Does a grind or two of black pepper on your food really matter? asked the editors of Cook’s Illustrated. We take freshly ground black pepper so much for granted that sometimes we hardly notice it. Yet it not only lends dishes a sharp bite and heat but also, by stimulating our salivary glands, “enhances our ability to taste food.”
Recently 19 staff members tasted eight samples of freshly ground whole black peppercorns—both by themselves and on white rice. These included two supermarket brands and six mail-order Tellicherry peppercorns. The top two were also tested on steak au poivre, and in both cases “the nuances of the peppercorns came through.”
In descending order, the three tastiest black peppercorns were:
Kalustyan’s Indian Tellicherry Black Peppercorns (6.99 for 2.5-oz jar) Enticing aroma, complex flavor, and only moderately hot. Contact: Kalustyans.com
Morton & Bassett Organic Whole Black Peppercorns ($5.39 for 2-oz jar) This was our “Supermarket Winner.” Made with Lampong pepper from Indonesia. Fragrant, floral, and piney.
Zingerman’s Tellicherry Peppercorns ($8 for 2.53-oz jar) Pungent, sharp, and hot. Contact: Zingermans.com
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- The most sensible GOP alternative to ObamaCare comes from a Senate candidate who is almost sure to lose
- 10 things you need to know today: October 23, 2014
- When Khomeini said no to Iranian nukes
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
Subscribe to the Week