Decoding Tellicherry - the world's finest pepper
Updated: Oct 18, 2022
What is Tellicherry pepper?
Does it grow only in Tellicherry?
Difference between regular pepper and Tellicherry pepper?
The above and a lot more answered in this article
What is Tellicherry pepper?
Tellicherry (pronounced 'thella-sarry'), is considered by chefs and connoisseurs across the world as the finest grade of pepper. It is grown in the high-altitude hilly regions of the Indian state of Kerala, especially in the hills of the Wayanad region. Tellicherry pepper is renowned for its balanced flavour, uniquely large peppercorn size and a distinct woody-citrusy aroma when crushed.
Do they come from Tellicherry?
No. Tellicherry or Thalassery is simply the name of the town where this unique strain of Malabari pepper has been traditionally traded and hence, the name. It is similar to premium green cardamoms from Kerala being traded as Aleppy Cardamom, while Aleppy town is simply the traditional marketplace for its trade and not its place of origin.
What makes Tellicherry pepper unique?
It's size, aroma, flavour and high pepperin content.
Contrary to popular belief, Tellicherry pepper is not a separate pepper vine or species. It is simply the group of the largest peppercorns on a vine. Their large size lends them their distinct and intense aroma. The larger the peppercorn the more the aroma.
Secondly, the Tellicherry pepper from the hilly areas surrounding Wayanad, have a high pepperin content compared to pepper from elsewhere, a characteristic that adds to its health benefits.
In order to ensure the peppercorns are of the highest standard and the largest possible, our partner-farmers wait until the pepper is fully vine ripened. Though it increases the chances of losing crop, it guarantees a crop like no other. Hence, the premium associated with Tellicherry pepper.
How to distinguish between regular Malabar pepper and Tellicherry?
Though they originate from the vine of the same species piper nigrum, Tellicherry are rare. Once, the pepper is harvested in March and dried, the crop is then sorted.
It is their size that makes them distinct. After sorting, all peppercorns with the size 4.25mm+ are classified as Tellicherry. This makes around ~10% of the annual crop from the Malabar. Sorting further to size 4.75mm+, you have the 'Tellicherry Special Extra Bold', which is around 1% of the annual crop - the rarest and the best pepper once can get.
What would be the difference you'll experience?
The first would be the size of the peppercorns - the normal ones in the market will seem small and shrivelled.
Second, the high pepperin content in our pepper from the Wayanad hills, give it a distinct zing (pungency) in flavour. Savouring one, you'll notice the sudden burst of flavour it releases.
Lastly, once you crush it (a mortar-pestle recommended for best results), you will notice the peculiar woody-citrusy aroma that this original Tellicherry pepper provides.
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Cheers to good health and good food....!