Icy Ling, CEO and Co-Founder of IC & Co

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French fragrance house Carrière Frère introduces Sichuan Pepper

24 Feb 2023

Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum) is named for the mountainous region in China where it has been grown for centuries.

In China, it is used primarily in Sichuan cuisine, but it is also adored for its unique scent. For centuries, the fragrance has embellished offerings to the gods and presents for loved ones. Marco Polo first brought it to Europe in the 13th century when it became popular on the tables of the Italian nobility before disappearing until the 19th century, when botanists reintroduced it to Europe. Great chefs really embraced it at the end of the 20th century, and since then, it has continued to delight with its fragrance and its taste.

Called “flower pepper” in China, this spice rare in Europe is not actually a pepper. This hardy, prickly bush grows at high altitude in the foothills of the Himalayas and is part of the Rutaceae that gather the citrus family. Its berries are picked and dried, and are more reminiscent of a fruit than a peppercorn.

A balance of fresh citrus and spicy notes, Sichuan pepper is strong and aromatic with a different scent to black or chili pepper. In its complex bouquet, notes of fresh citrus, green and bergamot contrast with warm, spicy notes.

Sichuan pepper is rare in Europe, its fragrance will add a unique, harmonious undertone to your hallway or kitchen.

Professional cooperation with Robertet has allowed Carrière Frères to offer an exquisite product that is steeped in tradition. In August, the berries of the Sichuan pepper are harvested from the foothills of the Himalayas, home to the Qiang people, where it’s grown at an altitude of over 2000 meters. Sichuan pepper is most prized in the Mao County. Strong and aromatic, it is sourced with respect for small producers following innovative processes that respect the environment. Traditional methods are still used today in its cultivation. Each bunch is picked by hand on local farms, sorted and sun-dried. Robertet’s research work from harvest to selection truly encapsulates the powerful aroma and freshness of this spice.

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