- Imported straight from France
- Espelette pepper (Piment d’Espelette in French)
- Variety of pepper that is cultivated in the French commune of Espelette, PyrnesAtlantiques
- In 2000, it was classified as a AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlee, meaning the name is protected)
Where’s the taste?
A good source for this distinctive and unique spice
Piment d’Espelette is never inexpensive and it is usually not easy to find in the US, so having this source available is great. I use it in almost everything — for example, peel and slice cucumbers, toss with a good quantity of freshly squeezed lemon juice (Meyer lemons preferred), a pinch of sugar, a large pinch of fleur de sel or kosher salt, and a pinch of piment d’Espelette. Let the cukes sit in a colander for up to half an hour, tossing occasionally, then serve. Trust me, you will not fail to notice the presence of the piment. It’s also great and sufficiently assertive to dress a good sized composed salad with just a pinch in a basic vinaigrette dressing of lemon juice, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard and grapeseed, walnut or olive oil. Wonderful sprinkled lightly over a platter of carved “rotisserie chicken” from the grocery. Adds a nice edge to rillettes or a terrine. Adds pop to scrambled eggs, quiche… just think of anything you’d like to lend a subtly sweet, smoky and hot red peppery note, and give it a healthy pinch of piment d’Espelette.
Another reviewer reports that he received piment d’Espelette from this source (“Touch of France”) that was tasteless. I’ve not had that experience. I received very fresh piment with the AOC labeling, with aromas and flavors that are perfectly “typique.” If you really want to get “fresh,” you could go with the whole dried, corded peppers which are also sold subject to the AOC (corded by hand with no fewer than 20 peppers per cord). I like the convenience of the ground piment and recommend this supplier without reservation based on the product I received. The price is about as fair as one can find nowadays, and I bet you can double up on the order for a single shipping charge.
For more about piment d’Espelette generally, you can google piment d’Espelette and you will find the “Site officiel de l’AOC” (alas, for some reason the good folks at Amazon would not allow me to include the URL in this review).