Thursday, July 11, 2013


Pepper Jelly Set

Do you like it hot?  How hot is hot? 
The Scoville Heat Scale rates the hotness of peppers and is based on the measured concentration of the chemical compound capsaicin.  The highest rating can be from one to two million units; this being the level found in professional pepper spray!  This system bottoms out at zero units for the everyday bell pepper.
Somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 units
At Avanti Savoia, the hottest product that we stock is rated somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 units.  We do offer about 15 different “pepper” products, as well as several pickles and jellies that are enlivened by the addition of hot peppers.  Some of our “hot stuff” is very familiar stuff such as various peppercorns (Piper nigrum of the Piperaceae family) and flaked and ground peppers (Capsicum).  We also stock the so called pink peppercorn (Schinus molle), which is actually the dried berry from what is commonly known as the Peruvian pepper tree or the Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthiifolus).  Another species that is called a peppercorn although it is not a close relative at all of any of the previously listed peppers is the Sichuan peppercorn.  It is procured from a type of Ash tree, (Zanthoxylum).
A flowering vine… native to India
Let’s start with the familiar black pepper (Piper nigrum), found on virtually every table in America.  This dried fruit of a flowering vine is a native of India.  Its pungent, zesty flavor has been highly valued for centuries and as we know the search for pepper/spices played an important role in the discovery of the new world.  Through the 15th century this highly prized commodity was imported in Europe, the Mid East and North Africa from the Malabar region of India. By the 16th century pepper plants were also being cultivated in South East Asia, Sumatra, Madagascar, Malaysia and elsewhere.  Pepper remained a luxury product well into the 19th century when the East India Company began importing enormous amounts, therefore making the spice far more available and far more affordable.
1/5th of the world’s spice trade
Piper nigrum is the unripe fruit which is harvested, cooked and dried producing black peppercorns. Pepper accounts for about 1/5th of the world’s spice trade and is often categorized by its place of origin.  Reportedly Vietnam is the world’s largest producer.
Green peppercorns are simply the unripe fruit that is allowed to dry without the cooking process.  White peppercorns are the core of the fruit which has been soaked in water for a week with the outer covering removed.  This produces a mild and light colored berry appreciated by chefs for its appearance as well as flavor
World’s finest peppercorns
Avanti Savoia stocks several options:  BourbonBarrel Smoked Peppercorns are cracked peppercorns that have been slow smoked with aged bourbon barrels which give them a wispy hint of smoke and a subtle oaky flavor that is reminiscent of fine Kentucky bourbon.  Rainbow Peppercorn Mix  features not only a beautiful appearance but, a flavor and aroma that are more complex than black peppercorns alone.  The assortment includes Tellicherry Black, Freeze Dried Green, Montok White and Baies Rose.  Brandied Pepper  is a blend of black and green peppercorns laced with brandy.  Tellicherry Black Peppercorns  are powerful and slightly hot with a hint of sweetness. They originate from the Malabar Coast of Northern India and are considered to be some of the world's finest peppercorns.  White Peppercorns, Muntok are simply ripe peppercorns that have had the skin removed before being dried.    White pepper adds a delicate pungency and blends well in dishes where black pepper would be visible as dark specs.
This is an exciting ingredient
Szechuan Peppercorns are derived from at least two species of the genus Zanthoxylum. They are a wonderfully unique seasoning that is not closely related to the Piper nigrum.  The flavor is derived from the outer hulls of the small dried fruit of the Szechuan pepper and is described as a combination of pepper, citrus and nutmeg; this is an exciting ingredient.  Found in Five Spice Powder it is also delicious in Hot and Sour Soup.  It seems to work best when ground in a mortar and pestle and passed through a strainer.
Chili peppers
What we usually refers to as Chili peppers (Capsicum) include many, many varieties world wide and this is where the Scoville Heat Scale becomes interesting. These are a genus of flowering plants in the Nightshade family (Solanaceae.)
Chef Joseph’s particular favorite
Ajis Amarillo, Ground is a beautiful yellow-orange pepper that is a main stay in Peruvian cuisine.  This pepper has a robust; fruity “burn” coming in from 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. This is one of Chef Joseph’s particular favorites.   
A sweet dried fruit bouquet
Our Aleppo Pepper, Ground is a dark red, coarsely ground, medium hot pepper with a sweet dried fruit bouquet that hails from the city of Aleppo (Halab) in Northwest Syria. This is a delicious table side condiment used on a wide range of foods.  Aleppo Pepper adds a perfect zip to breakfast eggs or egg salad. 10,000 to 23,000 Scofield units
African Bird Pepper 
