Our first introduction to Cameroon was with Cameroonian pepper from Penja. We thought the real Penjapeper, but looks can be deceiving. Not all pepper from Cameroon is Penja pepper. Not anymore at least. Pepper cultivation in Cameroon started at the end of the eighties of the last century. Cameroon did not yet know pepper cultivation. In Penja, first one farmer, later also others, made the switch from crops such as coffee or cocoa, and bananas to pepper. A pepper that later turned out to be distinctive.
With support from the government and with the contribution of foreign, French know-how, Penjapeper became a resounding success, and more than that, it obtained European protection in 1991. Unique at that time. Since then, only certified farmers in Penja are allowed to call pepper from the region penja pepper. In addition, companies take advantage of the name and fame of the real Penja to grow pepper outside the certification. That's just how it works.
In 2016 we became more acquainted with Penja pepper, and with people who offered this pepper and other spices from Cameroon and surrounding countries. Not to forget the unique flavors of the region. Step by step we started to discover Cameroonian cuisine and the spices that make it so special. Quite difficult, because with which reference?
We decided to expand our predominantly Asian-oriented store with a small selection of West African spices with the potential to gain a place in Western cuisine. These include the African Szechuan (igi-ata) and the garlic nut, the gourd nutmeg, alligator pepper (mbongô), corn of paradise, the African jujube and the African cubeb. Try it, and understand our enthusiasm for a taste palette that most Westerners don't (re) know!
Last news: We are fortunate to have been able to find a contact that can supply us with timiz, also known as cape long pepper. The small 'family' of long peppers now also has an African member!