Le rose pour des baies roses – Pink for Pink Peppercorns

When it comes to bright summery colours, I am an easy target for marketers. As I am writing this however, I realize that I say that about colder colours too, such as blue and green. Well,well! What does it mean exactly? It just means that I like things coloured. Not a few but many coloured things, which does not make our house clutter-free, as I am told by …never mind. But I am working on it. I once asked my incredible artist friend Lena what colours she liked. Her answer was : “I don’t know Béa, I am an artist painter, so I just love all colours.” In view of her beautifully coloured paintings, I wonder even why I bothered to ask the question. It was just obvious.

So colours and I are long-time friends, even when it comes down to peppercorns.

The story of Pink Peppercorns
, or la baie rose de Bourbon (Schimus terebinthifolus)

    Take a black peppercorn. Standing proudly on a shelf in a grocery store. It can stay there for hours and I will not notice it.

    Take a pink peppercorn. Standing proudly on a shelf in a grocery store. As soon as I walk in, I see it right away.

Because it is pink, or red, in three words, it is coloured.

The logic starts there for me. Add a touch of colour and my eyes get distracted like the hands of a compass approaching a magnet. And so I fell in love with pink peppercorns.

Pink peppercorns are the dried berries from the Baies rose plant. They are cultivated in Madagascar and imported via France (don’t ask me why!), which explains partially why they do lighten considerably the consumer’s purse: they are an expensive spice. Not only are they colourful BUT they are also used in cooking, such as a variety of sauces, meat and fish dishes, and fruit such as melon or exotic fruit. The seeds have a strong mixed flavor of pepper and anise, with sweet accents.

It took me some time to find my little babies, my baies roses, but after calling around my favorite local suppliers, I felt I had just won the lottery prize when the voice on the other end of the line told me “Pink peppercorns? Hold on…yes we have some!” The next thing I remember was me jumping in my car to drive the short 2 miles to get my babies. And do you know why it was so hard for me to find them? Because for the longest time, I could not find the proper English translation. And let me tell you, I had tried “You know, I am looking for baies roses, I mean, red pepper“. I must have gone to the wrong place for them not to understand “red pepper”. Not understanding “Baies roses”, ok, I can see as I was not trying so hard, but red pepper! In any case, for some odd reason, there exist at least 5 names for this spice. Some call it red peppercorn, some pink peppercorn, I even read pepper rosé and Peruvian pepper tree.

I will now call them my pink peppercorns.

And to do what?

I will show you what soon.

Posted in General


  1. super jolie mise en page et du diptyque et de la solitaire.
    et quelles couleurs !

  2. This is too spooky Béa,
    only yesterday I was organising my pantry cupboard and found a jar of pink peppercorns, that I’d completely forgotten about!
    After my cleaning I left the jar out on the bench for inspiration to strike.
    … so I wait with baited breath!… quite literally!!

  3. hi bea,

    sam is right. i have been going through a pink peppercorn phase. the best way to get started, in my opinion, is to taste it in a simple way to appreciate its qualities, like cheese, butter or something creamy.

    fondue, caeser salad dressing, crab cakes were good starts for me. just a few night ago i infused them into a beurre monte as a sauce for a braised oxtail wonton.

    start here – there are links in the post for a few more dishes as well. the only mistake you can make is adding too much or burning it – doesnt take to searing well.


  4. What beautiful pictures. I must admit that I’ve not seen pink/red/rosey peppercorns on their own around here–always mixed with black and white ones in those decorative mills…Mind you, I live in a…culinarily safe…town…(more adventurous than a few years ago, but still)…


  5. in Osaka, they had a dark chocolate with pink peppercorns on top. Didn’t get to try them, but it sounded very interesting. Looking forward to what colorful dish you come up with! 😉

  6. they are a splendid color. and there is alot you can do with them. a friend of mine crushed a little and used it to coat a log of goat cheese for a cheese plate. we’ve had fun throwing in whole berries with sugar and moscato to poach some pineapple. you’ve just inspired me! great photos!

