With one-way tickets to Phnom Penh and a strong desire for a family adventure, we and our twin daughters left behind all the comforts of our Toronto-based life in the fall of 2015. We left our secure government jobs, took our kids out of primary school, bid farewell to family and friends and set off to parts unknown.
It was during this 8-month family trip that we stumbled upon the most delicious peppercorns and the idea for DRØM Pepper was born. Before visiting pepper plantations in Kampot, Cambodia, we’d never paid any attention to the flavours and origins of peppercorns. Unlike the relatively extensive gourmet salt collection in our pantry back home, we’d only ever bought stale commodity pepper from unknown places of origin.
On the Cambodian pepper plantation, we felt like we tasted pepper for the very first time. We suddenly had access to the world’s most flavourful black, red and white peppercorns - plus fresh green ones that we picked off the vines and popped like candy. These delicious, organic, hand-picked, ethically sourced, single-origin peppercorns that are cultivated by proud Cambodian farmers are so special that they have a Protected Geographical Indication (like Champagne, Parma Ham, Roquefort) and the French have been feasting on them for centuries.
We were immediately inspired to focus our travels on exceptional peppercorns. From Cambodia’s plantations we traveled to Kerala, the epicentre of the world’s spice trade. We stopped by The Pepper Exchange in Fort Cochin and we participated in the International Spice Conference in Goa, which introduced us to the major players in the spice trade and the issues facing peppercorn cultivation today. After tasting peppercorns grown throughout the region, we were convinced that Kampot peppercorns were the very best and we felt strongly that North American dinner tables should have access to these amazing peppercorns. We launched DRØM Pepper when we returned to Toronto in the summer of 2016.
But beyond simply offering superior pepper, our business is about connectedness. It’s about contributing to an increasing public interest in where our food comes from, who made it, how it got on our plates and why it has the flavours it has. We feel passionately about making these connections.
A Danish citizen born in the Swedish hinterland and high-schooled in Norway, Louise is the face of and brains behind DRØM. A Scandinavian at heart who made Canada her home, her charisma and genuine interest in people put others at ease. She always dreamed of starting an enterprise and finally gets to apply her MBA smarts.
A “tri-athlete” background in the non-profit, private and public sectors, always with a social purpose. During Nigel’s career in micro-enterprise and micro-loans all over the globe, he travelled under the alias Nacho Vega. He is an expert in embarrassing his daughters when he sings. He thinks about strategy and analytics.