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Espelette Chile Peppers
Inventory, lb : 0
This item was last sold on : 09/15/17
Espelette chile peppers are long and narrow with a classic chile pepper shape that tapers down to a slight point at its tip end. The Espelette matures from a bright green when immature to a deep red color when fully mature. Once dried they turn a dark crimson hue, similar to that of the cayenne pepper. Their smooth skin is tough, yet thin. The Espelette chile pepper offers a bright chile pepper flavor with aromatic nuances of tomato, hay and citrus. The flavor profile of the popular dried and powdered Espelette spice is similar to that of hot Hungarian paprika. A fairly mild pepper experience for most palettes, it has a mild to medium heat level, scoring only up to 4,000 units on the Scoville scale.
Fresh Espelette chile peppers are available in the late summer months through the late fall.
Espelette chile pepper, also known as Ezpeletako Biperra in Basque and in French as Piment d'Espelette is botanically a part of Capsicum annuum. Today it is cultivated primarily in the Basque regions of France specifically in the French commune of Espelette, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. As of 2002 it was granted controlled name status and classified as part of the French certification AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) and AOP (Appellation d'origine protégée) which is an indication of controlled designation of origin. Today it is the only spice in France given these esteemed status classifications shared with items such as Champagne, Roquefort cheese and Poulet de Bresse. It is most commonly found outside of the Basque region today as a paste or in its dried whole or powdered form.
Espelette peppers are traditionally harvested then strung onto cords consisting of at least twenty peppers, the specific dates of harvest are noted on the cord. The peppers can then be pulled from the threads and used when fresh and at every phase of drying thereafter. When fresh they can be used in preparations calling for a medium heat pepper. Fresh peppers can be cooked down to make savory pepper jellies, jams and paste. When dried they can be used whole in soups and stews or ground down to make a powdered seasoning. Dried peppers can also be used to infuse oils and sea salt. Both the powdered spice and paste of the Espelette can be used to enhance the flavor of sauces, pates and sausages. In the Basque region powdered Espelette is commonly used to add a red hue and spice to the exterior of ham prior to the curing process. They are also popularly paired with chocolate. Chefs in the Basque region oftentimes use powdered Espelette in lieu of black pepper when seasoning seafood. To store fresh peppers keep refrigerated and use within two weeks. When drying out fresh peppers for long term use be sure to keep away from moisture.
Every year in the Basque region of France during the last weekend of October the Espelette pepper is celebrated with a festival. During this time many of the buildings around the Basque towns will be decorated with garlands or festoons of Espelette peppers hanging to dry from the facades and balconies around town as well as in households and restaurants. During the festival the pepper and other regional products can be purchased and local restaurants feature the pepper on their menus. Additionally there are concerts, traditional Basque folk dances, parades and games, all celebrating the local pepper and emblem of the Basque Country.
Like many pepper varieties the Espelette made its way to Europe via the explorers who had brought peppers back to Europe from the New World. It is believed that Gonzalo Percaztegi a Basque navigator sailing with Christopher Columbus first introduced them to the Basque region, planting them along with corn in the Nive Valley. They at first were incorrectly thought to be a relative of the popular black peppercorn and were even given the name “long black American pepper.” Today it is predominately grown in the Basque region of France where since 2002 it has been an AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) and AOP (Appellation d'origine protégée) designated item and must be grown in one of the following ten communes surrounding the village of Espelette to be considered and labeled as an official Espelette pepper: Ainhoa, Cambo-les-Bains, Espelette, Halsou, Itxassou, Jatxou, Larressore, Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle, Souraïde, and Ustaritz. Like many pepper varieties the Espelette thrives in mild micro climate of the Basque Country and are ready to harvest there starting in August for a period of 10 weeks, just in time to have both fresh and dried festoons of the peppers ready for the annual Espelette Celebration of the Peppers in October.
Someone spotted Espelette Chile Peppers using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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Santa Monica Farmers Market
Near Santa Monica, California, United States
About 640 days ago, 10/19/16
Spotter's comments : Espelette Chile Peppers spotted at Santa Monica Farmers Market.