the pepper harvest. While he was preparing for the trip, two days before he was scheduled to arrive in Bangka, he got an email, totally out of the blue:
"Dear Ethan Frisch,
I introduce myself my name is Sugiri, I am from Bangka Island have white pepper garden as shown attached.
I see email on your web that you sell many kind of spices.
I would like to offer the corporation to sell pepper to your company, we can start with little volume first then if it is success, we can cooperate for long time.
Let me know if you are looking for organic or conventional pepper.
Finally, this is the offer from me and I will wait good news from you. Thank you very much, have a great day.
Ethan responded that he'd be right over.
It turned out that Sugiri had grown up on the farm but left to pursue a 20-year career in IT in Bandung, one of Indonesia's bigger cities. As his parents got older, he and his son Ilham decided to move back home to take over the farm.
Ethan visited a dozen farms around the island but was struck both by the quality of Sugiri and Ilham's peppercorns and their entrepreneurialism and hustle. Unfortunately, they weren't quite ready to export at the time, but two years later, we brought in the first small shipment of their fermented white peppercorns. We've been working together ever since.