KAMPOT IN CAMBODIA

PEPPER
FROM "LA PLANTATION"

A traditional, organic pepper

PEPPER
NATHALIE & GUY

ENCOUNTER
WITH CAMBODIA

A true revelation

20 HECTARES OF PLANTATIONS

ESCAPE
TO THE COUNTRYSIDE IN KAMPOT

Vibrant pepper growing

iN 2015...
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THE REGION OF KAMPOT

Kampot Pepper takes its name from the province of Kampot, in south-west Cambodia, some 140 kilometres from the capital of Phnom Penh. The pepper growing area of Kampot covers six districts located in the province of Kampot and that of Kep (which was recently separated from Kampot).

Bordered by the sea, the Kampot pepper growing area has an exceptional climate as regards exposure to the sun, sea breezes, the quality of the land and rainfall during the rainy season.

This region is renowned for the beauty of its agricultural landscapes, with palm trees reflecting in the rice fields at sunset, fruit trees (mangos, durian) heavy with fruit and majestic pepper trees rising towards the sun. It is also renowned for its quality of life and the smiling welcome of its inhabitants.

FROM THE ARRIVAL OF THE CHINESE IN THE 13TH CENTURY TO THE FRENCH PROTECTORATE

In the region of Kampot, the arrival of Chinese pepper planters dates back to the 13th century. More recently, at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, the French developed pepper growing on an intense scale in the region of Kampot. Annual production reached 8,000 tonnes, with more than a million pepper poles installed.

The region benefits from the traditional pepper growing knowledge and expertise handed down from one generation to the next. This explains the exceptional quality of Kampot pepper.

At that time, Kampot pepper was mainly exported to France. It has always had a reputation of being a high-quality pepper, one of the best in the world. Its flavour and unique aroma make it very popular with gourmet chefs.

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THE RENAISSANCE

During the civil war in the 1970s, pepper growing was abandoned. It gradually started again from 2000 onwards when the families of generations of pepper planters began to return to their lands. Kampot pepper is grown using traditional ancestral methods. New commercial outlets are enabling these families to restore plantations, and new plantations have also been established recently.

PGI and KPPA

2010 marked a watershed in the renaissance of Kampot pepper with the establishment of a PGI (protected geographical indication) label by the Ministry of Trade and the French Development Agency. Kampot pepper thus became the first Cambodian agricultural product to be granted PGI (protected geographical indication) status, on 2 April 2010. This PGI has been registered in the Europe in February 2016.

The PGI requires planters to comply with very strict specifications laying down rules governing production (land, cultivated area, natural fertilizers and natural pesticides), processing, packaging and traceability.

Plantations are controlled by the Kampot Pepper Producers Association (KPPA) and by the independent certification body Eco-Cert. Only accredited members of the KPPA, adhering to the PGI criteria, are authorised to sell pepper using the “Kampot Pepper” appellation of origin.

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CURRENT DEVELOPMENT

Today, if you walk in the Kampot and Kep countryside, you will notice a large number of new pepper plantations springing up. The renaissance of Kampot pepper is in full swing.

The region now boasts several hundred plantations, ranging from family-run plantations, with several hundred poles, to plantations covering more than 20 hectares.

In 2016, production amounted to 70 tonnes and is expected to increase to 500 tonnes in 2018.

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PEPPER

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine of the Piperaceae family, native to the Malabar Coast. This vine grew wild in the forest, along tree trunks, in the Kerala in India. Plants were then transported and grown in tropical areas, such as Brazil, Madagascar and South-East Asian countries.

Since the 13th century, the region of Kampot has developed pepper plantations, aided by the region’s exceptional soil.

Kampot peppers stand out by their unique flavour. They develop a relatively sweet pungent taste, fruity aromas and an exceptional flavour in the mouth. Kampot pepper is reputed to be one of the best peppers in the world.

THE VIRTUES OF PEPPER

Pepper and its piperine extract have many virtues. Over and above its gastronomic and flavour qualities, the use of pepper in cooking not only enhances the taste of dishes but also helps to reduce the use of salt, whose consumption is strongly discouraged by cardiologists.

