3,000 Years of Black Gold
You know pepper as one of the two most basic spices, typically found in shakers and grinders on dinner tables around the world. Today, pepper is treated as a measly afterthought - but for thousands of years, it has been so much more. Pepper has been used as a primary spice in Indian cooking since around 2000 BC. Documentation of the early use of pepper was not restricted to Asia however. Pepper was so prized in ancient Egypt, that many pharaohs demanded it be placed in their tombs alongside gold and jewelry. For Egyptians, Indians, and many others, pepper has historically been an uncommon and expensive item that only the very rich could afford.
According to J. Innes Miller, author of The Spice Trade of the Roman Empire, while pepper was grown in other Asian countries, its most important source was India, particularly the Malabar Coast. Following early British expansionism in India, almost all of the black pepper found in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa was traded from the Malabar region. According to historical documents, peppercorns were a much-prized trade good, often referred to as "black gold" and accepted in lieu of money in dowries, taxes and rent. For thousands of years, pepper has been a prized commodity for humans around the world.
Where We Come In
Zen Spice Traders started with a vision - we aspire to cultivate a new generation of spice lovers, with a true understanding of what world-class spices have to offer.
We believe that pepper is being disrespected. Mediocre, pre-ground pepper sits on grocery store shelves across the country... A.K.A. you're missing out. There's a whole world of fresh and exotic flavors, tasting notes, pairings, and recipes just waiting to be explored.