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Madagascar pepper or voatsiperifery is the fruit of a plant of the same family as the one from which black pepper is obtained. It is a rare and precious spice because it is wild and difficult to harvest. The flavor is similar to that of pepper but is less spicy.

The plant and the fruit

Madagascar pepper is the fruit of a plant of the Piperaceae family called Piper borbonense, therefore belonging to the Piper genus, the same as the Piper nigrum from which black pepper is obtained. white and green pepper. The plant is a climber, a liana, just like the Piper nigrum, which grows in the tropical forests of Madagascar. It loves humidity but the roots should not be immersed in water or they would rot.
The name voatsiperifery with which the spice is indicated is simply the union of the word voa , the Malagasy word for fruit and tsiperifery which is the local name of the plant. The fruit grows only on the youngest branches and this combined with the fact that the plant grows up to twenty meters makes harvesting not at all easy.

The production of voatsiperifery pepper

The voatsiperifery peppercorn is small in size and has a color ranging from brownish red to darker shades depending on the duration and type of drying to which it is subjected after collection.

The harvest is done by hand between June and August. A kilo of pepper is obtained from 10 kg of fresh product that is dried in the sun. As anticipated, this plant is not cultivated, the fruits are harvested from the wild plant and given the difficulties of harvesting in the past it was carried out by cutting the plants, impoverishing the forest and losing the fruit plants!

Now the plants are regularly pruned by the pickers to keep them at a height of 2.5 meters. So the harvest of the voatsiperifery is considered by many to not be eco-sustainable, but steps are being taken to improve this aspect, in some areas the difficult harvesting is carried out acrobatically without damaging the plants, while the practice of radical pruning is in any case better than total abatement which unfortunately resists in some areas.

Characteristics of the pepper voatsiperifery

The flavor of voatsiperifery pepper is different but not too much from that of black pepper, it is described as an explosion of aromas ranging from balsamic to floral, to precious wood, more intense than in black pepper. Voatsiperifery pepper is less spicy than black pepper , so the perception of flavors is not anesthetized as can happen with very spicy foods. Outside Madagascar this pepper is little known so it is not very well known and used in the herbal field, but in Madagscar it is obviously another story and the applications and properties attributed to it are the same as those attributed to black pepper: diuretic, antimicrobial, digestive, anti-inflammatory, etc. In this regard, it should always be remembered that spicy spices, whatever traditional medicine says, which is not always right, are not indicated in case of ulcer and gastritis.

Voatsiperifery pepper in the kitchen

The main use in Malagasy cuisine is on red meat and fish dishes but there are also combinations with vegetables, in this case it goes well especially with the flavors of the forest and woody, for example grilled mushrooms and asparagus. Another possibility to combine it with vegetable dishes is to crush it and emulsify it. An imaginative combination is also the one with desserts and the recipe for a dessert we have chosen.

Wild Pepper Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients for 4 people

dark chocolate for pastry 150gr + 50gr for the garnish

Madagscar wild pepper half a teaspoon

Whole liquid cream 30% 70gr

Whole eggs (very fresh) 4

Powdered sugar 30gr


For the chocolate cream

1) Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, placing a container containing the coarsely crumbled chocolate in a pot of boiling water.

2) In another pot, boil the liquid cream.

3) Pour the liquid cream three times over the chocolate, stirring gently with a kitchen spatula.

4) Separate the egg whites from the yolks, then add the yolks to the cream-chocolate preparation and mix vigorously.

5) Grind the pepper and then pass it through a sieve (or a very fine mesh strainer) to keep only a well-ground powder.

6) Mix it with the liquid cream.

For the whipped egg whites

1) Beat the egg whites until stiff until they reach a nice consistency.

2) When whipping the egg whites, be careful to mix with a movement from bottom to top and not circular or they will fall apart.

3) Add a tablespoon of whipped egg whites to the cream-chocolate preparation to soften the mousse, then gradually incorporate the egg whites, stirring gently with the kitchen spatula.

4) Stop mixing when all the egg whites have been incorporated.

5) Pour the mousse into individual molds, then let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

6) Sprinkle with chocolate flakes obtained by means of a vegetable peeler

Recipe source:


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