Piment d’Espelette (known in English as Espelette Pepper, Espelette Chiles, or Basque Chiles) is a rare and expensive chile grown in the Basque region of southwest France. Each year in late summer, all the homes in the local towns hang the chiles from balconies and windows to dry and thousands of tourists come to enjoy the annual chile festival. The French government allows only a small amount of Piment d’Espelette to be exported, which increases the rarity and price of these chiles elsewhere in the world.
Flavour-wise, Piment d’Espelette are wonderfully complex, with a rich, slightly toasty flavour and moderate heat. They are too expensive for everyday use, but for special occasions and dishes, they can’t be beat. Excellent in condiments and preserves and indispensible for certain dishes like Basque Eggs and Pipérade.