Black and white pepper are both obtained from the small dried berry of the vine Piper nigrum. For white pepper, the berry is picked when fully ripe. The outer layer of shunken skin is removed, leaving the dried, grayish-white kernel. It has a milder, more delicate flavor than black pepper.
White pepper is used whole in pickling spices and marinades. Ground white pepper is used in light-colored foods such as sauces and cream soups. It is especially popular in European cuisine.
The major exporter of white pepper is Indonesia, but other important sources are Malaysia (Sawawak) and Brazil. Indonesian or Muntok white pepper has a good overall appearance and distinctive flavor. Sarawak pepper is bolder and more uniform in color than the Muntok variety, but little is imported into the United States. Brazilian pepper is the mildest-flavored white pepper.
Flavor & Aroma
Penetrating and pungent
Although white pepper is milder-flavored than black pepper, it is generally characterized by a sharp penetrating aroma and a hot pungent taste. Its flavor can be described by piney, woody, and terpeney notes. White pepper also has a skunky/barnyard note which helps to differentiate it from black pepper.