Piment d’Espelette

An AOC chile pepper from the Pays Basque, piment d’Espelette is harvested, dried, and ground. Its flavor is both mildly sweet and mildly hot, and when you’re in the Pays Basque, it may be the only pepper you’ll get. From simple cafés to elegant restaurants, you’ll find the chile in a teensy bowl with a spoon; occasionally it will be served in a pepper mill. And if you go to the piment’s hometown in the fall, you’ll see the peppers drying everywhere, hanging against the whitewashed walls of houses. The sight looks like it was stage-directed for tourists, but as picturesque as it is, the method is equally practical.

Dorie Greenspan