Cambodia’s Kampot pepper, a go-to spice for chefs around the world, has joined an elite group of gourmet food items whose names are protected by the European Union (EU), joining products such as Gruyere cheese from France and Parma ham from Italy.
The coveted designation, known as Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) works like a trademark protection that certifies the origin of regional foods. It means that any product sold in EU countries calling itself “Kampot pepper” must come from a designated region in southern Cambodia that includes Kampot and neighboring Kep province.
The recognition was awarded to Kampot peppers in February 2016, making it the first Cambodian product to receive the PGI label, the EU office in Cambodia said in a statement.
The peppercorns, which come in white, red and black, are described by gourmet chefs as having a complex flavor with floral overtones. Cambodian farmers from the seaside region on the Gulf of Thailand say the area’s microclimate and mineral-rich soil give the pepper its unique taste. The Associated Press