For your health's sake.
The pure ocean waters of New Zealand flow through the fronds of giant kelp, providing nutrients to New Zealand's fastest growing plant, Macrocystis pyrifera (giant kelp). This is a plant capable of growing in the high energy surf zone, battling the crashing waves and the ebb and flow of the tide - a truly fascinating story. This journey starts with microscopic kelp spores floating around the ocean before attaching to a rock to enable them to soak up energy from the sun and grow skywards whilst feeding on the sea's natural bounty.
It is this marvellous plant, containing an enormous array of minerals, vitamins and trace elements, that is hand-harvested ready for use as Valere kelp pepper. It is a good source of iodine, and has over three times the potassium content compared with sodium. Being bathed in the ocean and simply dried after picking, it has all the nutritional advantages of the goodness of the plant combined with natural sea water. Valere kelp pepper can be used either as a condiment, shaken directly onto food or as a seasoning in cooking.
Valere Kelp Pepper began when my family used it dried and flaked onto fish at BBQs on the beach. We then cracked it into smaller pieces and used it at home, where it sat on the family dining table and was shaken onto meals. One evening our four-year-old son asked "pass the kelp pepper, please" and a new name was coined.
Our unique method of drying the kelp to retain its colour, goodness and flavour has changed little since that time. The kelp is hand-harvested from fresh growing seaweed on our marine farms in Akaroa Harbour, Tory Channel and the Chatham Islands. We also sustainably harvest live kelp from the wild - under fishing permits. After a period of initial drying on sun-heated rocks on the beach, we use a further drying process - using controlled warm temperature and high airflow to ensure consistent, even drying. Nothing is added or removed from our totally natural product - except the water!
Kelp has been eaten by man for centuries and forms a major part of many peoples' diets. It is also taken by many as a health product. As a medical doctor, I have always been aware of the need to eat a healthy diet and take regular exercise. Within my role as a general practitioner, I recommended, where appropriate, the use of live foods in the diet in preference to pharmaceuticals.
As I moved more towards natural remedies in my daily work, it seemed only logical, having now ceased medical practice, to continue my interest in the health food line whilst associating with it a passion for good, wholesome cuisine, and it seemed to prove a very old cliche to ring true - You are what you eat.
Valere kelp pepper looks like pepper but tastes like kelp. So why use kelp pepper? A natural flavour enhancer, Valere kelp pepper teases the senses with the aroma and taste of the sea. It's healthy, tasty, and adds flavour and gourmet presentation to your meals.
Peter Thornly at Icon Restaurant in Wellington was the first chef to use Valere kelp pepper. 'I am using it in a tuna and natural seaweed dish', Peter said. 'It has a taste that fits exactly into the sort of distinctive New Zealand menu that we are aiming for.'
So why not shake some Valere kelp pepper onto your meal, and feel good about it, whilst enjoying the taste, says Dr Nicki Beattie, Marketing Manager, NZ Kelp Ltd.