Tasmanian pepper is as the name suggests originally, from Tasmania
However, it also thrives in other Australian states, in News South Wales and in Victoria.
It is now grown also in other tropical countries, but it is still expensive and not always readily available.
Mostly it is collected laboriously from wild plants. This is certainly the reason why it is so expensive.
As a spice, the berries and the leaves are used
The leaves, however, I have never seen or eaten in Europe.
The dried berries, however, you can find nowadays also outside of Australia.
Tasmanian pepper does not belong to the pepper family. So, its name is not really correct.
It tastes fruity and berry-like, but it is also spicy, much spicier than black pepper.
The dried berries of Tasmanian pepper are darker, blacker than brown, and slightly larger than black pepper.
Like Sechuan pepper, it leaves a tingling and then slightly numb sensation on the tongue.
In contact with a liquid, the black berries change color and become purple
Which is very decorative, for example on cream cheese.
Otherwise, it is excellent on any kind of meat, even the exotic ones like kangaroo and emu. But it also does well on vegetables. In any case, it gives an intense flavor to any dish.
A small pinch of ground Tasmanian pepper sprinkled over fresh fruit or fruit salad makes a fruity, peppery, exotic dessert. And because of its color, a beautiful one at that.
However, it loses its pungency and aroma in high heat, so it’s better if you don’t cook it too long but add it towards the end of the cooking time.
Tasmanian pepper, unfortunately, cannot be ground in a pepper mill, the berries are soft and brittle and gum up the pepper mills. It works better in a mortar.
Here’s an idee of a little aperitif snack:
- Cream cheese natural (buscion, formaggini, cottage cheese, ricotta,)
- Salt to taste
- Tasmanian pepper crushed in a mortar
Mash the cream cheese with a fork
Add salt and mix
Sprinkle with Tasmanian pepper