When fully ripened berries (from the pepper vine), with their outer covering removed, are allowed to ferment naturally in the sun - the result is creamy, white peppercorns.
Pepper has a sharp, hot and biting taste. It's a warming spice. It is one of the oldest and important spices in the world. So important, that in ancient times it was used to pay taxes. In 410 A.D, when the Huns lay seige of Rome, 3000 pounds of pepper was demanded as ransom.