Saturday Telegraph Magazine - Food and Drink

Cambodia's Kampot pepper - considered one of the best black peppers in the world - hasn't been exported for decades but is now finally available in the West. Kadode Pepper has red, black and white peppercorns from £5 for 40g) as well as a tri-colour pack (£13.50 for 120g).

Attributed to Carolyn Hart


Menu Dorset Magazine - January 2016

White flaky gourmet salt has long been at a discerning cook's finger tips, that other essential, pepper, is a bit dusty and unloved. Enter the King of Pepper, which is how peppercorns from Kampot, Cambodia used to be reffered to before falling into neglect during the Khmer Rouge era. British spice enthusiast Michael Winters is on a mission to bring it back to the UK. All three colours - black, white and red - recently picked up Great Taste Awards and you can smell why, let alone taste the difference between them and more mundane pepper. They're beautiful fragrant, bright, spicy and borderline addictive when sniffed. We think we've found a new secret ingredient... 

Attributed to Robin Alway

The Daily Telegraph - 'Bitegeist'

"One of Asia's most revered spices used to be grown in bulk in Cambodia, but many plantations were destroyed during the Khmer Rouge years. Now, farmers are producing this aromatic, fragrant spice once more. A British spice lover called Michael Winters has started selling it in Britain, where it has quickly picked up awards. From £5 a box,"

Source: Leah Hyslop
(The Daily Telegraph - Saturday 14th November 2015)

Gourmet pepper 
is the spice of life


A Blackpool-born entrepreneur is hoping to spice up the country’s kitchens using the “King of Pepper”.

Michael Winters, originally from Marton, who was a student at St Mary’s RC High, is bringing a gourmet pepper to the UK which has been one of the best kept secrets of French cuisine.

I had travelled to Asia and particularly India many times but wanted to go off the beaten track in places such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Kadode Kampot pepper comes from Cambodia and is of a variety that was almost forgotten during the days of the horrific regime of dictator Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge who instigated the infamous killing fields.

Michael, who lives and works in London, but whose family still live locally, discovered the pepper on a career break in South East Asia in 2008.

He said: “I had travelled to Asia, and particularly India many times but wanted to go off the beaten track in places such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

“On the journey out I got talking to a woman on the plane who had a relative with a guest house in a place called Kampot in Southern Cambodia.

“So, I went there and discovered a French / Khmer company who was helping the local farmers, and formed a company called FarmLink ltd. to cultivate this particular Kampot pepper, which is very popular in France."

“It is known as the King of Pepper and used to be grown in bulk when Cambodia was a French protectorate."

“Then, when Pol Pot, and Khmer Rouge took over from 1975, he turned the area over to rice production and the vines were ripped up. There were only a fraction left 2 decades later, only cultivated by a very small number of farmers."

“They used to export 8,000 tons, mainly to France, and that completely stopped and only recently is the export business building again. It is of premium quality, a bit like Maldon is a premium salt. It is used by top chefs in France and beyond. I believe Raymond Blanc is a fan and has used it for years in his cooking."

“It was featured on Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey programme and he was very impressed with the pepper."

“It comes in three varieties, black, red and white, all of which are grown on the same vine but the difference is the time they are harvested."

“Black is harvested first and amounts to about 70 per cent of the production. Then comes red and then finally, the white."

“It has a distinctive, intense flavour so you don’t need to use too much. With the black, first you get the heat then comes an almost floral aroma. The red has a smoky sweet flavour and the white is zesty in both aroma and taste."

“It is all to do with the area’s location between the sea and the mountains. The soil has a high quartz content and is very mineral rich."

“They hand grade and sort it with tweezers and then it is vacuum packed at source – a totally organic product. It is an internationally GI protected food product, one of just two from Cambodia.”

Michael said the pepper was being launched at the start of the Cambodian New Year and on the 40th anniversary of when Pol Pot’s men marched into Phnom Penh and emptied the city of its two million inhabitants in three days. It's a poignant demonstration to show how the farmers have fought back from the devastation of the regime. It is being marketed online and in delicatessens nationally. He said he was hoping to sign up a deal with specialist food shops and the more discerning larger retailers.


Recipe: Perfectly Peppered Pickled Cucumbers

Throughout winter our natural instinct is to preserve food for the cold and lean months ahead. These pickled cucumbers – or gherkins – are easy to do and wonderful alongside cold cuts and rich pork rillettes. The additional infusion of Kadode Kampot Black Peppercorns to this traditional Scandinavian recipe adds a piquant, peppery heat to the sweetness of the cucumbers.


3-4 Organic Ridged English cucumbers, cut into 2cm slices

One large sprig of Dill, sorted into florets


1 litre of Spirit Vinegar

300-400g of unrefined Caster Sugar (adjust to preferred sweetness)

2.5 tsp of Sea Salt

2 Lemons, juiced

Half a tbsp of whole Kadode Kampot Black Peppercorns

Half a tbsp of freshly crushed Kadode Kampot Black Peppercorns


Crush half a tablespoon of Kadode Kampot Black Peppercorns with a pestle and mortar until they’re the consistency of roughly ground coffee. Place the ground pepper in a fine mesh tea infuser.

In a large saucepan bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, and whole Kadode Kampot Black Peppercorns to the boil. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved, then add the crushed pepper in the infuser as the brine warms up. After the mixture has boiled and simmered for 3-5 minutes, take off the heat, add the lemon juice and allow to cool. Remove the infuser.

Pack the sliced cucumbers and dill into a sterilised 1 litre jar, pressing them together. Invert the jar gently once or twice to evenly distribute peppercorns.

Pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers and seal tightly. There will be room for more cucumbers the next day. Add these, and then leave the cucumbers in a dark cupboard for at least two days. After opening keep in refrigerator and use within two months.


Chris Lowthorpe - February 2015, Kadode Kampot Pepper UK Recipes

Reviving the Spice of Life

Pepper from Cambodia’s Kampot region was once world renowned, but the industry almost disappeared under the Khmer Rouge. Now, a new initiative is spicing up the region's growers. Tom Vater reports...

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