Since ancient times, pepper has been recognised for its medicinal qualities, as demonstrated by many recent medical studies. It is good for digestion and helps to prevent and combat various forms of cancers (including breast cancer when it is combined with curcumin). It has effective antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also an antidepressant and has aphrodisiac qualities. We advise you to enjoy pepper without restraint.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PEPPER

Pepper berries all grow on the same plant, but are harvested or processed at different stages of maturity. Like wine, a good pepper must not be mixed with others (just as you wouldn’t mix red wine and white wine in the same glass). You will taste and appreciate better the characteristic aromas of each colour of pepper.

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GREEN PEPPER

From September, bunches of pepper start to develop on the plant. They all have an intense green colour and grow over the months before starting to mature in January. They are picked young and sold on the markets for local consumption.

Kep crab stir-fried in green pepper is one of the region’s must-eat traditional gourmet meals. It’s a delight. The green grains explode in the mouth and develop fruity aromas without being too spicy.

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BLACK PEPPER

From January, the ripe bunches are harvested by hand. They are then seeded, washed and sun-dried for 2 to 3 days.

The Kampot black pepper develops strong and delicate aromas. Its taste is very intense and mild at the same time, with hints of eucalyptus and fresh mint. It complements grilled meats and fish perfectly. It is best not to cook pepper. Instead it should be milled freshly on the plate.

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RED PEPPER

At the height of the dry season, towards the month of March, the peppercorns ripen on the vine, turning from yellow to red. Harvested by hand at full maturity, the peppercorns are then washed and sun-dried.

The Kampot red pepper is the region’s flagship product. It develops powerful fruity aromas. Its unique taste, less spicy than the black pepper, has sweet notes of red fruit and honey.

It enhances and flavours your dishes and desserts. Its delicate aroma develops in particular when added to strawberries and pears.

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WHITE PEPPER

White pepper is the result of the transformation of red pepper. Its outer coat is removed by soaking it only for 1 night. The Kampot white pepper develops a powerful bouquet and delicate aromas. Its intense, spicy taste conceals hints of fresh herbs and lemon.

The Kampot red and white peppers are extremely rare peppers because of the difficulty in harvesting them at the right moment at full maturity and the need to have a large enough workforce to pick these peppercorns by hand. The Kampot region is one of the few regions to produce white pepper from red pepper.

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TRADITIONAL PRODUCTION

PEPPER PLANTS

Pepper plants are propagated by cuttings. They come from plantations existing exclusively in the territory covered by the PGI. To comply with the PGI specifications, two varieties of pepper trees can be planted in the region: Kamchay and Lampong, usually called “big leaves and small leaves”. The plants grow rapidly along a 4-metre-tall wooden pole. Attaching the stem of the pepper along the pole using natural filaments made from wood bark is a meticulous task.

FERTILIZATION

The soil is worked daily by the farmers in order to monitor the development and good health of each vine. Depending on the seasons, the work carried out consists of weeding, hoeing, adding fresh soil and natural fertilizer, mainly dried cow dung or bat guano mixed in the soil. La Plantation’s Kampot pepper has been certified organic by Ecocert.

IRRIGATION

Water is very important for pepper plantations. It is essential to install water reservoirs on the plantation in order to collect rain water during the wet season, from June to October. This can be used to water each pepper vine manually once or twice a week during the dry season.

CONTROL OF INSECTS

Tp fight against insects or diseases, we have developed our own natural pesticide formula with local roots and plants. This repulsive potion is sprayed on individual trees when needed.

THE TEAM

Guy & Nathalie Porré
Owners
Seila Oum
General Manager
Keak Heng
Agricultural Director

The salt of existence is essentially in the pepper that you bring to it!

Alphonse Allais

THE PLANTATION

ENCOUNTERING CAMBODIA

It was during an exploratory trip to South-East Asia that Nathalie and Guy, the owners of The Plantation, naturally fell under the spell of Cambodia. The discovery of the region of Kampot was decisive for them and their pepper plantation visits were a real revelation.

