THE HEART OF THE ANCIENT SPICE TRADE
The spices we offer from India, are from a community of around 450 local small-scale farmers, who strictly adhere to traditional farming methods. Our farmers are mostly based in the region of Wayanad, a UNESCO designated world heritage hotspot. This mountainous region, full of medicinal plants, provide a unique and world-recognized terroir for the cultivation of perennial crops and spices.
THE HOME OF THE BLACK PEPPER
Wayanad is considered to be the home of black pepper and the Wayanadan variety is considered to be one of the first identified varieties of black pepper in the world. The famed Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, came all the way, looking for these prized peppercorns.
Wars were fought and lives were lost in the struggle to control the spice trade. History mentions about the Portuguese explorers asking the Zamorin, the local ruler, if they could take the pepper plant back to Portugal. The Zamorin allows them, to the complete dismay of his people. Upon being asked by his subjects, why he allowed them to take the plant and thereby losing potential future revenue, the Zamorin apparently replied – ‘they can take our pepper plants, but they cannot take our soil, our weather, or our famous monsoon rains’.
A BOUQUET OF SPICES, TEAS AND COFFEES
The Wayanadan Turmeric has been mentioned in ancient scriptures, as the secret of the valour and grandeur, of the local warrior princesses. Home to a bouquet of high-quality spices like cardamom, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, Wayanad is also known for its quality teas and what is probably the most expensive Robusta coffee in the world.
Anith Puthiyankath, one of our co-founders, hails from a family of merchants who have been trading in Kerala for three generations. Anith carries decades’ worth of experience working and cultivating relationships with this select group of farmers in the Wayanad region. Through this partnership we bring the finest local spices directly from the farms to your table.
THE WAYANADAN TGSEB – THE HIGHEST GRADE OF BLACK PEPPER IN THE WORLD
Over the years, Anith has been involved in various projects, with this farming community, to revive unique local varieties like the Wayanadan TGSEB. Believed to be the first identified variety of black pepper in the world, our signature spice product from the region, Wayanadan Tellicherry Garbled Special Extra Bold (TGSEB) stands out for its size, colour, flavour, and aroma.
Contrary to popular belief, Tellicherry is not a distinct variety of black pepper, but rather just a grading system. Any variety of black pepper from Kerala over 4.25mm in size can be labelled as Tellicherry. Also, black pepper doesn’t grow in Tellicherry, it is just the Port in this city from which the black pepper was exported in ancient times.
The Wayanadan however is a unique local variety. It is also referred to as Bold due to its large size. When Anith approached the farmers in 2012 to create an exclusive sourcing channel for the Wayanadan, this variety was almost extinct. Due to low yield, expensive farming conditions, and lack of demand from big buyers, the Wayanadan black pepper had almost become extinct, and consequently, local farmers were replacing it with higher-yielding and hybrid varieties.
The project yielded a mere 141kg in 2014, however through careful planning and working together, today we get slightly over 500kg. The Wayanadan TGSEB is only offered to a select few clients across the world including some of the top Michelin chefs, premium retailers, private clients and Vanille Vanille.