Traditional chefs’ maître d’hôtel butter with a delicate hint of lightly mentholated pepper. This butter, with its intimation of garlic and spring flowers, is an ideal pairing for your meats, summer barbecues, baked seafood, and crunchy vegetables. Like citrus fruits, Szechwan pepper belongs to the rutaceae family. This variety, considered the best, comes from a mountainous province in Central China where it is still grown today. As early as the 13th century, Marco Polo began importing Szechwan pepper to Europe, but it took the next six centuries to see it democratized to European households. The peppercorns grow on a spiny ash tree called the zanthoxylum and are made up of a bitter black seed encased in a very aromatic pink shell. Only the latter, with slight hints of lemon, lightly spicy and even with anesthetic qualities, are ground into the pepper.