Throughout my culinary life, pepper has been an ingredient that I use regularly. I was aware of different types and varieties to a point, including Sarawak pepper and Tellicherry pepper and had sometimes used those varieties in food.
Black pepper, the fruit of a flowering vine (piper nigrum) is one of the world’s most traded spices with Vietnam being the largest producer and exporter, even though pepper is native to Kerala, in southern India. Pepper is a spice that has been used since antiquity, both as a traditional medicine and for use in food. It was so prized in history that it was known as “black gold” and is still one of the world’s most traded spices.
As many of you know, I have decided to finally bring life to my dream of taking groups of people on culinary adventures and decided that South India would be the perfect place for me to start. I thought that the CHG earth hotel group would be a suitable partner for my tours and after discussion with them, I embarked on my reconnaissance visit.
As it turns out, the harsh and unpredictable weather that grounded our flight to Dharamshala and made our first day there somewhat challenging turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the snow gods were actually working in our favour! One of our objectives when planning to trip to the area was to take GIta to the snow and we had thought that we would have to take her to Shimla for the snow experience. Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh is at a higher elevation than Dharamshala and therefore more likely to have snow.