Our Cayenne Pepper is ground African Bird Pepper, which comes in at about 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units.
Widely used seasoning
Crushed Red Pepper is a widely used seasoning in many ethnic cuisines, BBQ, pizza, etc.  Wake up an everyday tomato sauce with a little Crushed Red Pepper.
Traditionally blended with olive oil, lemon juice and salt to flavor meats
Mild to medium Marash Pepper Flakes display fruity, slightly acidic flavors with earthy undertones.  These flakes are traditionally blended with olive oil, lemon juice and salt to flavor meats such as chicken, lamb and goat. 
Smoky, raisin – like flavor
Urfa Biber Pepper Flakes, also known as the Isot Pepper, is grown in the Urfa region (Saliurfa) of Turkey.  A unique process of sun drying during the day and wrapping and sweating at night creates the smoky, raisin – like flavor with medium heat – 50,000 Scoville units.
Ideal for any Southwestern recipe
Pure Chili Powder #31012 is a mixture of Ancho (1,000 to 1,500 units), Pasilla Negro (1,000 to 2,500 units) and New Mexican chilies (100 to 1,000 units). Pure Chili Powder is ideal for any Southwestern recipe. 
Familiar rich color
Spanish Paprika (Capsicum annum) is appreciated for its mild flavor and familiar rich color.
Essential to traditional Spanish cuisine
Smoked Paprika, a specialty of the la Vera region west of Madrid “Pimenton de la Vera Dulce” has a distinct smoky flavor and aroma. It is dried by smoking over oak wood which adds a sweet smoky flavor essential to traditional Spanish cuisine such as paella and chorizo.
Oaky flavors of fine Kentucky bourbon
Bourbon Smoked Paprika  Paprikas are often smoked, but none of them are bourbon smoked. This is a combination of sweet, piquant paprika and the mellow, oaky flavors of fine Kentucky bourbon.
Made in the old fashioned southern way
The next products will introduce you to some of the spicier offerings from Lowcountry Produce, a small South Carolina business that specializes in high-quality relishes, chutneys, sauces, preserves, and pickles made in the old fashioned southern way. Whether you are a long standing connoisseur of low country fare or just beginning to appreciate this historic cuisine, we know that you will be charmed by the great offerings from Lowcountry Produce.
Sweet CucumberPickles with Jalapeno Warning! You're getting the best of sweet & spicy hot here-so make sure you like heat!
Pickled Garlic with Jalapeno Similar to Lowcountry’s other popular Pickled Garlic but with a kick. Use to prepare a savory and racy aioli sauce.
Garlic Pepper Jelly will have garlic lovers will swooning with happiness; try it with grilled Italian bread, meat glaze, pizza topping -or wrapped in a tortilla with semi-sharp cheese for a quintessential quesadilla.
Pepper Jelly has become one of our classic favorites- Pepper Jelly poured over cream cheese and spread on crackers is always served at our Avanti Savoia holiday open house.
Strawberry PepperPreserves makes an other wise plain breakfast a truly sensual experience! Try these preserves with rich red strawberries and just a touch of spicy Habanero peppers for a perfectly delicious balance.
Many modern chefs are taken with this concept
Desserts prepared using pepper(s) may seem like an unusual combination at first glance.  However, considering that the Aztecs were fond of chili mixed with their chocolate it is not so outlandish that many modern chefs are taken with this concept.  Check out the following take on the classic French recipe for Tarte Tatin devised by chocolate genius, Jacques Torres.

Serves 8
For the puff pastry:

  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • 1½ Tablespoons water
  • 1 sheet puff pastry dough

For the apples:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 31/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, halved lengthwise, and sprinkled with lemon juice

1.      For the puff pastry, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk together the corn syrup and water and set aside.
2.      On a flat work surface, roll the pastry to 1/8- inch thick and trim into a 12-inch square.  Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet and, using a docker or the tines of a fork, dock the dough (pierce the dough with holes).  Place in the oven and bake until lightly golden brown.
3.      Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.  Trim the puff pastry into a 9-inch circle, brush with corn syrup, and return to the oven, baking to a golden brown.  Remove from the oven, maintaining the temperature, and reserve.
4.      For the apples, in a small bowl, combine the sugar and pepper. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch saucepan with the butter, sprinkle the bottom of the pan evenly with the peppered sugar, and arrange the apples on top, packing tightly.  Place over medium heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized.  Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes, or until the apples are softened.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
5.      To assemble the tarte Tatin, set the puff pastry circle over the apples and invert a plate on top.  Turn the pan to unmold the tarte and set aside, keeping warm.  To serve, place the tarte Tatin on a serving plate and serve with a chilled glass of Moscato d’ Asti.