Will pepper replace salt as the new “it” spice? In previous blogs, I’ve talked about the Meadow, a wonderful local store specializing in salts from around the world. Unless you’ve been locked in a salt mine, you’re probably aware that exotic (and expensive) salts of every color and location are the spice of the moment. Well, you’ve heard it here first; pepper is next.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been hanging out on the Cote d’Azure. Nice is one of my favorite cities in the world, the sight of the Promenade des Anglais always puts a smile on my face and the amazing fruits and vegetables at the marche are like icing on the cake. Because I was determined to use some of this amazing local produce and cook, this time we rented a small apartment just off the harbor, facing the old town. From a tiny terrace on the top floor we had a great view of the harbor and the Mediterranean Sea.
Since we had a bit of a hike to the old city and the marche, we would explore different routes to get back and forth. On one of our early explorations we discovered what I think has to be one of the most beautiful and comprehensive spice stores in the world. With mahogany cabinetry, Venetian glass chandeliers, and crystal jars holding a myriad of spices, it was truly a pleasure to wander through.
At Espices Girofle & Cannelle along with a comprehensive collection of salts and at least two different kinds of vanilla beans, there were at least a dozen types of peppercorns from India to Madagascar to Vietnam, varying in color from the darkest black to the palest off-white. Until you’ve tasted the different types, you’ve probably been fine with your basic black peppercorns, freshly ground. Well, your life’s about to change. I was easily seduced by a small, incredibly aromatic wild peppercorn from Madagascar, however there were plenty of other worthy contenders.
The idea of pasta Cacio e Pepe has always seemed kind of ho-hum, but armed with my precious selection of Poivre Sauvage de Madagascar and some homemade pasta I’m off to the kitchen. Results and recipe on Friday. More about being local and fresh (and amazing) in the South of France next week. Come see what April in France looks like!