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Le Piment d’Espelette

November 15, 2011

The History of Espelette pepper : A village, a pepper, a party

Espelette, it is not just a spice that has come to put his signature on Basque cuisine, but a small village nestled at the foot of the mountain serpentine streets decorated with bright red peppers strung on strings manually, fruit by fruit.

These are hung in garlands under the eaves of farmhouses all white, peppers taking a bit of sun before being ground to powder.

A Espelette, the last weekend of October, the chili is king at a yearly festival. After Sunday Mass with blessing of peppers, a ceremony is held during which the Brotherhood of Espelette pepper inducts a dozen people of Aquitaine, of Euzkadi and Navarre, chosen from the world of gastronomy, the media, entertainment and sport.

History & Culture

The Espelette pepper is the fruit of the genus Capsicum, Solanaceae, species and variety annuum population “Gorria”.

This local variety has a certain genetic heterogeneity that gives it its hardiness. Herbaceous annual plant, with determinate growth and bushy, it can reach over a meter in height. Each foot produces 15 to 20 peppers, 500 to 700 grams of fruit. Traditionally grown in this region of the Basque Country since ancient times, considered part of Peppercorn, the Espelette pepper was first used to meet some chocolate recipes, Bayonne being the seventeenth century, the first city of chocolate kingdom. It is also in the seventeenth century that the father Larramendy establishes the relationship between the mina piper (pepper hot) Castilian, the Spanish paprika, and bipergorria (red pepper), which means Basque chilli powder now considered a spice. From the eighteenth century, the Basque Country hams are covered prior to drying.

Video presentation in English of Piment D’espelette (Espelette Pepper)

Other presentation in French


Chopped, it’s seasonings piperade It is used for refining the famous Bayonne ham omelette with ratatouille in the preparations of veal, rabbit, or lamb (the Axoa) in stew. With grilled fish or Spanish fashion. Salad with tomatoes and onions. It is also used for puddings, pies, sausages and other meats
There are a dozen varieties.

Green, young and slightly spicy. Buds, the Espelette pepper is between cayenne pepper and paprika and is at level 4 of the Scoville scale which comprises 10

Variations on the same theme Nowadays, many companies offer the Espelette pepper in different forms from ground Espelette pepper. Assembled with the red sweet pepper from the Basque country, vegetables and spices, it will be possible to tame the power of Espelette pepper and enhance its flavor and fragrance. Mashed
For a sauce flavored with strong taste Powder
This is the result of the slow drying of pepper and a brief stint in the oven to complete the phase of dehydration before final grinding. It advantageously replaces the pepper and gives a tonic accent in different recipes without altering the flavor. It flavors the pasta, rice, sauces, mashed potatoes, dressing, is sprinkled on eggs, grilled meats, sandwiches and decorate an edge of plate. If you are in the country, mayonnaise amounted to “Bayonnaise”, that is to say that replaces the initial mustard chili powder. You can also use it with sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, to deglaze …

In Cream, for a fragrant and spicy sauce. This preparation is lower than the chili paste of Espelette. It is used as a spicy mayonnaise on salads, fish, meat hot and cold on toast. In the pasta to color and flavor. The edge of plate with cold cuts or hot fish.

In brine, The whole peppers are prepared in brine for Espelette peppers and sweet peppers from the Basque Country in vinegar. For young Espelette pepper. Drop by if you are Espelette in the Basque Country because, like the chili, the village has a unique flavor. It is also a center for breeding Pottocks, a tough little horse once used in mines in England.

The official Espelette website:


Buy Pate spiced with Piment d’espelette on French Gourmet, your online shop for french regional goodies and delicatessen

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