Pepper is probably the most influential spice in world history. Several European countries competed to discover the quickest routes to India and the West, all in search of pepper. Pepper was responsible for the trade routes via land and sea in Europe, China (the Silk Road), India, South Africa, and South America. This resulted in the development of navigation by stars, as people sailed the oceans in search of spices, especially pepper. When Columbus arrived in the Americas he was searching for pepper, what he found was cacao (chocolate), chiles, and vanilla - all of which are the basis for Terra Spice Company (Spices, Chiles, & Chocolates). At one time pepper was traded ounce for ounce for gold. The impact this spice has had in history is immeasurable. The best way to utilize pepper is to grind the whole peppercorn as you need it. Use the flat side of a chef knife or a spice grinder to crush, crack, or grind pepper as you need it for the best flavor. Pepper compliments almost any dish, protein, legumes, grains, or vegetable.