Piment D'Espelette

Cooking Recipes Catalogue

Piment D'Espelette, a dried small red pepper used as seasoning in French dishes. During the harvest season in Espelette, in Labourd province, the whole village turns red. The small, red peppers are strung by hand and hung in garlands on the outside of each house to dry in the late autumn sun. They are then dried further in old wood-fired ovens overseen by women who never use temperature gauges but hold their hands in the their ovens to test the heat. Then the peppers are ground into a fine, red powder with sweet, fruity, mildly spicy aroma and taste. Chili powder, even that from mild chiles such as New Mexican chiles, smells and tastes smoky and coarse when compared directly with piment d'Espelette. You can substitute sweet paprika or mild chili powder but neither will give the delicate complexity of this spice.