Human culture has given rise to a number of incredible products that stand out for their uniqueness and long-lasting tradition. In order to ensure that these products are easily distinguishable from similar products that do not achieve such qualities, they are given a GI trademark. This also protects the uniqueness of the pepper grown in the Kampot area, which is unrivalled in the world.
Thanks to the protected geographical indication (GI), the buyer is assured that s/he is holding a product that will surprise him/her with its exceptional character, which is largely determined by the geographical area in which it was produced.
To get a better idea of how this way of protecting products works, let us use one of the most famous examples of a product protected by a geographical indication. We are speaking of champagne, a drink that should never be absent from any major celebratory event.
You do not have to be a wine connoisseur to know that Champagne comes from the French province of Champagne-Ardenne. The fertile hillsides here are ideal for growing delicate sparkling wine with a specific taste. However, sparkling wines are also grown in other parts of France and of course, in other parts of the world. It was therefore necessary to make a clear distinction for consumers as to which wine should be described as the real Champagne and which are only a distant cousin.
After all, we do not have to go far in our quest for exceptional products from specific localities. We also have 23 such products here in the Czech Republic. If you have ever tasted traditional Wallachian frgál, explored what lies between the delicate layers of Hořice tubes, or wrinkled your nose at Olomouc tvarůžky, then you have most likely had the privilege of encountering a purely Czech product with a protected geographical indication.
Just like the sparkling treasure from France or the preserved delicacy from Olomouc, peppercorns grown in the Kampot region of Cambodia are the only ones in the world protected by this trademark. The location, found in the south of the country, offers exceptional conditions for pepper cultivation in the form of fertile soil, combined with a humid climate coming from the sea and the shadows cast by the peaks of the Bokor Mountains.
It is this location that accounts for the specific taste of the fruit of the local pepper trees. However, this is not the only difference that distinguishes Kampot pepper from others. The way it is grown, which has been handed down from generation to generation in the families of local farmers for hundreds of years, also plays a large part in the uniqueness of this spice. No mechanisation, no pesticides and only natural fertilisers. Everything here is in perfect harmony with nature and the refined taste of this pepper.
And that is precisely the reason why this pepper has been awarded the geographical trademark. It is because no other product can pass itself off as this specific pepper. No counterfeit that does not come from the picturesque Kampot, that contains traces of chemical fertilisers and sprays, or that tastes like a faint imitation of the real original, can deprive you of the unique experience of Kampot pepper.
However, the trademark on this pepper also protects the farmers who grew it. It is a testament to their diligence and daily determination to make their dreams come true through the sweat and calluses on their hands.