Pink Peppercorn, also commonly known by its botanical name “Schinus molle,” has been venerated for its flavor and aroma since the 7th century.
One of the earliest adopters of pink peppercorn was the Inca Empire of Peru: the ancient civilization used its berries to produce a wide range of drinks, syrups, and other culinary items of immense importance. For the Incas, pink peppercorn was a part of everyday life, and the botanical was integral in everything from evening meals to sacred burial ceremonies. Peru continues this penchant for tradition today in the city of Cusco, where pink peppercorn remains one of the most widespread and culturally significant agricultural products of the region.
This Andean variety of Schinus molle is wild-harvested throughout the mountains and valleys of Cusco, which are legendary for their near-constant rainfall. Pink peppercorn trees can grow to enormous heights in this region, spawning countless vines that all must be hand-picked during harvest season. These harvests usually occur in different stages throughout the year: the peppercorns must be fully matured before harvest, and not all peppercorn vines mature at the same rate. Flowering typically runs from November through December, with the main harvest season stretching from early May to late June.
Berjé’s partner in the region works directly with two of the largest pink peppercorn harvesting communities in Cusco to produce its Pink Peppercorn Oil. These are local, family-owned organizations with an extremely diverse workforce, all of whom specialize in the careful nurturing and harvesting of wild-grown pink peppercorn trees. Once harvested, the peppercorn berries are dried, which is a process that takes approximately 2-3 days. After this, the peppercorns are ready for distillation.
Pink Peppercorn Oil has an extremely distinctive fruity aroma, with a unique bouquet of warm, woody, and spicy notes that is immensely appealing. As time goes on, the oil’s aroma becomes drier and sharper, eventually developing into smoky undertones. It pairs especially well with other spice ingredients such as clove, nutmeg, and lemongrass. Pink peppercorn oil also has underexplored versatility as an addition to sweet and fruity materials like orange, lemon, and grapefruit.
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