In 2008 Michael Winters began a 6 month trip around Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos when he visited Kampot Province in the South Western corner of Cambodia for the first time.
“Having a keen interest in food, I noticed a direct connection between pepper and the various Cambodian national dishes I was eating, such as Beef Lok Lak, Fish Amok, Kampot pepper crab in Kep, and lots of simple fish dishes all enhanced by a basic fresh lime juice and ground pepper dipping sauce.
On that trip I developed a deep affection for such a wonderful country, which was beginning to emerge from one of the darkest chapters of modern times. I bought some Kampot pepper at a little place I was staying by the river, outside Kampot town and unknown to me then it would be the beginning of a memorable culinary adventure.
It wasn’t until returning in 2012, and wanting to buy a larger quantity of pepper, that I was advised to visit a place where you could purchase pepper directly from the producer, merely ½ mile from where I was staying. I therefore cycled down to the ‘FarmLink Ltd.’ site and was ‘introduced’ to KADODE Kampot pepper for the first time.
The FarmLink manager, explained to me how they worked with many local farmers to produce pepper in the traditional organic manner, along with hand sorting and grading that I witnessed first hand and finally a tasting session. All of the black, red and white peppercorns I tasted were extraordinary, yet markedly different in both flavour and aroma, so I ended up buying large amounts of all three types, keen to take home and introduce to friends and family.
From that point onwards I couldn’t use anything else. Some time later, when I began to run out of my pepper supplies I contacted FarmLink to find out whether I could buy KADODE Kampot pepper in the UK. Their initial reply was a definitive, ‘No’, but indicated they had been looking for a UK partner for some time.
What transpired was a great many conversations, meetings including visits to Kampot to meet with Sebastien and Christophe Lesieur from FarmLink and also the some of the farmers on their plantations. I was asked “Whether I would consider partnering with them introduce Kadode pepper to the UK ? The answer was an immediate ‘Yes’, as I felt I had to introduce this phenomenal pepper to a discerning UK food audience.
So, fast forward almost 3 years since my original visit to FarmLink and I am very proud to launch KADODE Kampot Pepper UK.”