PDO Espelette Pepper
Take a hint from top chefs the world over and start using this small pepper from Basque Country in your own kitchen. Fun fact: it's the only spice to have PDO status in all of Europe!
What you need to know
At the end of the summer, farm workers hurry to the fields of Espelette, a small mountain village in Basque Country. The town's famous peppers are handpicked, then sorted and dried, first in the open air and then in ovens. Finally, they are ground to make a shimmering orange powder! The peppers are the product of a meticulous tradition. After the pepper seeds are first carefully selected, they are sown in early spring, then thinned and grown in open fields. Sold in a humble glass bottle labeled "Piment d'Espelette, AOP," the spice is moderately hot (a 4 on the Scoville scale) and offers a complex fragrance that pairs wonderfully with both sweet and savory dishes. Espelette pepper purée and cream, pepper-flavored sea salt, and pepper jelly are all great ways to enjoy this unique flavor.
Rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, B6, and K.
Savory: eggs, olive oil, fish (court-bouillon), red and white meats, foie gras, fromage frais, quenelles, pasta, and any cooked or raw vegetables.
Sweet: Chocolate desserts, apple pie, and caramel desserts.