Basque cuisine, like most, is heavily influenced by the produce that can be found in it.
With the Bay of Biscay on one side and the Ebro valley on the other, the food of the Spanish/French ‘Country’ is wildly varied and filled with both meat and fish, as well as a wide array of spices and vegetables.
Among the more unique ingredients native to Basque cuisine is Piment d’Espelette (or Espelette Pepper), a chilli plant that originated in Mexico, but is now cultivated widely in the Pyrenees.
So beloved is this pepper, traditionally sun-dried for at least 15 days, that the sight of the bright-red garlands against the white houses of the area have become an iconic image of the region. As such, the French government has granted Piment d’Espelette an Appellation d’Origine Controlee AOC, meaning that to carry the name it must be grown within one of 10 listed villages nestled against the foothills of the Pyrenees.
It adds a wonderful sweetness and mild kick to grilled meat, vegetables, egg dishes, fish, seafood; in fact, many Basque tables replace pepper at the table with a dish of Piment d’Espelette.
Whether adhering to a traditional Basque recipe or finding your own applications, Espelette Pepper is a wonderful and unique addition to your spice cupboard, sure to be used frequently.
The Essential Ingredient Piment d’Espelette is produced in France using traditional methods. It is available now at your nearest The Essential Ingredient store.
Or, for delivery to anywhere in Australia, shop online now.