  7. I’m like you. I like things coloured ! It’s problably one of the reasons I love you blog ! Your recipes are always colored. Je les mange des yeux 🙂

  8. As always Bea, what great pictures! I can’t wait to see what you do with these colorful little marbles.

  9. wow. those pics bring back memories. i grew up in a house with a beautiful california peppercorn tree in the back yard. and on it were….pink peppercorns!!! i loved climbing that tree with my book and whatever snack i had procured from the pantry. aaaah, memories. can’t wait for your recipe!

  10. Yes, peppercorns and chocolate! I’m thinking of a piece I had a month ago or so… whatever you make, I am looking forward to seeing it! (and dreaming of eating it!)

  11. Oh you can’t have us waiting! It’s not fair, not after those fabulous pictures…! 🙂

    Can’t wait for your recipe.

  12. i like colors too, and for me colors of meal are very important … Ah, pink peppercorns, i love this color… And wich recipe with pink peppercorns, ice cream ?

  13. Bea last Saturday i have cooked fish, i thought they are “sardines”, i marinated with the zest of kaffir lime and crushed red peppercorn.. i put in the oven with olive oil.
    When my husband and son were eating the fish they found too much “arrête de poisson” google say “stop fish” HA HA HA …
    But later on i realized that the fish were not sardine but “ALOSE”. Do you know that kind of fish?

  14. Hello all,

    Thanks very much for your lovely comments! I surely will have the responsability NOT to disappoint you. MY! 😉 I am about to post a first recipe using this sweet seed, but had a first one still on the stove for you! (ahahah not literally of course, English is a fun language, thanks to the English people!!)

    A bientôt


  15. Hi Bea – am eagerly looking forward to reading what you’re going to do with them! I have a jar of pink peppercorns in brine and another jar of dried pink peppercorns. I’ll use some of the latter to make some ginger almond biscotti (Johanna of the Passionate Cook sent me some as part of blogging by mail a while ago, and these biscotti were delicious), but definitely need some more ideas!

  16. Pingback: Chocolate, Lime Curd and Pink Peppercorn Meringue Tartlets

  17. Interesting website. In early March we were packing for a work term in South America. Our neighbour in Canada had a farewell dinner for us. He used pink peppercorns in a citrus vinaigrette on salmon compliments of the King Street Bistro, Kitchener, Ontario. It was devine and he spent many hours preparing this magnificent meal. Before leaving he presented us with the two most elusive ingredients in our town; a bottle of sherry vinegar and a package of pink peppercorns. We took them to Chile and have amazed many here with this wonderful vinaigrette using the beautiful peppercorns. They are not used in the preparation of fish here and cannot be found. It is an elegant, delicious meal that takes us back to our neighbourhood each time it is prepared.
    I just wrote to him this morning to tell him about a chocolate/ pink peppercorn molten cake on the Williams Sonoma website. Can’t wait to get home and try these.
    Pink peppercorns appear to be uniting many on this crazy planet!
    Thank-you Bea!

  18. 1 cup pink peppercorn ground in 2 quarts vanilla icecream base…amazing

  19. Hi, I am in food supplys to restauranst and the catering industry and I am looking for baie rose/pink peppercorns. I need a supplier
    then can supply on a regular basis. thanks

  20. Pingback: Grilled Pineapple with Pink Peppercorns & Lavender « Discover Lavender

  21. Hi Mary Zhou, i’m from Mauritius island. if you are still interested in the pink peppercorn just let me know.I can supply you on a regular basis. Hope to hear from you soon

  22. Bea, pink pepercorns grow in many tropical countries, and Brazil and Peru are some of the biggest producers of it. It is so abundant and afordable in BR that it is used for plate decoration (the whole plate) when serving finger foods in a stylish party.

    Hence, the pink peppercorn lovers (such as myself), should look for this item in a Latin market in your region, where it should be sold for a much lower cost, probably due to the need of way less French pomp than the one grown in Madagascar, but nevertheless, sold as French.