Cambodian pepper production is documented as far back as the 13th century. The climate and soil found in Kampot Province provides an ideal combination for pepper plants, and many fruits.
There are numerous pepper plantations around the Kep/Kampot area, and its distinct aromatic flavor has made it a world renowned product, much sought after by gourmet chefs.
More than a million pepper poles were producing thousands of tons for export up until the mid 70s. Local farmers using traditional and modern techniques have been able to revive, in recent years, a sustainable harvest of this world famous pepper. Kampot Pepper received the GI-label (Geographical Indication) in 2010 which pushed its revival on the international market.
The peppercorns go through several maturing stages whilst on the vine, but the best is surely the young green berries that grow in long bunches and are eaten fresh, great with any kind of stir-fry; season Sept – Feb.
Harvesting is March / April, and the peppercorns are then dried in the sun. A few large pepper plantations are located in Phnom Voar, on the way to the caves at Kampong Trach. In Kampot you can find plantations in Chumkriel area. A great opportunity to view the vines and buy some of this superior pepper ($20/kilo). (In the markets it might be mixed with lower quality pepper).
To Phnom Voar: from Kampot Durian Statue, head east towards KT on road #33. Continue another 5km after the Kep White Horse statue and turn left at the Vine Retreat sign through the durian archway just after the school. Continue straight, over the railway lines and up the road for a few km until you arrive at the plantations. Altitude 56m