“We found a first site in 2013 in the commune of Kon Sat. It had all the characteristics that we were looking for, namely the natural beauty of the site – land backing on to the mountains, overlooking the Secret Lake, with breathtaking views of Bokor Mountain, on one side, and the sea and Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam, on the other side.

But the quality of the site is not enough to produce a good pepper. We therefore had the soil tested by several laboratories in order to ensure that it was suitable for the pepper plantation project.

Once we had purchased the land, we needed to find the team to help us develop the project. Our meeting with Seila Oum was key to the project’s success. With his very extensive experience in the field, with a successful career in real estate, he decided to team up with us and assume the general management of The Plantation. Seila recruited Mr Keak Heng as the plantation manager. Together they assembled a team of 50 people, with experience in growing pepper. Mr Keak, the great-grandson of a planter who arrived from China at the end of the 19th century, is today considered as one of the country’s foremost experts. Our farmers were recruited in the neighbouring villages and they are our Cambodian family, and their working and housing conditions are exceptional for the region.”

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THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PLANTATION

The Plantation has 22,000 planted pepper vines and currently covers 10 hectares. We plan to add 10 hectares in 2016.

We grow the pepper in a traditional, organic way, in strict compliance with the PGI standards for Kampot pepper and use only organic fertilizers.

Although our plantation is one of the largest for the Kampot appellation of origin, our objective is not to produce pepper on an intensive scale. On the contrary, we have chosen to produce a pepper, with the focus primarily on quality, if necessary to the detriment of the production yield per hectare.

We also have the fortune to sit on the board of directors of the Kampot Pepper Producers Association (KPPA), which is chaired by Mr Ley.

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THE RESOURCES

Pepper is harvested between January and April.

The major production stages involve: harvesting, washing, boiling and lastly sun-drying over 3 days. The pepper is then selected and packed in hermetically sealed packs.

In order to meet the very high quality and hygiene requirements of European, American and Japanese importers, we have built a plant in order to process our output. This is a pilot plant in Cambodia.

MARKETING THE PEPPER

The 2016 production is currently being marketed to wholesalers and retailers. We offer three types of pepper: black pepper, red pepper and white pepper. They are sold at La Plantation in 10 and 25-kilo bags. Prices on quotation.

The Plantation is open to pepper lovers every day from 9:00 to 18:00, where we sell our peppers in 100g, 200g, 500g and 1-kilo bags.

For further information, please contact us by email (info@kampotpepper.com).

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THE PLANTATION’S ACTIONS

Other than the social mission to benefit the families of the plantation’s farmers, we also look after a school next to the property. We help around a hundred pupils with school supplies and bicycles so that they can get to school. We have built a new access road for the school and also maintain the school buildings. We also provide English lessons for the school’s young pupils.

ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT

To receive their families and friends, the owners have designed an innovative project which is unique in the country. This project has been entrusted to Yvon Chalm, who is currently one of the most sought-after architects in Cambodia.

Thanks to Yvon’s talent, this project, which involves numerous buildings, is in perfect harmony with the site and is a perfect combination of Western and Khmer tastes. The main house is built on stilts, in the same way as the Khmer houses in the neighbouring countryside, in a very modern style. The other buildings have been designed based on a revolutionary concept of reinforced concrete shells, making each module a cosy cocoon.

Energy is generated chiefly by solar panels and all green building standards have been applied. The gardens have been designed by Mrs Ling Lebrun, a Cambodian landscape gardener based in Kep.

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Kampot pepper
Kampot Pepper
Kampot Pepper
Kampot Pepper

Contact us

If you are staying in Kampot or Kep in Cambodia, you will be most welcome to visit La Plantation. Our tour guides will be delighted to show you the pepper plants and our installations for processing pepper. They are unique in the country. The juice bar and shop is open, overlooking the pepper farm and Secret Lake. Coming at lunch time? You will enjoy our BBQ formula.

La Plantation is open every day from 9:00 to 18:00.

For any requests please send an email to info@kampotpepper.com or complete the form below:




Organic Pepper Farm-La Plantatioon Map